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How to Eat and Drink Like a Hungarian

October 27th, 2021

 

Welcome to Budapest! Whether you’ve been here for a while or are just passing through, we bet you’re looking to try some classic Hungarian food. But what, you might ask yourself, do Hungarians eat? Well no fear! We have some tips that will help you eat and drink just like a Hungarian. Hope you’re hungry!
 

Food

If you want to eat like a Hungarian you should start with the most traditional Hungarian food! The list is long, but we’ll share our favorites with you:

large paella pans of traditional Hungarian food

Classics

Hungary is famous for its paprika, so of course you should try a dish that has its traditional red hue. For this we have to recommend chicken paprikash, a rich dish served over buttery nokedli (noodles).

You should also try a steaming hot bowl of gulyás (goulash), a thin soup with lots of meat and potatoes. And if you’re prepared to be stuffed, try out töltött káposzta, cabbage rolls stuffed with a spiced minced pork and rice mixture.

traditional Hungarian soup on red polka dot napkin

And now, what about sides? You can be pretty confident if you have a dish of csemege uborka (thinly sliced sour pickles) on the table. And never let the tejföl (sour cream) be too far away. And of course we have to ask, in Hungarian food, how much garlic is too much? Trick question! You can never have enough garlic!

traditional Hungarian meat dish

 

Snacks

When it comes to snacking the Hungarian way, you’ll have to embrace bread like never before! Pogácsa (similar to flaky scones) are a popular bite sized snack that you can pick up at any bakery. A lángos is a heavenly disc of fried dough that’s traditionally slathered in garlic and sour cream with cheese on top. Make sure you have plenty of space, though!

woman holding lángos

onion on bread with paprika

Looking for a classic Hungarian dessert? Palacsinta (thin pancakes) are good at any time of day, whether you make them sweet or savory! Or if you want to walk and munch, a kürtőskalács (chimney cake) is a winding tower of sweet bread, covered in your favorite topping (cinnamon, crushed walnut, and coconut are all very popular).

chimney cakes in a row

Where can you find all of these foods?

 

Étterem--Restaurant

Csárda--Typical Hungarian restaurant

Pékség--Bakery

Cukraszda--Confectionary 

Szupermarket--Supermarket (Spar, LIDL, Aldi, etc.)

Piác--Market

 

Drink

Now that you’ve got your meal prepared, how are you going to wash it all down? We’ve got plenty of options! Craving a bubbly and refreshing beer? Go for a Borsodi or Soproni.

Or maybe you were hoping for something stronger? There are two liquors that are classically Hungarian...and we hope you’ll get the chance to try both! Pálinka is a fruit brandy (and trust us--it’s strong) and Unicum is a dark bitter liqueur that tastes a little like licorice. Book your own pálinka tasting here!

 

tasting glasses full of a variety of pálinka

 

Wine

You can’t come to Hungary without taking advantage of its many wine regions! No worries if you don’t have time to set off on a wine tour--just pick up a glass of the sweet dessert wine of Tokaj, or perhaps the deep red bikavér (meaning bull’s blood) of Eger. For something lighter, grab your favorite white or rosé and mix up a fröccs (wine mixed with soda water).

 

And--most importantly--if you’re going to drink like a Hungarian, you must learn how to cheers! 

Before you sip, make eye contact and say egészségedre (eh-geh-sheg-ug-dray)--to your health!



Working your way through the local cuisine is the best way to get to know a country--that’s why we hope you’ll take this quick guide of how to eat and drink like a Hungarian to heart! Before you know it, you’ll be dining and drinking like a local! Egészségedre!

 

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