Hungarian cuisine is world-famous for a reason! Let me prove it!
The best way to explore Budapest is by following your stomach! 🙂 Eating utilizes all five senses that is why exploring a travel destination by eating the local food is so powerful.
Even the faint aroma of a dish you tried can instantly take you back to the moment you experienced it.
Food has the ability to shape your journey and define your memories.
In this blog post I will heap you with drool-worthy photos of Hungarian cuisine to make you intentionally add food tasting to your Budapest travel because I believe it will greatly enrich your experience.
Food and restaurants in Budapest are usually very affordable for most tourists.
Hungarian food is amazing and Hungary is heaven for people who really love food.
Traditional cuisine is passed down from one generation to the next. It also operates as an expression of cultural identity.
As the world becomes more globalized, it is easier to access cuisines from different cultures.
We should become more informed about other cultures by trying their foods – food is a great unifier across cultures. 😊
Hungarian cuisine - fusion of east and west
The Hungarian cuisine has a good reputation abroad.
It has a good reason: even the simplest dishes burst with flavor.
The Goulash, the stuffed cabbage, the pancakes, the paprika chicken with sour cream, the noodles with cabbage, roasted paprika potatoes, with cottage cheese are world-famous dishes.
The Hungarian specialities are prepared with paprika, which gives a pleasant taste to the food.
Hungarian people are fond of different soups: the typical Hungarian meal usually contains soup. We take great pride in fish dishes, the Hungarian fish soup is a substantial meal itself.
A bejegyzés megtekintése az Instagramon
Paprika is a primer on Hungary's spice obsession😋👌 وين مانروح بهنقاريا نلاقي البابريكا.. مشهورة ديرتهم فيها و متوفرة بكل النكهات و مبدعين في تغليفها😍 نجرب نشتري منهم😍 #igersusa #canon #canon_photos #canonusa #budapest #sculpture #danube #river #danuberiver #nature #naturephotography #hungarianpaprika #beauty #spice #paprika #pestside #المجر #هنقاريا #بودابست #market #pest #statue #historical #shop #shopping #vacistreet #vaci #market #souvenir #gifts
How history influenced Hungarian cuisine
Hungary’s national dish, a meat stew called goulash, can be traced to our ancestors’ eating habits. They traveled with dried meat that they cooked with onions, and water could be added to make a stew.
During the reign of King Matthias in the 15th century cooking was raised to a fine art. Queen Beatrice had a big role in this progression as she brought Italian cooking to Hungary.
In the 16th century the Turks invaded Hungary and they brought their cooking style with them. This is how spicy paprika, Hungary’s “red gold” arrived to Hungary.
The Habsburg monarchy during the 17th century influenced Hungarian eating habits, too. During this period Hungary became famous for its pastries and cakes.
Hungary has also been influenced by Jewish food, in dishes like sólet (cholent), matzo balls, and goose soup.
Hungarian food has ‘lightened up’ during the past years, offering the same wonderfully earthy and spicy tastes but in less calorific dishes.
What to eat in Budapest
Today the smell of sizzling paprika and onions in (goose, pork, or duck) lard is something that we instantaneously recognize. This flavor bomb is the base of many Hungarian iconic dishes like
- “pörkölt“: a stew, made from any kind of meat
- veal, chicken or even mushroom “paprikás” (with sour cream)
- “lecsó” stewed tomatoes and peppers (something like French ratatouille)
Though plenty of dishes contain paprika, Hungarian food is typically not hot, because we use sweet paprika.
Gulyás (paprika-rich soup made with cubes of beef and potatoes) is perhaps the most iconic Hungarian dish. It is simple and complex at the same time. Literally means “herdsmen”.
Soup is an important part of Hungarian cuisine.
One of our favorite soups is “húsleves” (pictured; a rich soup made with meat, marrow bones and root vegetables).
If the soup is made with beef, sometimes the meat itself is not eaten with the soup, but separately, after the soup.
If served this way, we eat the beef with mustard and horseradish with white bread.
It’s a classic.
Other important soups that should not be missed are Halászlé (fisherman’s soup)
Jókai-bableves (pictured above: bean and smoked meat soup usually with sour cream)
Gyümölcsleves (sweet, cold fruit soup):
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Eszeveszetten jó ez a hideg görög gyümölcsleves! 🤤😚😚😚 Nem tudom miért pont görög, talán a narancs miatt aminek a leve a leves alapja. 1 liter frissen préselt narancsléhez óvatosan kevergetve hozzácsurgattam 2 dl habtejszínt. Ennyi a leves, ezután már csak a sok-sok gyümölcsöt kell beleszórni. Mindezt jól behűtve kell tálalni. Aki édesebben szereti tehet bele mézet vagy bármit amit használ édesítésre. De így savanykásan a legjobb szerintem. 😉😍
Role of meat in Hungarian cuisine
Hungarian cooking is meat-centric. There’s an abundance of pork, goose, duck, beef and fish.
The most widely used meat is pork.
Not a single part of the pig is wasted: intestines are stuffed with meat to make kolbász (sausages), chunks of pig fat is used to make töpörtyű or “crackling”:
“Kocsonya” is a “pork jelly”, made with pig’s feet, ears and snouts. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? 🙂
Fish is usually served sightly breaded with bread, mustard or potato salad or as halászlé.
Fruits and vegetables in Hungarian cuisine
The Hungarian soil is rich, the seasonal local fruits and vegetables are delicious.
Fruit is cooked to make jams or distilled to make pálinka (especially plum and apricot).
We really love pickled and fermented vegetables, “savanyúság“, as we call it.
“Savanyú káposzta” (sauerkraut) and “kovászos uborka” (fermented cucumbers) are among our favorites. On hot summer days we even drink the chilled juice of the pickle mixed with sparkling water.