Budapest is an adventure in itself, but trying the local Hungarian foods and drinks will offer some more adventures.
Langos at a Budapest Flea Market – Alexandra Crosby Photography
Some of the most frequently asked questions regarding foods and drinks in Budapest are like which is the best Hungarian wine, or which is the best Hungarian beer to drink. Are you interested in trying the Hungarian spirits called Palinka? Likewise, many tourists would like to know if Hungarian tap wateris OK to drink or not.
Some of the traditional Hungarian snacks we recommend trying at least once are Langos and Tocsni.
Soups are very much part of Hungarian cuisine, and some of them are really special and well worth a try. See the best Hungarian soups here.
There are wonderful Hungarian pickles of all tastes, sizes and colours. Sweet pickled gherkin (csemegeuborka) is one of the most common pickles often eaten alongside with fried meats and stews in Hungary, simulatenously, while the sauerkraut from Vecses village (vecsesi savanyu kaposzta) is not only considered the best sour cabbages in the country, but also serves as the basis of some of the most well known Hungarian dishes like Stuffed cabbage (the traditional Hungarian Christmas food), or Szekelykaposzta, a nice and hearty winter food. Try as many as you can, for instance at one of the Budapest market halls like the Central Market Hall, Lehel Market Hall or Feny Market Hall.
Fruits and vegetables are very flavoursome (although one gets the impression that probably less tasty than about 30 years ago). As for Hungarian fruits, do try fresh local apricots, melons, raspberries, peaches, apples while they are in season. Some of the vegetables are also well worth a culinary adventure, and a wonderful experience for your taste buds, especially if you also like cooking and can appreciate the fine characters and fibres of varieties: tomatoes, celery (cooked) and raw kohlrabi are not to be missed.
Of course, you have heard about goulash and wish to try it where it is from, from Hungary. This is the number one dish suggested to tourists visiting Budapest – although we prefer to recommend Goose Leg with Red Cabbage (Libacomb voroskaposztaval), Potato Casserole (rakott krumpli), Stuffed Pepper in Tomato Sauce (toltott paprika), and for midday meals in winter Stuffed Cabbage (toltott kaposzta), or Szekelykaposzta (Cabbage & Meat Stew). Are we against Goulash? Not at all. But if you like goulash abroad, we would rather recommend trying Porkolt first.
Hungarian Stuffed Pepper – Alexandra Crosby Photography
Goulash & Porkolt
Porkolt is a traditional Hungarian stew, which a lot more resembles what you may like about goulash. Goulash, on the other hand, or Gulyasleves, is what Hungarians eat as a nice midday soup, eaten in a sort of deep bowl (3x-4x the size of a soup cup), and followed by some kind of dessert. Goulash is a stand along main meal, eaten with a big slice of bread, then comes the dessert. It is the main course, not a starter soup. So, if you are having the international goulash in mind, try any of the nice stews, and go for grey horn beef stew (szurkemarha porkolt), or game stew if you see it on the menu (deer, most typically, made with red wine).
Hungarian paprika is world famous – read some details about the Hungarian paprika from Szeged and Kalocsa.
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