Hungarian Food Guide

Gulyás

hungarian food guide budapest hungary gulyas
Gulyás, better known in English speaking countries as goulash, is a traditional dish that is made by combining meat with vegetables and seasonings like garlic and caraway seed.  The dish is then cooked over a long period of time before being served with egg noodles, rice, or a side of potatoes.

Classical Gulyás is made with either cuts of beef, pork, lamb, or veal depending on the region and the availability of the meat and the most common vegetables used in Gulyás are onion, carrots, celery, peppers, parsley root, as well as potatoes.

Depending on the region, other ingredients like sour cream or sauerkraut may also be added.

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Lángos

hungarian food guide budapest hungary langos
Lángos is a Hungarian specialty that you will find at many sports events, festivals, and other public celebrations.

You'll find this fried dough treat in both sweet or savory versions.  Sweet variations will have more sugar while savory variations reduce the amount of sugar in the dough and add ingredients like mashed potatoes and sour cream for a more tangy taste.

Lángos can be served with many different ingredients including jam, fresh fruit and confectioners sugar for sweet versions of this tasty treat and garlic butter, grated cheese, ham and sausages for its savory cousin.

Halászlé

hungarian food guide budapest hungary halaszle
Halászlé is a traditional soup that originated with Hungarian fishermen who made a living on the Danube and Tisza rivers.

While it can be eaten year round, Halászlé is considered to be a Christmas Eve dish in Hungary and is commonly eaten at Christmas Eve dinners.

Halászlé is made using freshwater fish exclusively so fish like pike, perch and carp are the most popular.  The soup is made with fish stock that combines cooked onions, tomatoes, and paprika that is simmered for a good amount of time before the fresh fish pieces are added to be cooked.

Töltött Káposzta

hungarian food guide budapest hungary toltott kaposzta
Töltött Káposzta are cabbage rolls made with cooked cabbage leaves and a number of different fillings.

Served as a main dish or as a side dish to a dinner meal, Töltött Káposzta are commonly filled with lamb, pork, onion, garlic, as well as rice and eggs.

Some regions of Hungary add sour cream to the stuffing or as a side to dip the rolls in.

Paprikás Csirke

hungarian food guide budapest hungary paprikas csirke
Paprikás Csirke, or Paprika Chicken, is an iconic Hungarian food that is full of fragrant spices and flavors.

The dish is made by combining a slow cooked paprika, tomato and onion sauce with pieces of high quality chicken.  The chicken is then cooked in the sauce and completed with a mixture of flour, heavy cream and sour cream to add tanginess.

You will usually find Paprikás Csirke served with a cucumber salad in a slightly sour dressing which is a great contrast to the rich paprika heavy sauce.

Túrós Csusza

hungarian food guide budapest hungary turos csusza
Túrós Csusza is a classical Hungarian dish that is usually eaten for lunch or dinner as it can be quite heavy in terms of flavor.

A rich traditional pasta dish, Túrós Csusza is made with egg noodles, smoked bacon, and a mixture of curd cheese and sour cream.  Some regions of Hungary add other ingredients like paprika for extra spice or dill for a more unique flavor.

Travel Tip
Many restaurants in Budapest offer a fixed priced lunch menu on weekdays.  You can usually get a two course meal for around 1500HUF or €5.
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Főzelék

hungarian food guide budapest hungary fozelek
Főzelék is a very thick stew that is made with a variety of different ingredients.  Traditionally, Főzelék was made with whatever families happened to have on hand so ingredients like cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spinach were often used.

Meats such as smoked sausage or fried eggs are also commonly added to the dish depending on availability.

Lecsó

hungarian food guide budapest hungary lecso
Lecsó is a traditional dish that is so incredibly popular in its native Hungary that there are Lecsó festivals celebrating the dish.

This thick ragout is made with lots of yellow pointed peppers, paprika, sliced onions, and tomatoes.  The Hungarian wax pepper is commonly used due to its relatively mild yet tangy flavor.

Lecsó is usually eaten at lunch and is sometimes served with bread or potatoes as a side.

Rakott Krumpli

hungarian food guide budapest hungary rakott krumpli
The ultimate Hungarian comfort food, Rakott Krumpli originated in the Hungarian countryside earning it the moniker "peasant dish".

Rakott Krumpli is a casserole that is primarily made with medallion sliced potatoes that are layered in a casserole dish with medallion slices of boiled eggs.  Layers of butter and sour cream are also alternated in the dish, with sour cream being the top most layer before it is baked until crispy and brown.

Travel Tip
As with most countries in Europe, tipping at restaurants in Hungary is not expected.  Leave a 1 or 2 euro coin if you were happy with the experience.

Pörkölt

hungarian food guide budapest hungary porkolt
Pörkölt is a classical stew and one of Hungary's national dishes.  Pörkölt can vary greatly depending on the region of Hungary, but traditional Pörkölt is usually made with beef or pork, onions, and sweet paprika.

Some Pörkölt recipes include bell peppers and tomatoes along with more distinct seasonings like garlic and marjoram.

Traditionally Pörkölt is served with a side of noodles as well as tangy pickles as a garnish.

Rántott Sajt

hungarian food guide budapest hungary rantott sajt
Rántott Sajt, a common Hungarian snack food, is fried cheese that usually made with swiss or mozzarella cheese.  The cheese is cut into thin slices and covered in a mixture of egg, flour and breadcrumbs before being fried in oil.

You'll find Rántott Sajt often served as street food and at festivals and sporting events.

Nokedli

hungarian food guide budapest hungary nokedli
Nokedli, also known as Spätzle in neighboring countries, are egg noodles served as a standalone meal or alongside heartier dishes like Gulyás and stews.

The noodles have a unique texture as they are thinner and chewier than other noodles due to the addition of water to the dough and the use of coarse Dunstmehl flour.

Meggyleves

hungarian food guide budapest hungary meggyleves
Meggyleves literally translates to sour cherry soup as meggy means sour cherries while leves means soup.  Meggyleves is made from the fruits of the sour cherry tree known as Prunus Cerasus.

Traditionally served as a dinner course, Meggyleves is a great compliment to the meal on a hot summer night.  It can be served either as an appetizer, soup or dessert.
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