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 similar 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) like the Rajputs. 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] The hedgehog dish is called hotchi-witchi or niglo, in Romani. The hedgehog is wrapped in clay and placed on white-hot stones. When the roasting is done, the prickles attached to the clay are pulled off and the hedgehog dish is served wrapped in leaves.[12] Certain foods are traditionally considered marime (ritually unclean) and therefore are avoided. Horse meat is forbidden. Cat meat and dog meat are also forbidden. Frog meat and snake meat are considered unlucky by the Christian Roma and are associated with the Devil. Peacock meat is forbidden. The Christian Roma associate peacocks with the evil eye.[13] The Christian Roma tend to not eat at restaurants and avoid food prepared by non-Roma.[14]

Due to the lack of Romanipen and assimilation to Turkish culture and Islam as religion, Turkish Roma eat chicken and eggs and have their own special recipe for it which is well-known in Turkey[15]

List of Romani dishes

See also


  1. ^ Zanger, Mark (29 March 2001). "The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students". ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 29 March 2023 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Vishnevsky, Victor (30 September 2011). "Memories of a Gypsy". Salo Press. Retrieved 29 March 2023 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Sutherland, Anne (1 July 1986). "Gypsies: The Hidden Americans". Waveland Press. Retrieved 29 March 2023 – via Google Books.
  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. ^ Hancock, Ian F. (2002). We are the Romani People. p. 81. ISBN 9781902806198.
  9. ^ "Taste of Romani (Gypsy) Cuisine". Goodreads. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  10. ^ "Inside the Culinary Traditions of the Roma people". Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  11. ^ Mary Ellen Snodgrass (2012). World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Social Influence from Hunter Gatherers to the Age of Globalization. ISBN 9781317451600.
  12. ^ Harry E. Wedeck (2015). Dictionary of Gypsy Life and Lore. ISBN 9781504022743.
  13. ^ Yaron Matras (2015). The Romani Gypsies. p. 92.
  14. ^ Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia. p. 250.
  15. ^ "En Yeni Roman Yemekleri -". Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  16. ^ Hancock, Ian F. (2002). We are the Romani People. ISBN 9781902806198.
  17. ^ Gypsies: The Hidden Americans. p. 63.
  18. ^ Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia. p. 251.
  19. ^ "Çingene Yumurtası -". (in Turkish). Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  20. ^ "ÇİNGENE TAVUĞU -". (in Turkish). Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  21. ^ "African Americans and the Gypsies: a cultural relationship formed through hardships". San Francisco Bay View. 27 September 2013.
  22. ^ "Joe Grey Soup (Traditional Gypsy Recipe) | Gypsy Magick and Lore". Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  23. ^ "Kent - Romany Roots - Try a traditional Gypsy recipe". BBC.

Further reading