First of all, let us admit it: Hungarians love eating. As a matter of fact the Hungarian cuisine is way more than goulash and paprika; nevertheless tradition plays an important role in Hungarian cooking. Today, it offers a vivid fusion of authentic and modern dishes.
Hungary, situated in the heart of Europe, has a wealth of culture and history. Besides unique ingredients – such as Mangalica pork, goose or duck liver - exciting creations attract foodies and connoisseurs from all over the world.
Here is a list with some of our authentic Hungarian meals one should not miss when visiting our country:
- starters: foie gras, sausages (hurka, kolbász), pancake Hortobágyi style (palacsinta), cold ones include paprika cheese spread (körözött) with a crescent roll (kifli) or soft scone (pogácsa)
- soups: gulyás, fish soup (halászlé), broth/consommé (húsleves), cold fruit soup
- snacks: deep fried flat bread with garlic/sour cream/cheese (lángos), chimney cake (kürtőskalács)
- main dishes: stuffed cabbage with sour cream (töltött káposzta), stew (pörkölt) made from beef/chicken/gizzard/pork/venison or even vegetable stew (lecsó)
- side dishes: potato in various forms, small dumplings like noodles (nokedli), egg barley (tarhonya) and in addition to these, pickles (savanyúság)
- when it comes to extras, sour cream, hot/sweet paprika are also on the table
- desserts: cottage cheese dumplings, dumplings filled with plums (túró/szilvásgombóc), Gundel pancake (palacsinta), strudel with apple/quark/poppy seed/cherry filling (rétes), Somlói trifle (Somlói galuska), chestnut purée (gesztenyepüré)
Last but not least when bumping into a dessert bar named “Túrórudi” (a cottage cheese bar coated with chocolate), don’t walk away, it is worth a try!For citizens of the world of fine dining Hungary has put its name on the world map of gastronomy by winning the right to host the Bocuse d’Or and the Chaine de Rôtisseurs contests. Budapest also has four Michelin star restaurants (Costes&Costes, Downtown, Borkonyha, Onyx), Alongside the achievements of Budapest, gastronomy has evolved spectacularly in the countryside, which is demonstrated not only by the number of guests attending gastronomic festivals, but also by those “culinary pilgrims”, who appreciate quality combined with local, artisan products.
Winemaking is undergoing a renaissance, too: next to the well-known Aszú from Tokaj, delightful and lovely wines - including exquisite dry Furmints, ’Kadarka’s or ’Kékfrankos’s- are bottled by talented and creative winemakers.
Hungary, thanks to the move from mass production to a so called „boutique” wine production that represents outstanding quality, is regaining its nearly forgotten fame and glory. The countless small cellars owned and run by a new generation of winegrowers produce beautiful wines in their vineyards (either as a result of traditional winemaking culture or a result of sensible modernising improvements). These wines represent a unique variety; for instance from locations like Balaton, Eger, Szekszárd, Tokaj or Villány. Hungary indeed boasts an amazing spectrum of wine varieties, all exciting, authentic and mostly waiting to be rediscovered.
Last but not least some expressions a visitor might find useful: „Jó étvágyat!” (Enjoy your meal) and „Egészségedre!” (Cheers) Words easily learnt after tasting a 100% fruit spirit, named pálinka.