As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest is a gastronomic heaven that will delight foodies – particularly those with a penchant for meat-heavy dishes. The Hungarians are passionate about their meat stews, casseroles and dishes that include different types of games and poultry. A traditional feature of Hungarian cuisine is the mixing of different kinds of meat. Cold fruit soups are common to the cuisine, as is the heavy usage of paprika to flavour a wide variety of dishes. If you cannot wait to start your food journey in Budapest, kickstart your exploration with our guide below:
Have you heard of the saying, “feast like a king for breakfast, and eat a pauper for dinner”? This phrase certainly holds true for the Hungarians. Breakfast is an important meal for the locals. They usually have an open sandwich packed with a variety of cheeses, salami, sausages, bacon or pickled cabbage. On days in which a light meal will suffice, a morning meal involves a good ol' cup of coffee and pastries, such as a flaky strufel or kifli with jam or honey.
An important meal for the Hungarians, lunch is usually made up of a soup, main dish and dessert. Popular choices include veal soup, a clear, refreshing dish made with veal, pickled cucumbers and vegetables. The locals also tuck into sweet yogurt soups, zöldségleves, a vegetable soup made with peas, carrots and parsley, as well as a broccoli and cheese soup.
In contrast, dinner meals are much simple affairs. The locals tuck into a light cold cut sandwich filled with salamis, pickles or a selection of cold cuts.
The goulash is on the most famous dishes in Hungarian cuisine. This hearty stew includes ingredients such as beef, potatoes, carrots, ground paprika and an array of spices. Diners will find different variations of this well-loved dish – it may come in the form of a soup, rather than a stew. In addition, a mixture of meat, such as pork and mutton may be included along with beef.
4. Chicken Paprikash
Usually eaten as a main course for lunch and dinner, the chicken paprikash gets it robust colour from a generous dose of paprika. Other ingredients include chicken, onions, butter or lard, green peppers, tomatoes, clove garlic, flour and sour cream. The dish is served with boiled egg noodles shaped like dumplings.
5. Fisherman’s Soup
Spicy, earthy and flavourful, the fisherman's soup is made with heavy dashes of hot paprika, red onions, green peppers, tomatoes and fish. Traditionally, this soup was prepared in small kettles, and boiled over the fire by fishermen along the banks of the river after they just had their catch.
6. Gundle Crepe
In Hungary, pancakes are regarded as a main course rather than a dessert. The decadent gundle crepe is a thin, crepe-like pancake stuffed with grounded walnuts and sugar, and served with chocolate sauce.
7. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
A classic Hungarian dish, stuffed cabbage rools is made with ingredients such as rice, cabbage leaves and a variety of meats. The dish is usually baked in a tomato-based sauce, and the rolls may be wrapped in bacon for a savoury, smokey flavour.
Hungry for a home cooked Hungarian meal in Budapest? Make a stop by Peter's lovely home, for a delightful feast of local fare awaits! Start off the evening with an appetising soup of matzah balls and vegetables, before tucking into well-known mains such as chulet. Of course, a perfect meal always ends on a sweet note – at Peter's, you will round off your meal with a traditional Hungarian Jewish dessert known as Flodni, accompanied by Tokaji wine. Yum!