Before reading, know that I haven’t lived here in Romania long enough to give anything like a credible list of what really makes Romania awesome. And know that I love Romania and the people who live here. It’s a wonderful country full of truly loving people, beautiful scenery, delicious food, amazing music… The list goes on!
But, with all that said, I have been here long enough to notice some of the more unique (from an American perspective) aspects of life in Romania. So here is my tongue-in-cheek “Romania’s National List.” Enjoy!
Romania’s National Food: Covrigi
Now, do I really think the common, street-side pretzel is worthy to receive the illustrious title of “Romania’s National Food”? A pretzel? Really? Yes, I do indeed believe so. Now, there are certainly more tasty foods in Romania (from sarmale, delicious cabbage roles filled with meat and rice, to soarma, a favorite “fast food” composed of slices of beef or chicken put onto flatbread along with fries, peppers, cabbage, pickles, etc.). And there are certainly more “Romanian” foods (take ciorba de burta, for instance, a delicious, slighlty sour soup that contains cow stomach, or piftie, a “jello” made with all the leftover parts of pork after the hotdogs are made, and they’re all clearly visible encased in the clear jello). And, yes, there are healthier foods (I don’t have space enough to describe the wonders of raw fruits and vegetables in Romania). But when you can go to the capital city and never fear going hungry because there’s always a pretzel stand within 100 feet… well, that says something. So, not for its taste, nor for its cultural value, nor for its healthiness but simply for its shear inescapable presence… the covrig walks away with this most coveted title. So go buy a pretzel and remember Romania today!
Romania’s National Bird: The Mosquito
Although you might think that this flying creature’s likeness to Dracula and his blood-sucking tendencies would give it the title of “Romania’s National Bird,” it’s actually its simple tenacity that gives it the name. Here in the capital city of Bucharest, mosquitoes fly into our windows from April all the way to mid-November. And these mosquitoes aren’t like what we have back home in Wisconsin. No, these are tiny, fast, swarming demons, and their sole purpose is to torture you. They’re not hungry; they just hate you. Seriously, though, one mosquito in my room left me with about a dozen bites by the morning. And that’s why it carries away the most sought-after title in all the kingdom of flying creatures: Romania’s National Bird.