Romani cuisine is the cuisine of the ethnic Romani people. There is no specific "Roma cuisine"; it varies and is culinarily influenced by the respective countries where they have often lived for centuries. Hence, it is influenced by European cuisine even though the Romani people originated from the Indian subcontinent. Their cookery incorporates Indian and South Asian influences, but is also very similar to Hungarian cuisine. The many cultures that the Roma contacted are reflected in their cooking, resulting in many different cuisines. Some of these cultures are Middle European, Germany, Great Britain, and Spain. The cuisine of Muslim Romani people is also influenced by Balkan cuisine and Turkish cuisine.


Romani dishes are usually made hot and spicy with the use of spices, such as paprika, garlic and bell peppers. Potatoes are also a staple in their diet. A traditional Romani dessert is pirogo, which is similiar to Jewish kugel. The recipe consists of eggs, raisins, walnuts, pineapple, sugar, butter, egg noodles and cottage cheese.[1] Another traditional dish cooked by Romani people is sarma, salmaia or sodmay, which is made from cabbage stuffed with meat and rice.[2] Romani people consume dishes consisting of stuffed peppers, especially on holidays and special occasions. Romani people also cook pufe (made from fried flour), xaritsa (fried cornbread), bogacha (baked bread) and xaimoko (a meal consisting of rabbit meat). They serve their meals with kafa (coffee) and chao (tea) with sugar and milk or fruits such as strawberries, peach slices, apple slices, or lemon.[3][4] The Roma believe some foods are auspicious and give luck (baxt). American Roma believe red pepper, black pepper, salt, vinegar, garlic, onions and a sacrificed animal such a lamb to be lucky foods.[5] In Maribor, Slovenia, there is a Romani restaurant called Romani Kafenava.[6] Some itinerant European Romani people cook hedgehog stew.[7] Game animals and birds such as rabbits, hares, quails and partridge are consumed by the Roma. Snails are also consumed.[8] Snail soup and pig stomach are Romani delicacies. Bread form an essential part of any meal. Romani food is cooked outdoors in cauldrons atop a wooden flame.[9] Romani cuisine is also, often of necessity, inexpensive and cheap to prepare and uses portable ingredients. Thus, beef and pork are rare inclusions, while chicken and lamb and goat or wild birds and game are the preferred proteins by the Roma. Potato, peppers, cabbage and rice are often the building blocks in Romani cuisine. Rabbit stew is made with rabbit meat, innards, bacon and onions.[10] The Roma consume roasted apples, almond cakes, clay-baked hedgehog and trout, snails in broth, and fig cakes as a snack. Baked hedgehog is flavored with garlic.[11] Horse meat is forbidden. The Roma tend to not eat at restaurants and avoid food prepared by non-Roma.[12]

List of Romani dishes

See also


  1. ^ The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students - Page 132
  2. ^ Memories of a Gypsy - Page 17
  3. ^ Gypsies: The Hidden Americans - Page 62
  4. ^ Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. p. 56.
  5. ^ Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia - Volume 2. p. 175.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Meghan Collins (16 May 2014). "Introducing Roma Cuisine, The Little-Known 'Soul Food' Of Europe". NPR.
  7. ^ Byghan, Yowann (2020). Sacred and Mythological Animals: A Worldwide Taxonomy. McFarland, Incorporated. p. 133. ISBN 9781476679501.
  8. ^ We are the Romani People. p. 81.
  9. ^ Taste of Romani (Gypsy) Cuisine by Goce Nikolovski.
  10. ^ "Inside the Culinary Traditions of the Roma people".
  11. ^ Mary Ellen Snodgrass (2012). World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Social Influence from Hunter Gatherers to the Age of Globalization.
  12. ^ Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia. p. 250.
  13. ^ Hancock, Ian F. (2002). We are the Romani People. ISBN 9781902806198.
  14. ^ Gypsies: The Hidden Americans. p. 63.
  15. ^ Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia. p. 251.
  16. ^ "African Americans and the Gypsies: a cultural relationship formed through hardships". San Francisco Bay View.
  17. ^ "Joe Grey Soup (Traditional Gypsy Recipe)".
  18. ^ "Kent - Romany Roots - Try a traditional Gypsy recipe". BBC.