City guide

Never mind the calories! – Have lunch in Hungary

Photo : Juhász Norbert - We Love Budapest
Never mind the calories! - Have lunch in Hungary

The nomadic lifestyle is over. We can”t see the cauldrons, filled with boiling goulash, hanging over the campfire anymore. It all moved inside the houses, on top of the modern stoves and the traditional Hungarian foods got flavored with new spices from all over the world. However, the essence remained the same. The virtue of the Hungarian past can still be discovered on every plate in the form of playful and passionate tastes. So get prepared, undo your buttons on your jeans and have lunch in Hungary!

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest
Halászlé: Fishermen’s soup is paprika and fish based food with lots of spices. The attractive red and hot liquid is a must-eat for those who like fish. The tastes might differ according to the region but the experience is always stunning.

Húsleves: It means meat soup. It’s one of the most common foods in Hungary that normally grandmas make for their grandchildren who come to visit on a foggy Sunday afternoon. Normally it’s made of chicken and vegetables like carrots, and peas but it can contain basically anything that granny has in the fridge.

Hideg meggyleves: Sour cherry soup is made and served cold. It’s a sweat soup with lots of sugar, whipped cream and, of course, sour cherries. It’s a special course because it can be eaten both as an appetizer or a desert. It is mainly consumed in the summer.

Photo: Juhász Norbert - We Love Budapest
Main dishes
Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Főzelék: Literally means something that has been cooked. The vegetable stew-like food is a typical home made food in Hungary. It’s a very simple dish, normally eaten as the main course with bacon, or sausages on top. Unfortunately they rarely appear on restaurant menus, but it’s definitely worth trying.

Töltött káposzta: Cabbage roll is one of the most popular foods in Hungary. The cooked cabbage leaves are normally sour and are wrapped around different kinds of fillings, normally made of beef, pork and rice flavored with garlic and other spices. Once the rolls are ready, the whole thing is cooked.

Lecsó: The thick stew made of onions, pepper and tomatoes with salt and red paprika has already spread all over the world. And it is no surprise, because lecsó is easy to make but in the same time very tasty and filling. The best thing about it is that anyone can add anything to the traditional lecsó base, in order to make it unique. Everyone does it a little bit differently and we like it every time. We love it with some eggs.

Pörkölt: It looks almost like goulash and may even have a similar taste, but the two should not be confused. Pörkölt is not a soup but a thick meat stew with boneless beef, chicken, lamb or pork, onions, sweet paprika and some vegetables. Of course, the most important spice is paprika powder that defines the taste of pörkölt. It can be eaten with rice, potatoes but it can also be considered a complete meal with only some bread and salad.

Paprikás csirke: It’s one of the most popular Hungarian foods. Chicken paprikash is basically chicken, cooked in creamy bell pepper stew, with onions, butter, garlic and/or tomatoes. It’s a tasty and filling dish, normally served with egg-noodles but it goes well with rice or potatoes as well.

Photo: We Love Budapest

Bejgli: It’s normally eaten on Easter and Christmas, but a real bejgli fan cannot get enough of these magical sweet rolls. In most cases two kinds of bejglis are made: one with minced walnut filling and another one with a special filling made of poppy seed.

Szilvásgombóc: The famous plum-ball can also be eaten as a main course after the soup but we prefer to consider it a yummy surprise after cleaning our plates completely. The balls can be made of old bread, flour and potatoes with a plum in the middle topped with cinnamon sugar.

Kürtőskalács: Chimney cake is originally from Transylvania but it’s also very popular in Budapest. There are no festivals or outdoor events without a kürtőskalács stand and we are all happy for that. It’s made of a think ribbon-like pastry rolled up around a wooden cylinder, then cooked and sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon.

Dobos torta: One of the most common cakes in confectionaries is Dobos cake. It’s a 5-layer sponge cake with chocolate buttercream between the layers and a caramel slice on top.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest