12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Savoring typical Hungarian food means getting to know a cuisine that is rich and extravagant in flavor. I'm sure you will fall in love with many of them when visiting restaurants in Budapest or other tourist cities.

During the first few days of my trip to Hungary, I ended up eating a lot of sandwiches and dishes that are common anywhere in the world.

But after trying some of the typical Hungarian food, with each passing day there was a new discovery of flavors, which was worth a travel experience. Result: I never saw an ordinary sandwich in front of me again until I left the country!

By reading this article, you will know what Goulash is made from, the most popular typical dish in the country and known worldwide; in addition to a complete list to know what to eat in Hungary and try this very particular cuisine, which is part of the tradition and culture of this country in Eastern Europe.

Take advantage of this article and get your mouth watering when you discover the best typical food in Hungary!

Typical Hungarian foods to try

  1. Goulash
  2. Langos
  3. Fish soup
  4. Ratatouille
  5. Roasted
  6. Vegetables
  7. Paprika Chicken
  8. Stuffed Cabbage
  9. Somló dumplings
  10. Drum cake
  11. Cherry soup
  12. Strudel

what to eat in hungary

Hungary is a country very rich in history and culture and its cuisine is no different. It has been developed over thousands of years of history and its dishes carry an ancient cultural heritage.

In Hungarian cuisine, you will find influences from all over Europe: Austrian, Turkish, Slavic, Jewish among other cultures; they bring a mixture of flavors that goes well with the well-known concept of comfort food (tasty and warming).


When you are in Hungary, you will see that the dishes are very complete, well served and the basis of Hungarian food are stews and soups, which can be found in practically every budapest restaurants.

Soup is a common way to start a meal as a typical starter. Bread, potatoes and pasta also accompany some dishes, making cooking even a little heavy compared to other European cuisines.

As appetizers, you will find sausages, spicy salamis, stuffed cabbages and various types of pickles. Hungarian jams are also of great quality and worth trying, especially for breakfast.

And of course I also cannot fail to mention paprika, which is certainly the most used ingredient in most typical Hungarian foods. In its sweet and spicy versions, it is a sure presence in Hungarian recipes.

And that's no wonder, as Hungary is the largest producer and consumer of paprika in the world, which also makes the spice an excellent travel souvenir to take home from the country when shopping in Budapest.

Last but not least, sweets cannot be left out of this list. The traditional Hungarian cakes are to be eaten with the eyes and the traditional strudel also has its Hungarian version, making you find large and beautiful plates of typical sweets that are worth every calorie.

1. Goulash

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Goulash is the main dish typical of Hungary.

Considered the country's most typical dish, Goulash is one of those typical Hungarian foods that you need to try in its original version during a trip to the country.

the goulash is made from stew with meat, potatoes, carrots, spices and lots of paprika; reason why the dish has a strong and beautiful color.

Traditionally, it's a well-seasoned stew cooked for hours in outdoor pots, intensifying its strong, spicy flavor. You can find different versions of Goulash in different cities of hungary, but the base and taste do not change dramatically.


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Meat is one of the elements that can vary in the recipe, since in addition to beef, it is not uncommon to find versions with pork and chicken. Due to the popularity of the dish, it also it is possible to find vegetarian versions in local restaurants, especially in the capital.

During your trip, you'll find that it doesn't take any work to look for the traditional Goulash, because it's practically mandatory that all Hungarian restaurants have some version of it on their menu!

But of course, if you really want to try a special version of the dish, you will find specialized restaurants recognized for having “the best Goulash in town”, which are worth trying.

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2. Fiery

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Prato looks like a mini pizza | Photo: Kobako, via Wikimedia Commons.

Whether the origin of Lángos comes from the Romans or the Turks is not known, but it is indisputable that it is one of the most beloved dishes of Hungarian cuisine, among locals and travellers, mainly due to its practicality, which makes it the fast-food specialty in the country.

O flaming está numa categoria between a esfiha and a pizza, made with a type of fried and sometimes baked bread, with several topping options. The option I liked the most – and I think the most found in the country – is the traditional one with cheese, garlic sauce and a type of sour cream.

Simple and delicious, which you can find and eat at any time of a budapest itinerary.

You will find lángos in all the traditional markets in the city, in street foods and, of course, in typical Hungarian food restaurants across the country.

3. Fish soup

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Peixe é servido com sopa nos restaurantes Hungarian | Photo: János Korom, via Wikimedia Commons.

Known as the fisherman's soup, Halászlé is a good choice for you to vary between Hungarian meat dishes.

Although fish is not the most common ingredient in typical Hungarian food, due to the lack of a coastline in the country, Halászlé consists of a very well seasoned fish soup.

Fish is usually caught in the famous Danube River, the one between Buda and Pest in the country's capital. Interesting, isn't it?

This dish is served with soup in thick and generous pieces, the recipe also includes a good dose of paprika and because of this you will find a reddish color in your Halászlé.


4. Lecsó

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

This is a great idea for a lighter meal in Hungary | Photo: sporst, via Wikimedia Commons.

If you're a vegetarian, you need to know what Lecsó is all about, one of the few meatless dishes in Hungarian cuisine.

Lecso is a mix of vegetables like tomatoes, onion and bell pepper, reminiscent of the famous ratatouille found in France and which is also very common even in Brazil. The difference here, of course, is that the dish takes on the color and more intense flavor of paprika, typical of Hungary.

You'll also find versions with a nice fried egg on top and others that include potatoes.

Some restaurants also offer Lecsó with sausages and bacon, but traditionally it is a vegetarian dish, made only from vegetables.

5. Roast

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Dish is ideal for meat lovers | Photo: Ralf Roletcheck, via Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to soup, stew is also a method of preparation widely used in Hungarian cuisine, which makes Pörkölt a super classic dish in Hungary.

here, the meats are cooked in generous pieces, with the classic sauce laced with paprika, of course, and it is also served with traditional Hungarian noodles.

6. Condiment

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Stew is great for vegetarians | Photo: Flóra Soós, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another dish for the joy (and relief) of vegetarians, Főzelék also pleases those who prefer lighter and more nutritious food, without the many calories common in Hungarian cuisine.

This dish is a vegetable stew, with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, lentils, peas and spinach; in addition to a delicious broth, which combines tomato, bell pepper and lemon juice.

7. Paprika Chicken

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Chicken gets a special flavor with Hungarian sauce | Photo: Kobako, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another classic of Hungarian cuisine is Paprikás Csirke, based on cooked chicken pieces with plenty of paprika and the delicious sour cream, often used in Hungarian cuisine.

The result is a creamy and spicy chicken, often found in traditional restaurants, accompanied by a noodle-type pasta typical of Hungary, called Nokedli, or even with bread. It's a great tip to try while you know the Budapest tourist attractions.

In addition to chicken, you will also find Paprikash with veal in Hungarian restaurants and, more rarely, with beef.

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8. Stuffed Cabbage

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Cabbage is usually stuffed with meat | Photo: Christo, via Wikimedia Commons.

As in the cuisine of some neighboring countries on the European continent, Hungary also has a typical dish made from stuffed cabbage, very common to be enjoyed during the winter.

In the Hungarian version called Töltött Káposzta, it has a layer of cabbage, meat stuffing, rice, vegetables and a generous topping of cream or the famous sour cream.

In addition to the traditional cabbage recipe, you can also try Töltött Paprika, which are peppers with similar fillings and toppings. Also understand the hungary weather to know when to visit the country.

Although the meat version is the classic, today it is also possible to find vegetarian fillings for this delicacy.

9. Dumplings from Somló

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Cake is one of the most typical Hungarian sweets | Photo: Toben, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hungarian cakes are the stars of the local confectionery and one of the most traditional and widely found versions in the country is the Somlói Galuska.

In it, you will find a sponge cake with three types of layers: one of traditional pasta, another of nuts and another one of chocolate.

To complement them, the cake gets a very generous coverage of whipped cream, nuts, raisins and chocolate syrup without saving. Know also what to do at night in budapest.

If you have a sweet tooth, you must try this Hungarian delight. Its many layers and toppings turn Somlói galuska into an eye-popping sweet.

10. Drummer cake

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Dessert is a hit among Hungarians | Photo: Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another super typical cake that has a Hungarian signature is the Dobos Torte, whose name is due to its creation being made by confectioner Jószef Dobos, in 1884.

This is one of the most beautiful and classic cakes among Hungarian pastries, and its trademark is the many butter cream layers of chocolate and a perfect and beautiful caramel topping. It can't be bad, can it?

11. Meggyleves

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Try Sweet Soup in Hungary | Photo: Heather Cowper, via Wikimedia Commons.

And did you know that soup is so typical in Hungary that you can even find a dessert in this format?

This is the case of Meggyleves, which is a red fruit soup, especially the cherry, which still has sugar and Hungarian sour cream. The result is a half sweet and half sour delicacy, well balanced and tasty.

12. Layered

12 typical Hungarian foods: what to eat in restaurants

Hungarian strudel is an ultimate dica of twelve in the country | Photo: MartinThoma, via Wikimedia Commons.

To close my list of Hungarian delicacies, I cannot fail to mention Rétes, the traditional hungarian strudel.

Here you will find an almost infinite variety of fillings, not only sweet but also savory, which go far beyond the traditional apple and cinnamon strudel.

Variations range from fruit to cottage cheese and even cabbage! Curious, isn't it?

What to order in Hungarian restaurants

Hungarian food is a good translation for what we call comfort food: delicious food, full of flavor and warming.

Its well served dishes, most of which are reddish in color, due to the extensive use of paprika, represent a delicious way to explore history, thanks to the many cultural heritages that the country's cuisine carries.

Hungarian cuisine still includes many other typical dishes, but if you try the 12 dishes I've listed above, you'll get a great introduction to local recipes and get to taste some amazing variations on Hungarian cuisine.

Allow yourself to experience this rich and spicy cuisine and discover a very interesting mix of flavors on your trip to Hungary!

Finally, I recommend that you read the article about the hungary tourist destinations, where you can check the main attractions around the country.

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