Hungarian food is a unique cuisine, and the best place to sample it on river cruises is Budapest. Famously spiced with paprika, this sweet seasoning gives the city’s must-try dishes a characteristic flavour you’ll be dying to recreate at home.
Not sure what to eat in Budapest? Start your culinary journey with these six Hungarian favourites.
Probably the most famous dish in Budapest, goulash (or gulyás) is a delicious stew that is particularly good at staving off the cold during Danube river cruises in the wintertime. Slow-cooked beef, tender vegetables and paprika broth work in perfect harmony to create the ultimate comfort food, especially when accompanied by a little added sauerkraut.
Particularly popular during Hungarian summers, lecsó is another example of the Hungarians’ talent for stews. It is essentially vegetable soup with an edge; a thick, stewy mix of green and red peppers, tomatoes, onions, lard and paprika. Lecsó is a great side dish but also makes for a hearty dinner when served with rice, Hungarian sausage (kolbász) or a fried egg.
Speaking of Hungarian sausage, this isn’t a mere accompaniment to another dish. These delicious sausages come from all over Hungary, each with their own distinct recipe and taste. In fact, they could contain anything from bacon to pork, beef or lamb, seasoned with paprika, garlic, pepper and nutmeg.
Fisherman’s soup, or halászlé, is something of a national dish. Traditionally cooked in a kettle over an open fire, fisherman’s soup usually contains a mix of freshly-caught fish such as carp, catfish and perch. Of course, it is cooked with plenty of paprika to give it that characteristic red colour, and can be made with thick pasta for a heartier meal.
If you still aren’t sure what to eat in Budapest, try chicken paprikash. Known locally as paprikás csirke, this creamy soup is packed with vegetables, paprika and unbelievably tender stewed chicken leg. If you really want to give this crowd-pleaser a kick, however, ask your waiter for some tejföl sour cream, a Hungarian favourite that is used to top virtually everything!
You haven’t tried cake until you have sampled a big slice of dobos torte. This layered sponge has been enshrined in Hungarian history, incorporating a tantalising mix of chocolate buttercream and caramel that will have you craving another helping for the remainder of your river cruise.
Have you tried any of these Hungarian specialities during a river cruise to Budapest? Let us know what you thought using the comment box, below.