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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

The National Cuisine of Hungary

When visiting the country of Hungary, you owe it to yourself to experience at least a few of the traditional Hungarian dishes. The cuisine of this country is heavily influenced by the Magyars, which is one of the country's primary ethnic groups. You'll find that the traditional dishes are steeped in years of tradition. The recipes are based on the same traditions and methods that have been used in this country for centuries. Here is just a taste of what you'll experience when sampling Hungary's traditional dishes.

Soups and Stews

When visiting Hungary, most people generally notice a predominance of soups and stews. These dishes are quite common in Hungary, and can be a tasty part of your visit to the country. You can enjoy vegetable stews, meat stews, and even some delicious cold fruit soups. It's also common to find various types of meats combined together in a single dish.


Of course, you'll have to try the Hungarian sausage or the winter salami during your visit. But in addition to the sausages, you'll also find that beef, pork, poultry, game and mutton are commonly used in Hungarian dishes. You'll find meat used in stuffed cabbage and stuffed peppers, and of course in goulash. Potatoes, dumplings, noodles and rice often accompany the meat dishes.


Hungarian dishes are often quite spicy, thanks to the liberal usage of food items such as hot peppers and hot paprika. However, it's important to note that spicy doesn't always mean "hot" when it comes to Hungarian food. You'll frequently find that hot or mild paprika is combined with onions in many traditional dishes. Onions are a staple in Hungarian cooking, and can be found prepared in many different ways, such as seared, sweated, caramelized or raw. A traditional thick sour cream is also quite prevalent in Hungarian cooking. Other spices that one can expect to find predominantly in Hungarian dishes include black and white peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, juniper berries, caraway, thyme, dill, mustard and tarragon, among others. Overall, the flavor profile of traditional Hungarian dishes is spicy, interesting and absolutely delicious.

Meals in Hungary

When visiting Hungary, you'll notice that most people place greater importance on lunch as opposed to dinner. Lunch is generally the main meal of the day for most, and it's not uncommon to have the meal consist of several courses. There may be hot or cold appetizers and then soup served before the main course arrives. You might be surprised to find that pancakes are often served as a main dish, and are not reserved for breakfast. The main dish might be a savory meat course served with a salad, or even a pastry dish with a sweet touch. After the main course, dessert is served, which is sometimes followed up with fruit.

Breakfast and lunch are generally simpler meals in Hungary. Breakfast foods include coffee, tea or milk served with a bun or pastry, or perhaps fruit and muesli cereal. Dinner is generally a lighter one-course meal, perhaps including a sandwich, meat dish or yogurt. So, if you're looking for a chance to sample Hungarian food at its finest, lunch is definitely the best time to do so.

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