Every country has its “signature” comfort food. In the UK it’s fish and chips, in the US it’s burgers, and in Romania it’s mici.
Mici, or more formally mititei, is made from ground meat and spices and served in small portions typically with mustard, sweet bread and Romanian pickles, known as murături. The sausage-shaped mici look a bit like small hamburgers but the similarity is only in its appearance.
Unlike most comfort foods, mici is not a meal to prepare when you’re in a hurry. After combining the ingredients the minimum amount of time the meat needs to stay in the refrigerator is six hours; the best mici is stored for 24 hours or longer before cooking.
Mici is also not a dish for those who shy away from meats containing fat. Ground beef is the main ingredient in mici and a high-fat content is preferred. Many chefs also add ground lamb, especially if the only beef available has a low-fat content. The meat is combined with pepper, thyme, juniper berries, coriander, cumin, baking soda, salt and placed in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook. The best way to cook mici is on the grill.
In Romania mici is readily available in most restaurants, kiosks and street vendors. In the UK you might have to do a bit of searching in order to find these small tastes of home. Here are some of our favourites for mici:
Transylvania Restaurant – Northampton
Transylvania offers an amazing menu of Romanian dishes prepared using the traditional Romanian methods. Mici is a great starter or side dish for one of the more robust main dishes.
Carpatica – Hounslow, London
This Hounslow restaurant prides itself on providing traditional Romanian dishes ranging from rustic to fine-dining. The chefs use only traditional spices, ingredients and methods to make incredibly delicious and hearty meals.
Crystals of London – Park Royal, London
This restaurant is located in a community building that’s actually likely to escape notice unless you’re actually looking for it. The menu is somewhat limited, but the traditional dishes and cooking methods means you are likely to find a lot of Romanian nationals enjoying a taste of home.
Dracula Restaurant – Harlesden, London
This high-street eatery has fantastic reviews for providing excellent traditional Romanian foods in a nice atmosphere.
La Maria – London
This small Westbourne Road restaurant has a maximum capacity of 50 diners, so you might want to make a reservation on busier evenings. In addition to mici and other Romanian dishes, they offer a selection of Italian items as well.
Central Restaurant– Finchley, London
The Central Restaurant on Nether Street in Finchley offers well-prepared traditional Romanian meals in an intimate 150-seat hall.
La Mama Acasa – Ilford, London
This restaurant serves authentic Romanian meals prepared in a traditional manner. While La Mama Acasa specialises in seafood, you will also find mici, along with a few other Eastern European dishes. La Mama Acasa also offers takeaway.
Few things remind us of home, but nothing more so than traditional meals prepared in an authentic manner. Future TransferGo blogs will focus on where to find other national cuisines and you can search our previous blog posts for other restaurant and pub favourites. Also feel free to leave a comment and suggest some of your favourite spots.