Top 10 Hungarian Foods to Try in Budapest

hungarian_sausage

Budapest – the city of spas, thermal pools, and ‘ruin pubs’.  And of course, there’s always the Danube and Parliament building; many tourists flock to the city for these. 

Despite all of Budapest’s historical and cultural charm, the city – and Hungary as a whole – also has an array of delicious, traditional Hungarian foods. 

So, make sure to try some (or all!) of these sweet and savoury delights the next time you’re in Budapest!

Recommended: Discover everything about Hungarian Currency and tips on how to use it in Budapest.


Paprikás Csirke -- Chicken paprika

When we think of Hungarian food, images of meat, bread, and lots of paprika come to mind – Hungarians sure love their paprika!

So while you’re visiting Budapest, why not try a plate of flavourful chicken paprika?

This is tender chicken bathed in creamy paprika sauce and accompanied by onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and topped with sour cream and parsley. It is traditionally served with nokedli, Hungarian egg noodles.

Where to get it:

As one of Hungary’s main dishes, you can find chicken paprika (also called paprikash) at most restaurants in Budapest, but a good place to try it is at:

Named after the dish itself, Paprika Vendéglő shouldn’t disappoint.

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Address: Dózsa György út 72, Budapest, 1071, Hungary

Opening Hours: Monday -- Sunday: 12.00 -- 23.00

ratings_reviews_paprika_vendeglo_budapest

Halászlé -- Fisherman’s soup

Halászlé is a must for those of you pescatarians out there! And it’s great for people who love seafood as well. Consisting of fresh river fish, such as carp or catfish, this is essentially a soupy version of fish paprikash with a generous amount of paprika. As Hungary is a landlocked country, it’s no surprise that seafood is not widely consumed there, but this is one of the country’s best traditional fish dishes.

Where to get it:

While beef, pork, and chicken dishes are a lot more popular in the country, you can try fisherman’s soup at this eatery in Budapest: Bajai Halaszcsarda.

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Hollós út 2, Budapest, 1121, Hungary


Gulyás -- Goulash

Okay, here we are… introducing Hungary’s most famous national dish! Goulash is a soup or stew with meat – traditionally beef, but pork or chicken is sometimes used – with vegetables and lots of paprika (no surprise there!). It is a rich, kettle-cooked, hearty stew that originated from medieval Hungary and is now also commonly consumed in Central Europe, including the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria. There are many variations of goulash, with all kinds of meat and vegetables being used, such as mutton, potatoes, leek, and carrots, and more water or broth added to make it more soupy. Pasta noodles are sometimes added to the soup as well.

Where to get it:

As Hungary’s national dish, you can find goulash pretty much anywhere all year round, and there are many places that serve good goulash. This stew is especially enjoyed in the winter for its warmth and heartiness. But a great place to drink this delicious soup in Budapest is at Gettó Gulyás

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Wesselényi út 18, Budapest, 1077, Hungary


Kolbász -- Hungarian sausage

Hungary has their own sausage that they call kolbász. As a big meat-eating nation, sausages are very commonly consumed in the country and there are many different types of Hungarian sausages, including gyulai kolbász (wood-smoked sausage), csabai kolbász (spicy sausage) hazi kolbász (fresh, unsmoked sausage), and száraz kolbász (dried or smoked sausage). Gyulai and Csabai sausages are the most popular and well-known Hungarian sausages, and they both have a smoky, savoury flavour, with csabai being somewhat spicier than gyulas.

hungarian_sausage_kolbasz

Where to get it:

You can buy (and try) these sausages at Central Market Hall, which offers the wide variety of other local foods such, souvenirs, handmade products and more.

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Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093


Főzelék -- Vegetable stew

What’s this – Hungary has an all-veggie dish? Yesssss… Vegetarians rejoice! Like goulash minus the meat, Főzelék is a thick stew made with all kinds of vegetables, including carrots, peas, potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, lentils, the list goes on. Tomatoes, lemon juice, and of course paprika are added for taste, and the stew is thickened with flour and sour cream. Add leeks and squash for a seasonal variation. A good way to get your veggie intake in for the day!

Where to get it:

While főzelék is often home-cooked due to its practicality, low cost of ingredients, and easiness to make, you can find it in Budapest at Főzelékfaló ételbár

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Nagymező u. 18, Budapest, 1065, Hungary


Lángos – Deep fried dough

A popular street food in Hungary, lángos is a dense, deep fried flat bread that comes with many different toppings. The most common ones are cheese, sour cream, and sausages. This carb-heavy and very filling snack can be found at street vendors or in any of Budapest’s many markets. Lángos is quite popular during Christmas as a street snack, but it can be eaten all year round.

Where to get it:

As mentioned, you can find lángos at one of Budapest’s many street vendors, stalls or markets. A notable place to try lángos in the city would be Langos Papa.


Kifli -- Hungarian croissant

Ahhh, the classic croissant (with a Hungarian twist, of course). Soft baked, warm crispy on the outside, soft on the inside dough. This is not exclusive to Hungary, of course, but kifli are different than the croissants you get from say, Austria or France. Hungarian croissants are made of fresh yeast and can be left plain or brushed with egg to give it that shiny appearance. They come in many shapes and sizes, and some have sprinkles of seeds or powdered sugar on them. A versatile food, kifli can be served for breakfast – often with fruit jam, or lunch with cold cuts or smoked meat, veggies, and cheese.

hungarian_croissant_kifli

Hungarian Croissant stuffed with curd | © Ildiko Mag/Pinterest

Where to get it:

You can find kifli at pretty much any bakery or market in Budapest, as this type of pastry is very popular among locals, but here’s a great place to try them in the city -- Kifli és Kocsma

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Rezeda u. 1, Budapest, 1028, Hungary


Palacsinta -- Hungarian crepe

Continuing the search for yummy baked goods, Hungary also has its own version of the famous crepe – Palacsinta.  Like kifli, palacsinta can be eaten for breakfast or lunch, and can be sweet or savoury, depending on the fillings and toppings used. The most common versions are filled with fruit jam, powdered with chocolate sauce, or filled with cheese, veggies, spices, and meats. They are often eaten with fruits on the side for breakfast or dessert.


Kürtőskalács -- Chimney cake

Of all the long, difficult-to-pronounce and often impossible to spell words in Hungarian, kürtőskalács definitely takes the cake (haha get it – it actually is a cake)! Kürtőskalács are a sweet, sometimes long, cylinder-shaped, funnel-like cake baked over charcoal and coated with powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate, ground walnut, and other toppings. Besides Hungary, it’s also a popular snack in Romania, where it is said to have originated in the region of Transylvania.

chimney_cake_budapest

Dobos torta – Sponge cake

Named after the man who created it, the great Hungarian pastry chef József C. Dobo, dobos torte or torta in Hungarian,is a sponge cake topped with several layers of decadent chocolate buttercream and caramel.

The traditional recipe consists of six  layers of buttery sponge cake, five layers of chocolate butter cream, and a layer of glistening caramel to top it all off.

Dobo introduced this cake to the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885, and the rest is history. Now found and consumed in many variations around the world, we all have Mr. Dobo to thank for his timeless chocolate buttercream recipe. Or should we call it a piece of heaven?

dobos_cake_budapest

Dobos torta is the real gem of Cafe Gerbaud | © Savannah Grandfather/WikiCommons

Where to get it:

Indulge and delight in dobos torta at Budapest’s famous Café Gerbeaud

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Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051


More Hungarian foods:

Don’t forget these other notable Hungarian foods and drinks that you can easily find in Budapest:

Lecsó

Pretty much a Hungarian ratatouille, this is a vegetable stew with bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and whatever else you’d like to add. It can also be served with egg or sausage for some added protein.

Töltött paprika

Hungarian style bell pepper stuffed with rice, onions, salt, ground black pepper, ground paprika, parsley, and other herbs. They may also contain mushrooms, cabbage, and meat.

Töltött káposzta

Stuffed cabbage rolls with minced pork, paprika, rice, eggs, and a generous heaping of sour cream. These are generally served during Christmas and New Year’s, but are available year-round as a sweet dish in the summer and fall and a sour dish (from the sauerkraut cabbage served), in the winter and spring.

Rakott krumpli

Potato-based gratin with layers of sliced potatoes, sour cream, and sausages baked in a casserole dish. The ultimate comfort food!

Rántott sajt

Breaded, deep fried cheese. Need to say more?

Nokedli

A Hungarian staple food that consists of egg dumplings; often served with goulash or chicken paprikash

Pálinka

Oh yes, who can forget Hungarian liquor? Pálinka is a strong fruit brandy, often made from distilled apricots, plums, cherries, apples, or pears. A shot a day will (maybe) keep the doctor away!

palinka_budapest

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