BY WENDY HUNG
It’s so much more than paprika…
Also known as: goulash – the national dish of Hungary is…simply awesome. Goulash is traditionally Hungarian made from a meat stew with noodles and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other sorts of delish spices for hearty flavors.
Right…Hungarian food is so much more than paparikas but you’ve got to start with this. It’ll come stuffed, powdered, sauteed, spiced…in any way, it’s an absolute foodie essential.
3. Jókai bean soup
Named after the 19th-century writer Mor Jókai, the Jókai bean soup is all about vinegar and lots of sour cream, beans, smoked pork, parsley root and carrots.
Hungarian version of vegetable soup comes with green and red peppers, tomatos, onions, lard, salt, sugar and paprika. It’s thick, stewy and a vegetarian’s dream.
5. Paprikás Csirke
Chicken paprikash is another one of Hungary’s famous soups, it’s creamy with red spiced paprika and comes with a stewed chicken leg with the texture quite tender and soft.
Aka: Fisherman’s soup that is a hot, spicy paprika-based river fish soup. If you love seafood, this is to-die-for. It’s particularly prepared in the Danube regions, and frequently on restaurant menus.
7. Újházy chicken broth
A local favorite! Újházy chicken broth contains a whole chicken, mixed with carrots, mushrooms, garlic, tomato, green pepper, cauliflower and peas. It a traditional dish that’s often eaten a Hungarian weddings.
Can’t say no to fried dough! Langos is flat bread made with flour, yeast, water and salt. You’ll frequently see it topped with mashed potatoes, sour cream yogurt, grated cheese, ham or sausages. Definitely a staple at the Central Market Hall.
Hungary sausages come from different regions of the country and each have their own special recipes and tastes. Kolbász may be boiled, dried or smoked, they can be eaten as cold cuts or accompanied in main dishes like stews and salads. These sausages typically contain bacon, ground pork, beef, lamb, paprika (surprise!) garlic, pepper, nutmeg and a huge variety of local spices.
10. Rakott Krumpli
Every country has their own gratin, including Hungary. Rakott Krumpli is basically layered potatoes, baked. Makes the best comfort food!
Pörkölt is completely different from goulash, but just as delish. It’s boneless meat, stewed with paprika, vegetables but without potatoes. The meat can vary from beef, lamb, chicken and pork. The taste of the stew is quite game as livers sometimes can be added in.
12. Töltött Káposzta
Stuffed cabbage rolls might just be my personal favorite. Töltött Káposzta are made from picked cabbage leaves, filled with minced pork meat, paprika with a dab of sour cream on top. This dish is typically eaten during wintertime but I still love it on any hot summer day.
13. Töltött Paprika
After trying Töltött Káposzta, you’ll need to try another type of “stuff” – stuffed paprika, that is. Töltött Paprika is mixed with rice, diced red onions, salt, herbs, garlic, ground black pepper, ground paprika, parsley or rosemary. At times, they may also contain mushrooms or meat and cabbage.
Foie gras in Hungary is widely available and inexpensive. Libamáj is fried goose liver which may be game but a definite must-try.
15. Rántott Sajt
Deep…fried…cheese. YUM! Rántott Sajt are flat cheese croquette, cheese rolled in breadcrumbs and, deep fried. Very addictive.
16. Túrós Csusza
Túrós Csusza are curd or cottage cheese noodles. The traditional kind are normally homemade with flour, eggs mixed into a dough and torn by hand so they look uneven then boiled in water. Why you’ll love it? It’s savory and totally comforting.
Hungarian nokedli dumplings are sort of like spaetzles and made with noodle graters then scraping the dough into boiling water with a spoon or a knife. It’s amazing with butter but they can be served with goulash or chicken paprikash.
Túrógombóc are curd or cottage cheese dumplings in the shape of balls, boiled in water then covered with buttery bread crumbs and served with warm, sweetened sour-cream sauce. It’s one of the sweetest dishes you’ll taste on this list.
19. Dobos torta
A Hungarian sponge cake covered in chocolate cream and caramel. It’s a five-layer pastry which you may have tasted in other restaurants around the world as it is internationally popular. But it’s also another staple in Hungary, so make sure to taste the real deal in Budapest.
Aka: Mont Blanc of Hungary. Gesztenyepüré is a chestnut purée, sweetened served with whipped cream. It’s sometimes mixed in with chocolate or cocoa powder and rum.
21. Rákóczi Túrós
Rákóczi túrós is a shortcrust pastry, topped with sweet cottage cheese and finished with a layer of meringue and apricot jam. It’s citrusy and sweet.
Kürtőskalács is a chimney cake made from sweet yeast then spun and wrapped around a truncated cone-shaped baking material. Melted butter, granulated sugar, caramel, crispy, shiny, cinnomony and walnuty are all the reasons why you shouldn’t say no to this yummy dessert.
The easiest way to explain this is that it’s a Hungarian strudel. If you’re a fan of German Apfelstrudel, then you might love rétes just as much.
If rétes are Hungarian strudels, then kiflis are Hungarian croissants. You can either eat them plain or have them with jam and butter.
25. Túró Rudi
One of the first thing I tried in Hungary was a Túró Rudi which is chocolate bar stuffed with cottage cheese. You can easily find these in grocery stores, and it comes in different flavors and sizes. The plain one is with dark chocolate, and makes the perfect snack for the road!