8 Traditional Hungarian Foods You Should Try in Budapest


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Sampling the wonders of Hungarian cuisine is undoubtedly a must when visiting the country. While looking through the ingredients, you will find that most of the dishes include paprika - an essential component to almost every Hungarian specialty.

Paprika not only adds a special twist to the flavor and scent of the dishes but gives its authentic, beautiful color as well. It is one of the most crucial ingredients of Gulyás, Halászlé, Lecsó, and other Hungarian meals, favored in Budapest and other parts of the country likewise. With or without paprika, here are eight of the most popular traditional Hungarian foods you should try in Budapest.

1. Gulyás

Every visitor to Budapest is familiar with Goulash, or as locals call it, Gulyás, one of the must-taste dishes in Hungary. The specialty is a stew-like soup with beef, onion, tomatoes, pepper, paprika, and other ingredients, originally cooked in a cast iron over an open fire.

It used to be the typical food of herdsmen cooking it in a kettle on fire in the open-air, and only in the 19th century, Goulash became a national treasure, which is now an essential part of the mouth-watering Hungarian cuisine.


Nowadays, no tour to Budapest or any other place in Hungary is complete without tasting some local Goulash. As a matter of fact, it can be cooked as a stew or a soup likewise, perfect for fueling up before active sightseeing.

Must-see in Budapest:

  • Parliament Building;
  • Heroes’ Square;
  • Danube Promenade;
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica;
  • Fisherman’s Bastion;
  • Liberty Statue.

2. Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash is another specialty found in almost every restaurant in Budapest. Consisting of vegetables, meat, sour cream, and local seasoning, the dish is amply enriched with paprika, a crucial component of Hungary cuisine.

Chicken Paprikash

The chicken is simmered in a special sauce for over an hour and then usually served with egg dumplings called nokedli, a typical side dish to numerous local specialties.

The name of the dish came from its most important ingredient, the indispensable paprika, thus make sure to use a generous amount of it if you ever try to cook it at home. What would be even better is bringing back some local paprika from your journey to Hungary yourself!

3. Halászlé

Another example of authentic Hungarian food is Fisherman's soup, known as Halászlé. The hearty soup varies depending on the region but is always based on paprika and local river fish, typically carp.

Some of the most famous variations of Fisherman's soup include Szeged halászlé and Baja halászlé. The Hungarian national dish is a must-taste while in the country, therefore it is not difficult to find it in restaurants all over Budapest and other cities.


Halászlé was initially cooked by fishermen by the river in a kettle over open fire. They would use fresh fish and enjoy a nice meal to keep warm after spending the day outdoors.

4. Lecsó

When it comes to hearty foods, Lecsó is also an excellent example of tantalizing traditional Hungarian food. Made with the irreplaceable paprika, it also consists of yellow pepper and tomato, some of the most prominent ingredients in Hungarian cuisine, providing not only delicious flavors but a lovely bright color as well!


The rich vegetable stew is often served as a side dish or an appetizer; however, it can also be served as a main, becoming the star of the show of your flavorful dining experience.

There are different ways to prepare Lecsó, which also depends on the region of the country; however, the base is always the yellow pepper, tomato, and, of course, paprika.

5. Sólet

While getting acquainted with the Hungarian heritage and cuisine, don't miss the chance to taste the Hungarian-Jewish stew called Sólet. It is made with kidney beans, barley, onions, and, you guessed it right - paprika.


The dish is typically cooked before the Sabbath and served with boiled eggs. If you are wandering around the Jewish Quarter in Budapest, make sure to stop by a restaurant to sample the authentic meal.

Did you know that the Jewish Quarter in Budapest houses the largest synagogue in Europe? It also boasts authentic architectural heritage and an abundance of lovely shops, making the area a must-visit while in the capital of Hungary.

Things to do in the Jewish Quarter, Budapest:

  • Visit the Dohány Street Synagogue;
  • Sample mouth-watering delicacies at "Mazel Tov";
  • Taste flódni in the Café Noé;
  • Marvel at the street art;
  • Stop for a drink at a ruin pub;
  • Discover authentic design shops;
  • Get to know the history of the area while on a walking tour.

6. Lángos

A popular food in Hungary and a must-taste while exploring the streets of Budapest is Lángos - deep-fried sourdough garnished with various toppings. The epitome of Hungarian comfort food, Lángos is a popular street food, an on-the-go meal found in food markets and restaurants.


The fried sourdough is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, traditionally topped with garlic oil, sour cream, and grated cheese; however, the topping for your perfect Lángos is up to your imagination.

A great place to sample Lángos in Budapest is the central market hall, where you can find not only authentic Hungarian foods but plenty of places for souvenir hunting and buying local paprika.

Don't miss the chance to visit the Central Market Hall, where you can find not only authentic Hungarian foods but plenty of places for souvenir hunting and buying local paprika.

7. Kürtös Kalács

Hungary cuisine has special treats for those with a sweet tooth as well! One of the most popular ones and, undoubtedly, one of the most delicious ones, is the Chimney Cake - Kürtös Kalács. The delicacy is made from yeast dough, which is spiraled in long strips to form the shape of a cylinder.

Kürtös Kalács

It is coated in sugar and cooked over an open fire for it to caramelize and create a crunchy layer of sweet perfection. Kürtös Kalács can later be coated with different toppings, such as cinnamon or ground walnuts.

There is no doubt that the scent of Kürtös Kalács alone will make your mouth water, but just wait until you taste it yourself!

8. Somlói Galuska

Possibly the most popular dessert in the country is the Hungarian trifle cake, known locally as Somlói Galuska. It consists of different sponge cakes, layers of chocolate filling, walnuts, raisins, rum, as well as whipped cream and chocolate sauce to top it all off.

Somlói Galuska

Rich in flavors, the dessert was an award-winning success in the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958 and has never left the prize-winning position in the hearts of locals.

The sweet taste of Somlói Galuska leaves every visitor to Hungary enchanted by its flavors. It surely goes well with some coffee and views over the Danube River!

These flavorful specialties are popular in Budapest as well as in other cities and often vary in their ways of making depending on the region; however, all eight of the mentioned should undoubtedly appear on your list of must-taste things in Hungary. Despite the ample amount of components and generous portion sizes, the prices for food and drink in Hungary do not bite and are quite affordable. Presenting all the right reasons for you to dive deeper into its mouth-watering heritage, Hungary boasts an abundance of flavors for you to discover. Which local delicacy are you sampling first?