Moldova has always been a home to different nationalities: Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians have lived here for centuries and are a part of the complex and rich culture of the country. And of course one of the most interesting nations are the Gagauz. Gagauz are of Turkic origin and speak a language similar in many ways to Turkish, but profess Christianity. Gagauz live on the south of Moldova in the region of the Budjac steppe and have a really interesting culture and traditions, which can be experienced exclusively in Moldova.
In Chisinau it is also possible to have a taste of Gagauz cuisine, and despite there being several Gagauz restaurants, my favorite is Gagauz Cricima in Riscani district. Cricima in Gagauz language means “traditional tavern”, and the interior of the spot matches that description perfectly.
The food is also great and made according to old traditional recipes. In my opinion, Gagauz cuisine is built on 3 major pillars: mutton, house wine and sheep cheese. Mutton is the most common meat used in dishes here — besides the various grill options, my personal favorite is “Kavurma”, mutton with vegetables that has been steamed for many hours. Sheep cheese is the obligatory filling for local pastry – “Gozleme”, and Gagauz home-made wine, which significantly differs from industrial ones, is a must-try for any meal.