HUNGARIAN NATIONAL DISH
Gulyás - Goulash
Gulyás finds its origins in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and is a hearty stew of beef, potatoes, onions and Hungary's favourite spice: Paprika (more on that in a moment).
We recommend: Vegan Gulyás from Kozmosz Vegán Étterem - finom!!
TYPICAL HUNGARIAN FLAVOURS
Paprika is a big deal in Budapest, or at the very least every souvenir shop is covered in paprika merchandise. It's kind of their national symbol. Take some home for your grandma!
Paprika came to Hungary in the 16th Century: Hungary wasn't on the Silk Road, so paprika was used as a cheap version of black pepper. Paprika is actually a Hungarian word - one of the very few Hungarian words used in English (others are biro, vizsla, goulash and itsy-bitsy).
It's generally just sweet paprika that's used in lots of Hungarian dishes, but spicy paprika is used to flavour things like Salami.
We saw poppy seed used in so many dishes - as a filling, or as a topping, or both! This is something we haven't really seen before so we always noticed it. It's excellent in strudels.
Like a lot of central European countries, Lavender is used a lot. Try Hungarian lavender!
BEST HUNGARIAN FOODS
Be warned though, they are super filling! This was the first thing we tried on an excellent food tour, but it made us full immediately!
Stuffed Cabbage à la Kolozsvár
Stuffed cabbage is another traditional Hungarian dish. They are generally stuffed with meat and rice, but we don't eat meat so ours were stuffed with faux sausage, and it was literally the best thing ever.
The cabbage is often pickled (sauerkraut) which makes it even more delicious. I'm literally thinking about booking a flight to Hungary just to have this meal again.
We recommend: Napfenyes for the best stuffed cabbage ever.
These originate from Hungarian-speaking parts of Romania. We didn't know this and tried our first one in Prague. We didn't like it. But we liked Budapest a lot more than Prague, so by that logic we will probably like kürtöskalács better in Budapest, another thing to try next time!
Where there's wine, there's often brandy and Hungarian brandy (or 'Pálinka) is amazing. Again this was something we tried at the Tasting Table.
Unicum is the Hungarian signature spirit. It's kind of like Jaegermesiter, but better. Unicum was accidentally invented when a doctor was trying to make medicine for Joseph the second.
It's been popular and readily available in Hungary ever since - except for the 40 years that the USSR occupied Hungary. The Unicum family took the secret recipe to the US so the Soviets couldn't make it!
The recipe is still a secret to this day - though it is known that it's 40% alcohol and has over 42 digestive herbs in it.
MUST DO FOOD TOURS IN BUDAPEST
I would recommend Thursdays at the Tasting Table to tourists and locals to Budapest alike. The food is delicious, the wine is delicious and you can learn a lot.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE VEGAN IN BUDAPEST?
WHERE TO STAY IN BUDAPEST
HOW TO GET TO BUDAPEST
CONCLUSIONJust like we loved Budapest and love Hungarians, we love Hungarian food. It's filling, it's delicious and I am currently looking at the best flights to Budapest to take us back so we can do some serious eating.
If you have any suggestions, comments, questions, spelling mistakes to point out, please leave a comment below <3
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.