Before visiting the captivating city of Budapest I had researched very little into traditional Hungarian food and had no idea what we could expect from the city. The first time we visited was very hit and miss when it came to meals as we had made absolutely no plans on where to eat and had not looked at any recommendations. We headed to the Great Market Hall where we started to get a real feel for what Hungarian cuisine is all about. Everything from traditional spicy, rich stews to sweet jam filled strudels, you’ll find something for the most discerning palette and sweetest tooth. If you`re heading to the city for a long weekend and fancy dining like a local then make sure you don’t miss out and try some of these classic Hungarian dishes!
If there is one thing that Hungarians love its paprika. You won’t find a menu that doesn’t feature a paprika smothered item and they even have a dedicated souvenir shop in the centre of the city. One of the most famous Hungarian dishes is chicken cooked with lashings of paprika and served with spätzle which is a dumpling style pasta.
KOLBÁSZ (HUNGARIAN SAUSAGE)
There are so many different types of Hungarian sausage including cooked, boiled, cured or smoked. They feature in all three meals throughout the day but you’ll often find them in stews and soups. If you fancy trying cold cuts then head to the Great Market Hall where if you head upstairs you’ll find stores filled with a variety for you to sample.
A rich hearty stew of slow cooked beef, veg and paprika broth, Goulash is another traditional dish you will find all over the city. Look for places that serve this in a giant bread roll with the insides hollowed out and filled with this piping hot stew. Often you’ll find this stew is cooked in cauldrons or kettles over open fires as herdsmen would have done many moons ago. This is considered the most authentic way to cook a goulash and many places will only use this method.
The ultimate street food of Budapest you will find Lagos pretty much wherever you go in the city. A deep fried flat dough which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with very little excess oil. Traditionally lagos is served with sour cream and cheese but you can chose from a wide range of toppings including savoury and sweet. I of course opted for nutella during our pre Buda tour and was not disappointed!
CHIMNEY CAKE (KÜRTÖSKALÁCS)
Long strips of sugary dough are wrapped around a cone shaped spit and roasted over charcoals. They are brushed with butter which caramelises to form a shiny, crispy crust. Once cooked the spit is removed and steam is released from the centre of the cone like a chimney. You’ll find these on every corner during the colder months and the warm, buttery dough will certainly do the trick at warming your cold bones. Opt to try a simple coating of cinnamon or ground walnuts.
The coffee shops in Budapest form part of the history and if you look hard enough you’ll find some intricately decorated delights scattered throughout the city serving sweet treats. A must try is the Dobos torte featuring layers of chocolate buttercream between thin sponge cake topped with glossy caramel. Alternatively opt for the traditional Hungarian Jewish cake Flodni which you will struggle to find outside of the Jewish quarter.
At the corner of St Stephen’s Basilica you’ll find Gelato Rosa serving up authentic Italian gelato in these delightful rose shapes.There is nearly always a line but they work quickly and as you move along the counter you can watch as they make each edible masterpiece. All the ice cream sold is made on the premises using traditional Italian techniques and they serve a range of flavours including lavender white chocolate, basil lemon, pistachio and variety of sorbets.