As I mentioned in a previous post, in a few weeks I’m making a trip to Central and Eastern Europe. I still don’t know where to stay in Budapest but I’m so excited about the idea that I can’t stop searching for useful information about the countries I’ll be visiting. Therefore some weeks ago I searched I discovered Budapest has great food markets where the locals usually do their shopping. But what I didn’t know yet was which were the typical foods of the country, the ones Hungarians buy in their markets and the ones I have to try while there. Until now.
Hungarian cuisine has lots of food and beverage specialties which receive the name of Hungarikum, which means they are typical from the country. Some of them are:
Paprika is without a doubt the symbol of Hungary’s cuisine. Its pungency ranges from sweet to mildly hot and very hot, depending on the type of pepper the powder was produced. The colour of the spices also varies from mild to bright red, although there are also paprika powder types with brownish colour. You can buy it in various packaging, even in neat gift boxes to take it home as a souvenir.
Goose liver pâté
Hungary is the world’s second-largest foie gras producer (after France), and the largest exporter. Goose liver pâté is one of the best known gourmet products of Hungary and an interesting alternative to the better-known French version. Thinly sliced and served with fresh toast, it looks amazing. They recommend the Pick brand.
The Hungarian salami is a unique sausage which is smoked and has white mould. The best ones are Pick salamis, which can be found in every Budapest market, nicely hanged at butcher’s counters.
The most famous are Tokaji Aszú, a sweet dessert wine, and Egri Bikavér, a dry red wine. There are other great but lesser known Hungarian wines that are also worth checking out. Hungarian wines can be bought in any of the Budapest markets or in one of the numerous wine shops in Budapest, but you can also discover them in one the wine tastings the Historic Faust Wine Cellar in Buda Castle offers.
Palinka is a traditional fruit brandy, revered for its punch, flavour and fragrance. It can be drunk before or after a meal, but some suggest enjoying it after a meal as a digestive. Palinka can be purchased throughout Hungary and ordered at restaurants, but they recommend savouring it in one of the Pálinka & Chocolate or Palinka & Hungarian Sausage Tastings in BARbár Cafe.
They say Hungarian fruits taste delicious and that their dried versions conserve and enhance their flavours. They are healthy snacks on their own but they can also be put in pastries. In the Budapest markets, vendors sell them by the kilo.
Hungarians are real experts in making savoury pickles, as gherkins, onions, sweet and chilli peppers, tomatoes, cauliflowers, etc., jammed in spicy, pickled juice. They are perfect appetizers, although Hungarians also usa them with meat dishes. The best places to buy them are the markets, where vendors sell them by the kilo.
Even if you don’t buy any of these specialties you can’t leave Budapest markets without giving a try to the most famous Hungarian snack: the lángos, a yeast-based dough fried in oil and topped with sour cream and cheese. I can’t wait to be in Budapest just to try one of those!
About the author
Marta Mir has a degree in Journalism. But tired of listening to the stories of politicians in power she decided to flee to distant lands to, like the ancient troubadours, come back and tell her own stories. Now she has less money but is much happier.
How about you? Have you ever tried any of these Hungarian food delights?