Romanian food in the time of Manuc
Romanian food, in spite of globalization, continues to be sought and enjoyed by all. Hanu' lui Manuc Restaurant offers a delicious range of Romanian dishes.
Hanu' lui Manuc was built in 1808. Numerous accounts of the day talk about the hospitality at the inn, about the rooms and the food. But how much has the culinary custom changed in terms of the dishes served but also in terms of the guests’ preferences?
Well, not many know that the nineteenth century was a revolutionary century in the Romanian food, because corn was introduced on the market. If until then the peasants ate baked millet cakes, corn became a basic food grown on large territories. White wheat bread was usually baked only for holidays. Also in the nineteenth century, the Romanian food is enriched with another basic food: the potato. The dishes were then seasoned, like today, with garlic, pepper, horseradish, leek, vinegar, cabbage juice, borscht, parsley, lemon or dill.
The introduction of these new foods has saved not only our country, but many other countries, from famine and has led to the avoidance of a serious economic crisis. In the Romanian food that was to be considered, in a short time, traditional, millet was entirely replaced by corn. At the time when Hanu lui Manuc was built, the peasants’ basic food was corn polenta, plus cabbage, milk, onion and garlic. Meat and eggs were not basic foods in Romania because these products were mostly for sale, not consumption.
Moreover, wealthy peasants ate milk, curd, cheese, cream, sour milk and butter, while pork, sheep and beef were rarely consumed, being kept for the winter, but many Romanians drank milk when they were sick, as a medicine. This practice was not, however, entirely false, for example, spring butter prepared by the shepherds in the subalpine areas was indeed a medicine because the vegetation eaten by the sheep was largely composed of medicinal herbs.
However, during this period, famous restaurants such as Hanu’ lui Manuc and Caru' cu bere began to appear. Townspeople, especially wealthy ones from Bucharest, enjoyed in the restaurant piglets, grilled minced meat rolls, snacks, chocolate candies, cakes and coffee. Moreover, places like Hanu’ lui Manuc were known for serving Romanian, but also oriental food.
Thus things were different for the Romanian bourgeois for whom the Romanian food had a completely different taste. They ate vegetables in sauce, a lot of roasted meat, fish, puddings and jellies, cream cakes, classic Romanian cakes, pies and pancakes with jam.
The food of the people living in towns and cities was greatly influenced by Oriental gastronomy in terms of both dishes and cooking. Generally, they were happy to eat vegetable soups, vegetable stew with meat, pottage, holopchi (sarmak in Turkish), pilaf and cheese and meat pies. All these types of oriental dishes were in great demand and could be found in places of tradition such as Hanu’ lui Manuc. Here you could also find sweets such as halvah, salep and lemonade (limoni in Turkish lobsters).
Hanu’ lui Manuc serves delicious Romanian dishes, even 200 years after opening. Here you can find traditional beaten beans, homemade bread, grilled minced meat rolls, mutton pastrami, pork neck, Danube fish in the oven, veal stew, cabbage, baked potatoes, apple cake, handmade ice cream and many other manorial dishes. Hanu' lui Manuc thus keeps the traditional Romanian taste, but at the same time, it also keeps the oriental influences of the nineteenth century.
We look forward to seeing you at Hanu’ lui Manuc to enjoy the tastiest Romanian dishes at Hanu' lui Manuc!
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