Most of the people associate Hungarian cuisine with paprika and Goulash. Well, definitely Goulash is the most famous dish and we use paprika a lot but our kitchen is much more diverse. So let me guide you through the most basic elements of our gastronomy!
The traditional Hungarian dishes are based on meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, fresh bread, dairy products and honey. The most used meat is pork which leads actually back to the 16-17th century when Hungary was part of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish took all the domestic animals except the pigs because of their religion. Almost all the dishes are really spicy due to the use of the paprika spice, which can be hot or sweet paprika. The other crucial ingredient is the onion, any kind (yellow or lard onion and garlic) and any amount. There are a lot of other spices we use a lot (like pepper, bay leaf or marjoram) but you can’t miss the paprika and onion. So let’s see what dishes we have.
The most common soups are the Goulash soup (obviously), the fish soup and the clear chicken soup (which for a change doesn’t contain paprika spice :)). One of the most famous and my personal favorite main course is the Pörkölt with nokedli which is basically a meat stew, similar to a ragu. Then there are all the stuffed meals such as the stuffed cabbage or stuffed fed pepper, all very delicious. We shouldn’t forget about the Schnitzel which comes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is a very typical Sunday lunch course. And if we are already talking about Sunday, you can’t have a proper lunch without dessert. We eat a lot of pancakes in many varieties but definitely the most traditional is the Gundel palacsinta which stuffed with walnuts and served in chocolate sauce, often flambéed. Many European countries consider strudel their own sweet, so the Hungarians 🙂 It is also very typical sweet, you can buy strudel at every corner. You might have heard about the Dobos Cake which is a sponge cake layered with chocolate paste and glazed with caramel and nuts, super delicious too!
Well, I could keep writing about all the other meals like the sausages or the Lángos, not to mention the drinks, but I keep them for the next time. I hope you got motivated to try one of our traditional dishes. I hope you will like it! Enjoy! Or as we say it: Jó étvágyat! 🙂