The Breakfast Club – The Traditional Romanian Breakfast

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Today I am inaugurating a new section on my blog which I suggestively called “The Breakfast Club”. Each week I will cook a breakfast from a different country of the world and share my results with you. As I can’t say that I am a great cook you can expect some major fails in the kitchen as well. I thought about this for a while now because I wanted to share with you my love for food but I also wanted to combine it somehow with my passion for traveling. This is how The Breakfast Club was born.

I will start The Breakfast Club with the traditional morning meal from my own home country, Romania. When I was a child breakfast used to be a treat in my family because my mother only used to make it on the weekends. During the week, she would go to work early while me and my sister would go to kindergarten, where we used to have our breakfast. While when I was little I used to have the traditional Romanian breakfast, which includes eggs, cheese, meat and vegetables, when I became a teen I discovered cereals and for years Cini Minis was my friend for breakfast. Later, while in Uni, I traded breakfast for coffee and ever since pretty much stopped eating in the morning. But I want to change this, as breakfast is such an important meal of the day, boosting your body’s energy levels to start your day on the right foot.

 

What is the traditional Romanian breakfast?

As I said before, the Romanian traditional breakfast includes a selection of cold and hot dishes, some of them unique to my country. As the traditional Romanian cuisine has been influenced during the history, each region of the country has its own variation of breakfast, with some common elements.

One food that will never miss on a Romanian breakfast plate is the egg. You can have it either boiled, fried or in an omelette, it will always be there. Sometimes, if you are opting for an omelette, it will be made with bacon and onions.

Cheese is another important element of the Romanian breakfast. Our traditional cheese is called telemea and it is made from sheep’s milk. It is a semi-soft white cheese with a crumbly texture, quite salty. The best telemea comes from a bucket full of brine, directly from a farmers market (they are very common in Romania and that’s where people go to shop for fruits and vegetables, not at the supermarket).

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Cheese seller in the farmers market

What is zacusca?

Every autumn, in most of the Romanian kitchens, mothers and grandmothers will be spending hours making zacusca, a vegetarian spread based on open fire grilled eggplants and ball peppers, which is afterwards bottled in jars and stored for the winter. Zacusca is eaten then for breakfast, spread on a slice of the Romanian typical bread, franzela.

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Bread is essential in the Romanian household. Just to let you know, in 2014 for example, 2 tonnes of bread (worth over 1 billion euros) have been sold in my country. Thinking that the average price of a loaf is about 15 pennies, you can imagine how much bread that means. Practically, Romanians buy and eat bread every day. The traditional loaf is called franzela, it’s oval shaped, fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside. During breakfast, you can choose different spreads to have on it: zacusca, fish roe salad or grilled eggplant salad. Some people prefer the sweet version so they spread butter and jam on their slices of bread.

 

How about the meat and vegetables?

In the past, when most of the people lived in the countryside, breakfast used to be prepared with whatever products they grew in their gardens. The tradition has been kept and therefore there will be at least a tomato or some slices of cucumber on the plate.

Back then, the most accessible meat the villagers would have was slanina, which they would eat with onions. Slanina is made from the pork’s belly or back fat together with the animal’s skin. The pieces of fat are cut into slices and kept in salt for 3 weeks, then taken out and smoked for another 2-3 days. While back then it was very common, today it is expensive and rare to find even in the farmer’s markets, unless you make it yourself.

The meat we usually use for breakfast is called “sunculita taraneasca” which is a fatty piece of meat that still has the pork’s skin on it, boiled and then smoked. Some people prefer fried sausages though.

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Meat display in the farmers market

For my traditional breakfast, I have used a few of the most common ingredients that you will usually find on the plate if you order it at a restaurant in Romania: fried egg, cheese, bread with zacusca, a few vegetables and sunculita taraneasca. I should admit though that it wasn’t much cooking involved, just a visit to the Romanian shop for some key items.

 

Which other country’s breakfast would you like me to cook next week?

 

4.87 from 23 votes
Print

Romanian breakfast

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3 spoons zacusca (found at any Romanian shop)
  • 1 slice bread
  • 3 slices smoked ham
  • 1 tomato
  • 2-3 slices cucumber
  • 1 spring onion

Instructions

  1. Fry, poach or boil the egg

  2. Arrange all the items on the plate

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

86 Comments

  1. This looks great! I love the idea of your breakfast club posts, I love food and I love learning about new cultures. I would certainly like to start the day with a meal like this! Breakfast is one of my fave mealtimes 🙂 Also if you do have any kitchen fails you’ll be teaching us along the way so it will be a fun experience!

  2. Breakfast is indeed a very important meal. The different breakfasts available in different places is really mind-boggling. Breakfast is indeed a window to the culture and traditions of a place. Romanian breakfast is steeped in tradition and reflects the rich history of the country.

  3. Yup yup yup! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Will be following your Breakfast Club series, Joanna! Being someone from Asia, European dishes spark interest to me. Hmmm, I’m also wondering, do you have a recipe for a legit zacusca? Thanks, Joanna! xx

  4. The Breakfast Club sounds like it’s going to be an absolute treat based on what you shared about Romania Joanna. I love learning about other countries and how things are done there. It’s amazing how different, and yet sometime so similar we all are.

  5. It’s amazing how nourishing and balanced this breakfast is compared to what I’m used to! It’s also so beautiful to look at – I will have to try to re-create this for my family!

  6. Ooh I’m super excited to see the results of this! I actually find it super fascinating to see this sort of stuff when I go on holiday because in other countries where brunch or eating breakfast out isn’t a thing, it’s really hard to try their authentic breakfast food!

  7. This sounds like a great (and delicious) challenge. Breakfast is my favorite time of day. It’s when I am really hungry! I have to try that zacusca. Do you have a recipe to share?

  8. My favorite part about traveling is THE FOOD – I love to be exposed to how others eat in other countries. A lot of time it inspires me to try something new when I return home !!

  9. What a great idea! It’s so interesting to think of how vastly different something as simple as breakfast can be around the world. In some places it’s savory, some it’s sweet… I can’t wait to see more.

  10. I always believe that the best way to know a foreign culture is to dig in t the local food. Cooking them yourself upgrades the experience as you’re putting yourself in the actual process. This series will definitely be a hit.

  11. I totally love this series and looking forward for more in this!!! Romanian Breakfast, esp the a vegetarian spread based on grilled eggplants and ball peppers, now that sounds yummm. I’m gonna try out finding where to buy this or find a recipe to make it!!!

  12. Zacusca sounds very interesting! This sounds like it is going to be a great feature on your blog – I love seeing what different people eat around the world. Eggs are a staple on my breakfast plate too!

  13. This is so fascinating & a great idea! I love bread and the telemea sounds good! Some days I have a smoothie for breakfast & other days I have egg whites & spinach on a toasted English muffin. Pancakes or bacon would be my favorite breakfast items. 😋

  14. It’s good to know about the traditional Romanian breakfast. And amazingly, I could draw some parallel with the traditional breakfast of my own country India. The vegetarian spreads looks so inviting. I would love to try it out.

  15. Frankly this post was a feast for the eyes and the mind. Such well written post and great pics do soothe those senses don’t they?
    I am glad Romanian breakfast has egg as one of the main component. I love eating eggs they give me energy through the day! I think you should come to india and have breakfast with an indian family.

  16. I’ve always been fascinated with European cuisines. However, it is good to read about this because I am not too familiar with Romanian cuisine. Breakfast is one of the best meals to sample if you want to get a closer look into a country’s cuisine. That plate of yours look so inviting! I’d love to try authentic Romanian cuisine someday!

  17. One thing I realized that is so true is exactly what you said. Breakfast can be traditional to a country, but that does not mean it is only one kind of dish. As you said, there are the regional preferences, a fact that is the same as here in the Philippines. Having said that, I’d love to see you feature some Filipino breakfast dishes. Good luck finding one because there are quite a lot of them. We have over 80 provinces, so that is at least 80+ recipes already.

    While cheese is not a staple food in our country, we do share the same passion for eggs. In fact, most countries do, right? Yes, Filipinos love their bread and then some more. However, the bread we have here are nothing dramatic. In fact, the cheaper bread we have are so unhealthy because most of them use a form of sugar that is cheaper but can be damaging to the body.

    What did impress me the most is your meat market. Is that typical? Here, that is considered classy.

    Anyway, I am struggling to digest as much as I can on the kinds of food you have, but one particular food that I would really love and I am pretty I will like are the sausages. You can’t go wrong with sausages in most countries, that is.

  18. It is very interesting to see the types of foods enjoyed in other cultures. Except for the zacusca, the Romanian breakfast is not so different than a typical American breakfast. Just this morning I had a egg and cheese omlet, bacon, and buttermilk biscuits.

  19. Now this is a breakfast! When I was stationed in Germany, breakfasts consisted of a croissant, jam and coffee. Sure, there were other options; but that seemed to be the mainstay of their breakfast.

  20. The Romanian breakfast sounds delicious. I love having lots of little different things to eat so it would be perfect for me. The telemea cheese sounds lovely, sheeps cheese is my favourite.

  21. I love your idea of doing a traditional breakfast from each country! I would like to make this on the weekend. The zacusca looks so good. Looking forward to your next breakfast post.

  22. What a fantastic idea for a blog post series, I can’t wait to see what other breakfasts you make. Weirdly, I like the sound of having cucumber for breakfast – I think we underestimate how versatile it is! Looks like a delicious breakfast.

  23. First – I love the idea and concept behind The Breakfast Club – so fun! This traditional Romanian breakfast looks super tasty. I’ve never been a big breakfast person but this looks too delicious to skip!

  24. This Romanian breakfast seems too filling. I like the idea of food and travel in one. I guess I will be looking forward to your breakfast series then as I also would love to serve my boys not only our usual breakfast. I would want them to be accustomed to different dishes. Even if we can’t travel, at least they get to experience what kind of dish other places serve. Thanks for this nice initiative.

  25. I really like your breakfast club idea. I hope you get active participation from others in other countries to share what they eat for breakfast . What would be a good idea is to show people how they can eat these dishes if they don’t have access to certain ingredients based upon where they live. For instance, if I wanted to make that spread but don’t live in Romania, how can I make it?

    1. Hi Nicole, I have shared the recipe for the spread 🙂 But because it’s complicated to make, I would recommend you to buy it from a Romanian shop (surprisingly, there will be one in most towns, hidden somewhere).

  26. I am from Macedonia and love your traditional breakfast so much. We eat very similar things and I this is something that surprised me a lot since I have many ROmanian friends but obviously we have never discussed breakfast.

  27. It is very nice to see how a typical breakfast in other country looks like .. this looks so yummy yet nicely balanced with veggies.. here in philippines we used to have bread and coffee for breakfast but if you want heavy.. we used to served garlic fried rice sunnyside up egg and meat

  28. I love that guys hat haha. Wow, this looks like a very well balanced breakfast! I am a sucker for sausage and all things meat in the morning. Gives me that full feeling throughout the day so I am not starving! Will definitely be trying this out.

  29. I love this idea of breakfast club every week! I have never in my life seen a Romanian breakfast so I really loved reading this. It looks delicious and I would one day love to try a Romanian breakfast. I love that come autumn zacusca is made by mothers and grandparents. How very special and a lovely Romanian tradition. It looks yummy too. xx

  30. I never had a Romanian Breakfast but would love to try it one day as am a foodie. Am surely gonna try this on a weekend for my husband. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  31. I learned a lot about Romania by simply reading your post. I also love eating eggs for breakfast. I like my eggs fried medium easy or scrambled with tomatoes. I also love sausages like our local longganisang Lucban, Vigan and Cebu.

  32. I really found the Zacusca very interesting! At first I thought it looked like a version of Sriracha sauce, but it seems like there is no trace of spicy in it. The franzela to me looks like their version of french bread. I can’t imagine how it tastes like though. I hope I could go there in Romania to try it out!

  33. Not a foodie but interesting to know that breakfast scene is so different in each and every country…Zacusca looks quite filling and to be honest had no idea about Romanian food until now. Thanks for the share

  34. I guess I am a non traditional Romanian as I don’t really eat eggs or zacusca for breakfast haha. I think I ate loads of “gem pe paine” as a kid to be honest. And nowadays it’s musli, oats and yoghurt :)))

  35. This is such a great idea for a series! Breakfast meals from different countries sounds like a learning curve. While I always love learning and trying new things, I’m not the best cook, so something like this would easily intimidate me but you also made it sound so easy, I really enjoyed how you described your background with breakfast meals and how it was a treat for your mom to make it on weekends. It looks delicious! It would be fun to see what a traditional Chinese breakfast would be like!

  36. The Breakfast Club is a great idea! I wonder if I would be able to find the spread where I live. It looks delicious and, even though I’m picky, I love trying foods from other countries.

  37. The idea if Breakfast Club sounds great. Food is a delicious way of discovering a place and learning about its history and heritage. Romanian breakfast platter is quite as per my liking. I relish eggs for sure and would love to taste zacusca some day.

  38. I have to say I’m always looking for breakfast ideas as I slack in that department (not a big morning eater). Yet know I should 100% make more effort. I’ll be watching for more countries x

  39. I’ve never been to Romania, so it’s interesting to find out what a typical Romanian breakfast consists of. I’d love to try it myself, so will wait until I’m Romania to give it a whirl! x

  40. I am so glad to have read this post. I am a vegetarian and will be in Romania for three weeks in a week’s time. Can’t wait to try zacusca and other fabulous dishes. Thanks for sharing this post.

  41. Yum this looks tasty! I love the sound of the zacusca spread and the bread. I love bread! I’m not really a cereal person, I’d much prefer a breakfast like this

    Tasha x

  42. What an absolute joy to see this post! I am always in a quest to find out new kind of breakfasts but after reading your post I see that I can explore new kind of breakfasts by exploring different culture. Would love to see more of these kind of posts. I’ve already bookmarked the posts to try it on this weekend 😉

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