So, as you probably gathered, we just got back from a weekend in Budapest.
This was my first experience of Hungarian food and of Hungary in general, and on the whole it built upon my experiences of Germany, particularly in terms of the language and food. While I’m still not loving the German and Hungarian tradition of eating cold cuts and cheese at breakfast, just what were my favourite dishes? And what do I look forward to trying in future?
1. Goulash. This is probably Hungary’s best-known culinary export, and this isn’t without good reason. The combination of meat, potatoes, vegetables and broth could be so dull, but when done well, it’s comforting, flavourful and varied in both taste and texture. We sampled this on our first night in Budapest.
2. Lecso (pronounced letch-o). Basically the Hungarian version of ratatouille, this looks to me like a healthy and slightly different way to jazz up evening meals. The vegetable basis consists mainly of tomatoes, red peppers and green peppers, instead of the courgettes used in the French variant, and naturally, being Hungarian, it uses plenty of paprika. Him indoors had this on night 2 of our stay.
3. Libamájpástétom (pronounced God knows how). This is the Hungarian word for foie gras, made with goose liver, which can be served either fried or in the form of a pâté. My husband and I are big fans (he of the fried version, I of the pâté), but needless to say, this is definitely in treat territory. Hubby enjoyed it fried-style as part of Sunday lunch last weekend.
4. Pancakes. Do the Hungarians EVER love their pancakes! We sampled Kaiserschmarrn, which is a crispy pancake served with jam or fruit compote, popular in several countries (including Austria and Germany). However, we could have also tried many other kinds in Budapest, including palacsinta (filled with walnuts, raisins, candied orange, rum, and hot chocolate sauce) and the savoury version thereof, hortobagyi palacsinta (which is filled with meat, usually minced veal or perhaps Hungarian sausage).
5. Dobos torta. Named after confectioner Jozsef Dobos, this cake is similar to a French Opéra cake, with its many thin layers of sponge cake and deliciously fine chocolate and nut filling, topped with a layer of icing. Simply a MUST TRY if you are ever in Hungary. Not sure if it is a MUST ATTEMPT though, given the mess that would surely result…
Needless to say, we will definitely be going back to Budapest. We only had positive experiences with the food and hospitality that we were lucky enough to enjoy, and if you have any Hungarian faves that you want to share, don’t hesitate.