National food and drink

Perhaps I’m not exaggerating when I say that anywhere you go in this world, as soon as they find out you’re Hungarian, the first word out of your mouth is Gulyás. This dish is one of the greatest Hungarians, but I wonder what this soup is so famous for. Let’s start with its origins, but unfortunately its exact background is still shrouded in mystery to this day. It is said to have originated in the Great Plain, named after the man who guarded the grey cattle. It is considered a peasant dish, and used to be cooked in a pot. Basically it belongs to the family of stews, because it is based on stewed beef, which nowadays can be pork, and an onion and lechon base with red pepper, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper, potatoes, carrots and liquorice. The saying goes: “There are customs in every place. It’s no different with our national dishes: there is fake goulash (madewithout meat), bean goulash, potato goulash.

Traditional goulash soup

The next Hungarian dish to highlight is the famous fish soup from Szeged and Baja. If you go on a trip to these places, it is definitely worth a taste. We use lecho as a base here too, green pepper, red onion, tomato. The fish soup is made from carp, with different parts of the carp, fish milk, fish eggs and different kinds of fish to make it taste better. The crowning glory of the dish is the quality red pepper, which gives it a beautiful red colour.

Fish soup of Szeged

Hungarian cuisine is not known for its healthy trend, we have heavy, fatty foods. Our ancestors were fond of using fat for cooking and frying. What we also use for everything is sour cream. When I moved to Italy, I missed the Hungarian flavours, I thought you can get everything here in the same way, there is not much distance between the two countries. Unfortunately I had to realise, after all the shops I checked, that you can’t get it here. Many places do not know about this great supplement that we Hungarians can eat with anything. For cabbage dishes, soups, with pasta, in cakes, on top of scones, sweet and savoury, in short, with everything. When making salads, we make a vinegar-sugar base juice, for example for cucumber salad, lettuce salad.

Among the sweets, I would like to mention the Somló dumplings, one of my favourites, which I would like to mention quietly, but my mother prepares them in a divine way. The origins of the cake come from the head waiter of the Gundel restaurant, named after the Somlyó hill in Fót. Sponge cake dough, chocolate sauce, whipped cream. These three ingredients together make a brilliant combination.

Somló dumplings

But enough of the food, we have our national drink. Hungarian pálinka is also quite renowned in our country and beyond. It used to be used as a medicine and for disinfection, and later it developed into a national essence. Today we still use it as a medicine, it mainly comes from our ancestors, if you feel you have got something wrong, just drink a pálinka and it will make you feel better. At the same time, it was also used as an appetising aperitif by our grandparents, which is still the case today. The spirit is made from fruit, the most common being plums, peaches and forest fruits. We also have a saying about brandy: “Medicine in small measure, remedy in large measure “

Brandy made from plums


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