What’s for dinner?

I’ve had several people ask me what kinds of foods I have been eating in Moldova and I hope to answer this question all throughout my Peace Corps service within these next ~23 months.

This is my personal experience on the types of foods I have been eating, so you may find another volunteer will tell you something different. This all varies depending on the season, location, and also the host family.

Let’s start with some traditional Moldovan food that I have had the opportunity to have so far:

Mamaliga

Mamaliga is a traditional dish that is simply prepared with cornmeal, boiling water and a little bit of salt. It’s traditionally prepared in a special pot and since it sticks to metal surfaces you will want to cut it with a piece of string.  Cheese and/or sour cream can be added on top when you eat it. I have had it two different ways – traditional and non-traditional. The non-traditional way is made with the consistency similar to porridge. Historically, mamaliga was used as a substitute for bread or as a staple food, especially in the poor rural areas.

Mamaliga is cut with a string
Traditional mamaliga is cut with a string

Placinta (pla-ch-in-ta)

Another popular traditional food in Moldova is placinta. There are different kinds and ways I have seen it prepared. It is similar to a pastry and there are either sweet or savory foods inside it including – cheese, potato, cabbage, apple, cherry, or pumpkin. You can usually buy it in most stores and it is also likely that it is prepared at home too.

Handmade placinta prepared in my host family home during pre-service training
Handmade placinta prepared in my host family home during pre-service training

Iepure (aka rabbit)

This one was new for me, I never had rabbit before but here in Moldova it common and some families raise their own rabbits for food or to sell. My host mom knew I hadn’t had it yet and prepared it one evening for dinner. I liked it and have to admit that I like it much more than I like venison (deer meat).

iperi served with mashed potatoes
Iepuri served with mashed potatoes

Racituri [Ra-chi-turi]

So far, I have mostly seen this one appear for some sort of celebration or masa. It takes a long time to prepare involving hours cooking on the stove top. The broth part has a consistency of jelly or jello and there are different parts of meat in each dish and it is served cold. The only step I have seen being prepared is when it was boiling on the stove and from what my host mom has told me, it takes a long time to prepare this one. I have never had this one before either and it is taking me some time to get used to it.

IMG_9263
Racituri prepared with pork

These are just a few dishes that I have tried so far and I will continue to share more throughout my time of service. As one would say here before eating, Pofta buna (good appetite)!

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