Culinary Ambassadors: Covrigarii, Pretzels as Street Food in Romania
Serious Eats' Culinary Ambassadors check in from time to time with reports on food fare in their homeland or countries of residence. Here's the latest! (Find out more about CA or join here!) —The Mgmt.
I live in Cluj-Napoca, the de facto capital of Transylvania, the northwestern region of Romania. In the main square, Piața Unirii, and the general downtown area, covrigarii abound. They are pretzel shops that consist of one employee behind a walk-up window selling fresh-baked pretzels.
The pretzels are covered in poppy seeds on at least one side and come strung on a wire depending on how many the customer orders (whether it's a meal or not also depends on how many the customer orders). They cost 1 leu each, about US$0.30 and are eaten morning, noon, and night by whoever happens to walk past. Some shops look more locally owned than others — there are definitely some chain covrigarii but all the pretzels look the same and are similarly priced.
Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to eat any covrigi because I live gluten-free, but the smells that come out of each window are incredible and always make me consider having a gluten day.
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