Shooting in Hungary

Traditional Hungarian Dishes to Try

Where to Go for a Dinner and What to Eat in Budapest After a Long Production Day?

Hungarian cuisine, with its creative and diverse dishes, along with its unique and special tastes, is one of the most significant elements of Hungarian culture. The main ingredients of traditional Hungarian dishes and cuisine are mainly meats, fresh bread, vegetables, fruits and dairy products including a wide range of cheeses. Hungarians even like to mix different varieties of meats which is also a traditional feature of our cuisine.

Hungarian cuisine, with its creative and diverse dishes, along with its unique and special tastes, is one of the most significant elements of Hungarian culture. The main ingredients of traditional Hungarian dishes and cuisine are mainly meats, fresh bread, vegetables, fruits and dairy products including a wide range of cheeses. Hungarians even like to mix different varieties of meats which is also a traditional feature of our cuisine.

An Insight into the Hungarian Kitchen

Hungary’s gastronomy is one of a kind, because it is a unique combination of ancient Asiatic components with German, Italian and Slavic, as well as Turkish and Austrian influences.

I could talk about cliches, like gulyás and paprika, which I really like by the way, but as I said, I have a lot of Hungarian cookbooks and I look at them a lot - I feel like I know this kitchen completely. As a person understands a foreign language. I understand the complete philosophy behind it and really can’t wait to taste some very original, traditional dishes.”Jamie Oliver

Garlic and onions were only introduced to the Hungarian kitchen in the 15th century, but today they form the basic flavouring for pretty much every meal. Main meals nearly always start with a soup, since Hungarians find it very important in one’s diet. Most dishes basically consist of seasonal vegetables and meat, which is often made spicy by grinded up Hungarian “paprika” peppers.


What makes the traditional Hungarian cuisine unusual is that it deals with large proportions and rather heavy food. Pork is the most often used type of meat, although they do cook chicken, fish and other types too. There is a Hungarian tradition called “disznóvágás”, when a family or a small community kills, prepares and cooks pretty much every part of a large pig or a mangalica (a hairy pig).

Youtube trying hungarian dishes

Next to the large amount of meat, side dishes are also bigger compared to the gastronomy of other countries. The cooks here often are the most content when their guests leave very full (and the question of the foods’ taste is often secondary). Although generally much has changed since, restaurants that call themselves traditional Hungarian ones, will most probably be like this.

The Tradition of Gypsy Musicians: The Living Jukebox

It is a centuries old tradition for gypsy musicians to perform in restaurants, to entertain the guests and create a good atmosphere. Families with generations of musicians keep this tradition alive, much to the joy of traditional Hungarian restaurants. They play their show and then go up to the tables, when the guests can request them to play pieces of music for a tip. These musicians are highly skilled and have a vast range of pieces they know off by heart. Often next to gypsy folk music, they play Hungarian folk music and classical pieces. Also more commercial groups play jazz, musicals and popular music too. Typically, there are two violinists, a cellist and a cimbalom player in the band.

Although Hungary doesn’t have its own sea, it does have a huge lake; the Balaton, due to which there is a variety of fish dishes as well. For Westerners Hungarians seem to mix savoury and sweet in a bizarre way sometimes, for example with pancakes filled with meat and sweet pasta. But don’t worry, Hungary has a rich culture of “cukrászda”, that is cake-shops, with endless varieties of large cakes, or ones sliced up, ready to go next to a cup of coffee or tea.

Youtube Bizarre hungarian foods

Top 5 Hungarian Dishes that You Should Absolutely Try

1. Goulash soup (Gulyás leves)

Our favourite soup, Goulash, is mainly made of beef, vegetables and noodles, that we season with Hungarian paprika and other spices. A few hundred years ago, traditional goulash was not a soup, but a stew made by cattle herders and shepherds. This is where the name comes from: gulyás in Hungarian literally means herdsman.

If would like goulash, it’s the best goulash in the world, it really is good, there is enough paprika in it to make it really a little bit spicy. It seems like comfort food. It doesn’t seem like high cuisine at all. You won’t be disappointed at all. There are a lot of great cities in Europe, but Budapest is the one that people can not overlook.”Alice Cooper, Star Traveler, Fox News

How to cook Goulash soup: (1) First cut the meat into 2x2cm cubes, slice the red onions thin. (2) Heat up the red onion in fat, until it looks glasslike. Then steam all of the cummin and frizzle the meat cubes with the ground garlic until the meat has turned white. (3) Sprinkle it with grinded paprika, mix in the letcho base and add as much water for it to be covered, salt it, pepper it and simmer until the meat has nearly become soft. (4) Add the vegetables cut into little pieces (celery and a whole kohlrabi) and add as much water as much soup you want to get, then spice it, and for flavouring add a small amount of ground cummin. Cook for about half an hour. (5) Clean the potatoes, cut them into pieces and add them to the soup. Cook it for about 15 minutes, then add a pinch of sugar and a tiny about of vinegar (it will not be sour!) and to enhance the taste, add some green spices. (5) After letting it brew for a short while, serve with bread or any pastry you wish.

Youtube how to cook goulash

2. Stuffed cabbage (Töltött káposzta)

While making stuffed cabbage we roll cabbage leaves around a minced meat filling. Adding minced pepper (paprika) to this dish is crucial to get the signature taste. It is usually served with sour cream on top.

 

3. Chicken paprikash (Paprikás csirke)

If you order chicken paprikash you will get chicken that is simmered in creamy paprika gravy. We always eat this dish with nokedli, a Hungarian pasta that is a dumpling-like boiled egg noodle.

Youtube making Chicken Paprikash

4. Fisherman’s soup (Halászlé)

This world-famous hot and spicy river fish soup is usually made of carp and is of course seasoned with paprika. Traditionally, the soup was prepared in kettles on open fire on the river banks by fishermen.

5. Gundel crepe (Gundel palacsinta)

This Hungarian version of crepe (“palacsinta” in Hungarian) is stuffed with mashed, creamy walnuts. We served this filled crepe covered in sweet chocolate sauce and sometimes we even flambé it.

Restaurants to Try

Budapest offers more than a thousand restaurants and other eateries for you to enjoy. You can literally find a restaurant in the city centre in almost every street. With so many restaurants in Budapest, choosing one is not an easy task.

The Hungarian kitchen is very simple. I can’t really find a good restaurant, even the Nobu isn’t good enough. But I remember, that when we were at Szilvásvárad the countryside chef was a lot better, than the city one.”Gérard Depardieu

Our capital has the advantage of offering good meals at affordable prices. As we know that a bad restaurant experience can ruin your whole visit, we would like to give you a hand with this using our local knowledge.

The most expensive restaurants don’t necessarily offer the best food in town, but there are many reasonably priced restaurants to get a bite at, you just have to find the right ones.


In case you are interested in trying out some restaurants with traditional Hungarian

cuisine, Progressive would like to suggest a few options for You.

Déryné

Déryné Bisztró has a fantastic atmosphere with live piano music and great, tasty food.

Déryné Bisztró

Menza
Menza restaurant, which is situated in the city centre, has a great design and offers authentic Hungarian dishes.

Menza

Macesz Bistro
Macesz Bistro has a very homey atmosphere and it is the best restaurant that offers both authentic Hungarian and Jewish dishes.

Macesz Bisztro

Alternative Food Revolution in Budapest

Although the traditional cuisine is typically rather heavy and meaty, lately there is an upsurge in the popularity of alternative, healthier diets, due to which there are more and more vegetarian, paleo and bio restaurants popping up in Budapest.


Vegetarian food-bars offer a range of salads, soups, sandwiches and of course meat-free main meals. Vegan restaurants are out there for those who wish to keep away from not only meat, but milk and dairy products out of their diets and of course none of them contain artificial colouring or preservatives, and also have options for those with celiachia.


There are even juice-bars as part of the new juice-craze! A real speciality are the cafés where you can eat cereal with homemade, preservative-free milk made from seeds.There are even special gluten-free restaurants! Also, a healthy lifestyle in Budapest is actually not a privilege for the rich; many of these restaurants are affordable!

Share this page:

More From Insights

This site uses cookies, read our policy here