Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

The Great Romanian Restaurant Scandal

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 March, 2008

I was going to write something about some US food critic called Anthony Bourdain and how he’s managed to upset Romania with his less than positive review of the country. But fortunately Dumneazu has done the job for me admirably. If you’ve time on your hands you can also plough through the 1350 comments (and counting) on Bourdain’s blog. From what I can gather the main problem here is that he (or his producer) chose to hire some Russian bloke who knew nothing at all about Romania as his guide (presumably on some “Let’s pretend this is all still the Warsaw Pact” concept), a fault they exacerbated by proceeding to do the whole Dracula tour thing. I think if they had managed to cram Nadia Comaneci into the thing they could have really made the cliche complete.

Mind you, the service in restaurants here is, for the most part, appalling. And Romanian food is not exactly exciting. I think if you use the word “spice” here, people think you mean salt. This is not to say that Romanian food is bad, just homely and not the kind of taste sensation that is going to take the world by storm a la Thai, for example.

Later edit: OK, I’ve now watched the whole show (on YouTube) , and really can’t see the problem. I mean the Dracula stuff is really unnecessary (and someone really should have told him that Dracula was, in fact, a fictional character), and why they chose a Russian guide is a bit baffling, but he doesn’t slag off Romania, and obviously actually enjoys his trip to Maramures. Not sure why so many people are up in arms about it. Just because this Zamir took him to two awful “theme” restaurants? He does point out that one of them is full of tourists from Nevada. I find Bourdain’s personality a bit grating, but I can’t understand why people are so bothered by the programme.

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One Response to “The Great Romanian Restaurant Scandal”

  1. No Good Boyo said

    Mamaliga, papanas, afinata – mmm, liubesc, baby.

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