Moldova – Mamaliga Bliss in Brooklyn

MoldovaWhile you are Googling Mamaliga, some facts about its origin and mine.  The Republic of Moldova is nicely nestled between behemoths Ukraine and Romania.  According to National Geographic the people of Moldova are the saddest people in the world.  Coincidentally, the happiest people are supposedly ex-Moldovans.  Well, something both of you readers may not have realized but according to my bio, I, Ziggy, am one of those proud ex-Moldovans.

I was born in Kishinev, the capital but only because the city we lived in, Argeyev (aka the second saddest city in the world) didn’t have much of a hospital.  Sadly (dah!) I dont really have many food memories, so whenever I talk about Ratatouille Moments they are definitely not from childhood.  We were lucky to just get essentials like toilet paper and vodka.   All my fondest memories were about getting in trouble.  When I was about 5 years old, I discovered what every normal Moldovan child discovers at this age..  Nicotine!  So I started smoking (this is a true story btw) mainly socially, never at home, and never more than a pack a day (ok, although true I’m exaggerating just a bit).  I was smoking until the day I decided to smoke one at home in the balcony (in the saddest country in the world, kids are left home alone at a very early age).  To make a long story short, my grandma came home, found the cigarette, told my dad, I peed a little when he called my name but all he did was tell me not to do it again (he may have been proud of me).  Well, I havent smoked since.  Besides wearing a patch to day care (aka the second saddest day care in the world.  Our daily highlight was to go outside and look at the giant factory pipes) for the first month as a 6 year old, quitting was surprisingly easy.  So whenever my friend Joel boasts about how he’s cigarette-free for 14 months or whatever that number is now, I always say the same thing… “36 YEARS!!”

With that said, I may be more familiar with Sri Lankan cuisine than Moldovan, I think.  I never really thought about what Moldovan food really is as I always assumed its pretty much like Russian (with some Romanian influence) food and I still sort of do to an extent.

I went to Moldova the newish restaurant in Brooklyn with a large group last week.  Everything ordered was family style so I didn’t even look at the menu.  In true Russian form, they start you off with a large array of salads where a nice Babaganoush-like eggplant salad was one of the standouts. But the most memorable app was the Fasolita, a yummy mashed bean paste with roasted onions and oil.  I never heard of it and pretty sure they invented the name.

Moldova - MamaligaBut you come here for the Mamaliga.  Polenta on steroids!  Our family style version was a massive piece of cornmeal, but what you would normally get is a smaller piece of Mamaliga in the middle of a plate surrounded by an assortment of meat, cheese, sour cream, and egg. In our case it was more like a glorified side dish to compliment the mixed grill consisting mainly of 2 things.  Mititei is something I grill at home on occasion. It’s a mix of ground beef, pork, lamb with herbs and spices rolled into a hotdog size kebabs.  Unless you overcook them it comes out really nice and juicy and this was cooked right.  And so was the Costita, basically a nicely spiced pork chop and this one was very flavorful.  Very often with large groups those things come out dry but here it was nice and moist.
Dessert of cherry and prunes with nuts blintses was a nice finish although missing some ice cream perhaps.  A terrific meal overall.  Although the cuisine doesn’t deviate much from the regular Russian fair, everything was prepared well and tasted great.  And the lively environment is a nice reminder that you are not in Moldova anywhere.  Although I do hope things are different there nowadays, and 5 year olds have a tougher time finding cigarettesMoldova - Mixed grill Moldova - dessert Moldova Moldova1
Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Moldova – Mamaliga Bliss in Brooklyn

  1. Travel Love Life

    If I would live in New York I would come and eat Mamaliga everyday 🙂 Yummy 😉

  2. Sounds delicious. The story of growing up in Moldova was very funny, btw.

  3. Pingback: Testimonials ‹ Moldova Restaurant

  4. Sergiu

    Every grown-up kid with his story and precious moments. Regarding the food I’d better serve mamaliga with fried fish, cheese and a touch of garlic/onion sauce mix

  5. Mariana

    I am from Moldova and love mamaliga, of course! I make it at home here in Buffalo pretty often, but I will definitely go try it out at the Moldova restaurant when in NYC. And have some sour cherries crepes, my favorite dessert in the world!

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