Does something come to your mind when you think of Hungarian food? Goulash, maybe? We're coming out to Hungary soon and not sure where to really start? Well, you'll want to starve in Hungary. 😉
With plates full of paprika, bay leaves, onions, cumin, coriander and other spices, once you try your first bite, you'll never want to stop eating. While exploring Budapest, I got to try some of Hungary's best deals … and my goodness!
Let's dig in and explore 10 local foods to try in Hungary!
Gulyas or goulash is easily the most popular Hungarian dish, in fact, it is one of the national dishes of the country! The dish is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables that is usually seasoned with paprika and other spices. It's the perfect meal for a cold Hungarian day.
If you are looking to immerse yourself in a real paprika dish, this is the one for you.
Named for the spice commonly used in the country, this dish consists of chicken covered in paprika sauce along with a sweet or sour cream. Also known as paprikash chicken, it is a chicken dish served with pasta-like boiled egg pasta aka nokedli.
Sometimes known as chimney cakes, these cakes are a sweet, cylindrical spiral-shaped dough that is baked on charcoal before being coated with powdered sugar, cocoa, nuts, coconut or cinnamon. This unique pastry is very popular in weddings and Christmas markets.
Halászlé Fisherman's Soup is a hot river fish based on paprika or carp soup. With the rich amount of paprika used, it is undoubtedly one of the hottest dishes from Europe.
What would be a trip to Hungary without a hitch?
Retes are turn-based pastries filled with apple or cherry sugar. This Hungarian cake is just the right amount of sweetness and is used at every holiday in the Hungarian plains.
Langos is a common street food found in Hungary. Deep fried dough is similar to pizza except that it is fried in oil instead of baked. Many people choose to add sour cream, yogurt or mashed potatoes to the dough to create different variations. It can be filled with sour cream and cheese or just plain garlic and butter.
This classic Hungarian dessert is a sponge cake consisting of several layers of cake and cream that is then filled with raisins and infused with either rum or sweet wine. The traditional way to present this dish is to roll three balls of cake into one plate and then garnish with whipped cream and some chocolate sauce.
Crepes are extremely popular throughout Europe and are no different in Hungary.
Palacsinta (or palatschinke) is a thin hanger similar to the French crepe. They are traditionally wrapped in apricot, strawberry or plum jam and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can also find variations with Nutella, apple sauce or thick fruit jam.
There is an old saying in Hungary dating back to the 17th or 18th century- "Meat and cabbage is the hallmark of Hungary "and there is a good chance we are talking about this stuffed cabbage dish.
Although this saying is no longer used, it is still valid. Cabbage rolls are one of the country's national dishes and are served to the rich and poor. The cabbage is stuffed with a blend of tasty onions, pork, rice and plenty of spices and made with sour cream.
If you're a pasta lover like me, you'll love Turos Csusza. Consisting of homemade pasta, crushed cheese, crispy bacon and sour cream, these cheese pastas are the ultimate comfort food.
How does the frozen sour cream soup sound like an appetizer or dessert? On hot summer nights, Hungarians enjoy Meggyleves to help cool down. Whether you choose to drink this before the main entrance or after a great meal, you should not miss the sour soup!
Hungarians take their dessert very seriously and as they wander the streets, we are likely to find bakeries full of small pieces of cream and layered pastries. Other popular ones I didn't mention earlier include Dobostorta, Gerbeaud Slice and Esterhazy Cake (to name just a few!).
Putting this list together already has water in my mouth and I'm ready to book another trip to Budapest! Do you have any favorite Hungarian food?
Recommended food excursions in Hungary