There are many mouthwatering delicacies to try when sampling Hungarian food.

In fact, in 2016 Hungary won the Bocuse d’Or Europe, one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world.

Although some dishes might have mind boggling and incomprehensible names, we have prepared the following beginners guide to help you navigate the menu like a pro.


Of course we need to start with the most famous of all Hungarian dishes; gulyásleves or 'Goulash' as it has come to be known worldwide.

Despite many people thinking this dish is a rich meat stew, it is actually a soup, hence the term 'leves' which translates to English as 'soup'.

However, despite its name this most famous of Hungarian culinary dishes goes right back to the first tribes of the Magyar and traditionally includes meat and vegetables and of course...paprika.

The meat can be beef, pork, veal or lamb and there are many local variations to the recipe.


Now this is a Hungarian stew and its so popular here that there are many lecsó festivals held all over Hungary in the summer and around September where competitors see who can cook the best one.

It is basically a vegetable stew made with tomatoes and peppers and sometimes with some salami or bacon added too, but whether you have the vegetarian or meat option it is always absolutely delicious.

Again, the key special ingredient is paprika!


Yes, not necessarily Hungarian I agree but it's listed here because if you visit Hungary during the summer months, you absolutely must try out their ice cream.

There are quite a few ice cream parlours in Budapest offering great ice cream and other fantastic cakes and naughty treats.

In fact on May 8th each year, it's national ice cream day where ice cream is universally sold cheaper than normal. There are so many wonderful assortments to choose from too.

Why May 8th? Well, if you take the Latin numeral for '5' and then stick an '8' on top...what do you get? A ‘8>’ of course!


If you haven’t tried a langos when you visit Hungary, then you haven’t really tasted Hungary.

This street food is basically fried dough with a cheese and sour cream topping.

If ever you find yourself starving hungry, after one of these monsters you probably won't feel much like eating again in a hurry!

Check out the first floor of the Great Market Hall in Budapest which sells street food and other Hungarian foodstuffs including great langos for a real taste of Hungary.


Pálinka is the nation’s favourite spirit, it is a fruit brandy unique to Hungary but similar to schnapps.

Some older Hungarians drink this every day just for medicinal purposes, and if you have flu or a cold in Hungary you are often told the best cure is some meat soup and a shot of pálinka.

In rural Hungary many people still make this beverage themselves and will offer you a glass when you are invited into their home.

But be careful, it can be up to and over 50 plus percent proof!

There are some excellent pálinkas on sale to try in Budapest and almost everywhere will sell it, and if you get a taste for it, you can even go to the pálinka festival which is held at Buda Castle every year.


Another national 'medicinal' drink, but just because it is made with herbs and spices, don't let its potency fool you.

This liqueur is sometimes drunk as an aperitif and is apparently made with an age old secret recipe.

You cannot miss the cleverly designed bottle either.


Ah! The famous Tokaji aszú!

This special wine was given as a gift to the French King Louis XIV by Francis Rákóczi II, Prince of Transylvania.

Louis XIV went on to become a big fan of the beverage and notably offered a glass to Madame de Pompadour whilst famously referring to it as ‘wine of kings, king of wines’.

The Latin maxim of this phrase 'Vinum regum, rex vinorum’ still appears on Tokaji wines of a certain high quality to this very day.


There is no such thing as a Hungarian home that doesn’t have two ingredients, the first of course is paprika, the second is tejföl (actually I nearly forgot a third one; the obligatory home made pálinka!).

Anyway, this sour cream is coupled with just about everything.

Hungarians love it, and you will too after you have had it on every single thing you eat.

So there you have it; a brief guide which should help you navigate the wonderful taste adventure that is Hungarian dining.

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