Taste Hungary Blog

The Taste Hungary Blog is authored by a group of expat and local writers, intent on making sense of Hungary’s traditional foodways, its emerging wine industry, and Budapest’s food scene. We focus on telling the stories of the deliciously complex foods and wines of Hungary, the people and places that fascinate us, and all of the cultural details which make Hungary such a memorable place to visit (or live).


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From Hungarian Vineyards, to American Doorsteps

We just launched our latest project—an online wine shop and Hungarian Wine Club in the US. It has been a long time coming. But if I trace it back, it was my first visit to Hungarian vineyards that spa...

Nagy Somló PDO: A Guide to the Wine Region

Somló is one of Hungary’s emblematic historical wine regions. Its unique, mineral-rich terroir, indigenous varieties and numerous small producers make it one of Hungary’s most exciting white-wine regi...

Kál Basin (Káli Medence) PDO: A Guide to the Wine Region

The eight settlements in the Kál Basin also fall within the boundaries of three other wine regions, but due to its unique volcanic landscape and historical relevance, it has boasted its own 453-hectar...

Pour Relations: The Story of Csíki Beer

The complicated story of Csíki Sör (Csíki Beer), from Transylvania to Hungary.

The History of Hungarian Beer

The craft beer revolution has brought lots of excitement to Hungary's beer scene, but Hungary's history of beer brewing goes back to the nomadic Magyars. And Budapest's Kőbánya neighborhood is still h...

The Story of the Hungarian Craft Beer Revolution

The Hungarian craft beer revolution began not long after a few friends spent a long night drinking and grumbling over the bad local beer.

Krumplis Tészta: A Protected Man in Budapest

Adventures in krumplis tészta (potatoes with pasta), with a recipe.

The Drinker’s Guide to Hungarikums

There is always something delicious (and local) to drink in Hungary. The drinks that inspire the most pride in Hungary have also been named Hungarikums.

The Eater’s Guide to Hungarikums

If you spend time in Hungary, sooner or later you’ll hear talk of ‘Hungarikums.’ As any traveler will quickly learn, Hungarians are proud (and fiercely protective) of their natural treasures, achievem...

The Many Faces of Körözött, With A Recipe

Served throughout Hungary (as well as in Slovakia, Austria, and Northern Italy), körözött is a simple paprika-spiked cheese dip. It’s typically part of a Hungarian appetizer spread, offered with chunk...

Túró: How to Make Hungary’s Favorite Cheese

In Hungary the most common types of cheese are young and fresh ones. In this category túró is definitely the most popular, accounting for half of all cheese consumed in the country.

Dill Power: The Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice

You know it’s summer when you see jars of kovászos dill pickles fermenting in sunny window sills. That summery pickle flavor can also come in the form of a drink, concocted with the juice from the pic...

Badacsony PDO: A Guide to the Wine Region

Badacsony is one of Hungary’s iconic regions. Along with Tokaj and Somló, it was famed for its characterful, full-bodied, minerally, white wines from volcanic soil. The wines are unique, concentrated,...

Lake Balaton PGI: A Guide to the Wine Region

Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, is landlocked Hungary’s sea. It is not only a favorite destination for vacationers, but a robust wine region comprises six districts with Protected De...

Cherry Soup (Meggyleves): Hungary’s Sweet and Sour Summer Soup, With a Recipe

There's no better way to enjoy the summer's seasonal fruit bounty than in a cold fruit soup. There are lots of variations, but sour cherry soup (meggyleves) is perhaps the most popular. It's a tart so...

A Guide to Hungarian Szalonna

Szalonna is an essential food staple in Hungary. Its recipe is very simple—you add salt, smoke, and time to a piece of pork fat. But there are many different types (depending on the cut of meat, the s...

Ezerjó: The Hungarian Wine of a Thousand Blessings

The countryside to the north of Székesfehérvár and Lake Velence hides a small wine region little known outside Hungary. What’s more, this undiscovered region conceals a white variety that few will hav...

The Four Types of Pogácsa You Meet in Budapest

Pogácsa, which usually gets a loose translation as ‘scones’ or ‘biscuits,’ are everywhere in Hungary. Pogácsa, or ‘pogi’ for short, also seem to be compulsory for most organized social gatherings.

Sparkling Hungary, Where the Pezsgő Flows

At the beginning of the 20th century Hungary was second only to France in sparkling wine production ... Happily, the last few decades have seen great advances in Hungarian sparkling wine, and many win...

Kéknyelű: A Hungarian Grape Returning from the Brink

Production remains limited, but once you’ve tasted Kéknyelű, you’ll understand why it was such a popular and expensive wine in its heyday. Kéknyelű’s high acidity, relative neutrality and serious extr...

Zsemle: Hungary’s Multi-purpose Wonder Roll

We hesitate to call zsemle beloved, they are definitely depended upon. More convenient than a kilo or half kilo of your standard Hungarian loaf of bread, not mass produced yet inexpensive enough to be...

Hárslevelű –A Wine Doomed To Eternally Play A Supporting Role?

Hárslevelű has been around for centuries and is planted across much of Hungary—notably in Tokaj and the tiny region of Somló. Despite its many good qualities, it seems destined to play a supporting ro...

Hekk: Hungary’s Favorite Saltwater Fish

Hekk is a curious fish to find in Hungary, as it is a sea fish, and Hungary is a landlocked country. How hekk became so popular locally is still a bit murky. WHat is not disputed is that the most Hung...

Austrians in Hungary

Hungarian and Austrian history has been so intertwined, for better or for worse, over four centuries. So it’s inevitable that some grape varieties have also crossed today’s borders, and have comfortab...

Understanding Tokaj

This guide will help you understand some of the essential Tokaji concepts, decode the important vocabulary you will find on a bottle of wine from Tokaj, and just generally put the nuances of the regio...

Főzelék: The Lighter Side to Hungarian Lunch

Főzelék is a lunchtime staple as much as any gulyás or paprikás. It is the unheralded anchor of any étkezdé’s (lunch canteen) menu. It’s popular with good reason, and taken very seriously.

Dobos Torta

In a country renowned for its beautiful baked goods, the glistening and golden-tinted Dobos torta is arguably Hungary’s most famous layer cake.

Gyula Krúdy: Hungary’s Gourmet Writer

Hungarian food is closely tied in with the country’s literature, and perhaps no other writer captures the romance of the early-20th-century Budapest café society and the magic of Hungarian food better...

Csontvelő: The Decadent Bliss of Hungarian Bone Marrow

A good csontvelő (bone marrow) is worth a trip across town for, worth planning an evening around. You may have to, because it is not the easiest dish to find.

Királyleányka and Leányka—Hungary’s  Maiden Grapes

Hungary boasts two related white varieties which are often confused, and have unclear origins. Királyléanyka, which translates as ’princess’ and Leányka, which means ’maiden’ or ’girl’.

Ödön Lechner’s Budapest: Hungary’s Master of Art Nouveau

arcelona has Gaudi—whose masterfully whimsical buildings dot the city—and Budapest has Ödön Lechner, the father of the Hungarian Secession movement, which was Hungary’s brand of art nouveau.

Furmint – Hungary’s Flagship White

Wine aficionados have long known of the delights of Furmint, especially in the form of the delectably sweet Tokaji Aszú, and increasingly over the last decade or two in its latest dry incarnations.

A Guide to Budapest’s Thermal Baths

udapest is undoubtedly one of the world’s great spa cities. And its historic bath houses are among the city’s most unique attractions, each with its own unique characteristics.

The “Drinking Cure”: Mineral Water Straight from The Source in Budapest

The variety of bottled water available in Hungarian shops is wide to the point of being bewildering, but mineral water doesn’t only come bottled. You can get an even more intense mineral water by goin...

Portugieser – A Fresh and Fruity Hungarian Red

In Hungary, Portugieser has made its home in Villány, but is also found in the Kunság and Eger. It’s an early-ripening variety with thin skins. Its soft tannins and pronounced fruit aromas mean it doe...

Jókai Bean Soup: Steamy Romance In A Bowl

You can see why Jokai was so taken with the soup. Jókai bableves has a rich, nourishing flavor that intoxicates and demands to be overindulged in. The meal is hearty in the truest sense of the word. W...

Unpronounceably Aromatic Hungarian Wines – Cserszegi Fűszeres and Irsai Olivér

Two 20th century Hungarian white crossings have proved remarkably popular in the last few decades—Irsai Olivér and its offspring, Cserszegi Fűszeres, dubbed the unpronounceable grape by one British Ma...

Paprika & Pepper

Házi Baracklekvár

Meggy (Sour Cherry)

Pogácsa

Lorem ipsum

Hungary’s Two Bull’s Bloods

Bikavér is probably still Hungary’s best-known red wine, despite the indignities it suffered during the second part of the 20th century. But most wine drinkers, even Hungarian ones, have no idea what ...

On Frog Legs and Regrets on the Streets of Budapest

The thing about frog legs is that you can’t dither. If you are fixing to get frog legs, you shouldn’t hesitate. For one thing, they are a very easy dish to talk yourself out of. For another, even plac...

Egri Csillag – The Starry-Eyed Partner to the Majestic Bull’s Blood from Eger

Eger has long been known for its blends, principally red Bikavér (aka Bull’s Blood). Since 2010, the region also has a white blend, Egri Csillag. Both are named after historic events in the region. 

Understanding Hungarian Oak

It’s no longer a secret that Hungary is a great wine producing country. But it is not as widely known that Hungary is also a big producer of high-quality oak barrels. Hungarian oak has been used for m...

Tokaji Essencia – Sunshine on a Spoon

Imagine a supernaturally concentrated Aszú with flavors of ripe peach, orange, white flowers, passion fruit, ginger, quince, apricot, and spicy marmalade. It’s thick and syrupy with razor-sharp acidit...

A Selection of Hungarian Liver Preparations

Is there any commonly eaten food more divisive than liver? Loved and loathed in equal measures, it is also the cheapest cut at the market but the most expensive item on the menu. Banned, fetishized, r...

How to Deliver Túró Rudi to a Friend

Túró Rudi is one of those acquired tastes, but once acquired, impossible to shake.

Budapest Dive Bar Confidential

udapest is a drinking city, with some very good dive bars. To help you cut to the chase when it comes to finding some divey fun, we have compiled a list of some of the best Budapest has to offer.

Szamorodni – The Wine Hiding in The Wings in Tokaj

It’s strange to think that wines that can be compared to lusciously sweet Sauternes or nutty, saline sherries should not be the flagship wines of a region. Yet, that is the case in Tokaj. Szamorodni i...

Taste Hungary 10.0

For Taste Hungary’s 10th birthday, I’ve looked back at some of the key moments of our first decade and some of the things I’m most grateful for … one for each year.

Understanding Hungarian Wine Classification

In the EU wine is classified into categories based on its origin. Learn how this all translates in Hungary, and what you should look for when deciphering a Hungarian wine label.

Lángos: Hungary’s Deep Fried Treat

Due to its heaviness, lángos is a meal best eaten when it has been worked for in one way or another. Dough deep fried, brushed with minced garlic and topped with various other fatty delights like smok...

Kakashere Pörkölt (Rooster Testicle Stew)

In a country where meat—be it beef, pork, turkey, or goose—is consumed with gusto, the rooster's family jewels are just another juicy delicacy served in a heady paprika broth.

Erős Pista: Hungary’s Multi-Purpose Paprika Paste

The spicy condiment known as Erős Pista—a thick paprika paste—is so omnipresent in lunch canteens (étkezdék), Hungarian restaurants, and in home kitchens that there is little room for artisanal interl...

Hungary’s Unique Szilveszter (New Year’s) Traditions and Superstitions

In Hungary, you’d be doing yourself a disservice for the rest of the year if you didn’t eat plenty of lentils to ring in the new year.

Cabernet Franc – The Unsung Hero

Winemakers in the south of Hungary, however, are taking Cabernet Franc very seriously. In fact, the region of Villány is now betting on the variety as their regional flagship.

The Sweet Gesture of Gesztenyepüré: Hungarian Chestnut Puree

Gesztenyepüré is a beloved Hungarian dessert. While you can get it year round, chestnuts are seasonal, so its flavors resonate most in autumn. There is something of a nostalgic feel to the dessert, at...

Hooked on Halászlé, Spicy Hungarian Fish Soup

Halászlé (fisherman’s soup) is an iconic paprika-spiked Hungarian dish, prepared for centuries by fishermen and their families along the banks of the Danube, Tisza rivers, and Lake Balaton (or whereve...

Forralt Bor (Mulled Wine): An Essential Part of Winter in Hungary

Mulled wine (forralt bor) is an inextricable part of winter in Hungary.

Tokaji Aszú: The Story of The World’s Oldest Sweet Wine

A bottle of Tokaji aszú holds deep history, fascinating myths, much hard work, centuries of passion, and plenty of sheer luck.

A Comeback to Hanukkah

The way that celebrating Hanukkah shifted from being a big social event to an intimate family gathering, as it is today, shows how Jews regained their religious consciousness. The importance of food a...

The Humbling Experience of a Tokaji Aszú Harvest

In Tokaj the grapes are harvested several times, to make wines of varying levels of sweetness. If the noble rot has developed there will be an aszú harvest in which the berries are selected by hand, o...

Kékfrankos: A Much-Loved Grape of Many Names

Kékfrankos is planted in most Hungarian wine regions, and goes by many different names. When well made, the variety—with its crunchy red and black cherry fruit and spicy kick—is generally a crowd-plea...

Balkezes Sörfözde: Hungary’s Left-Handed Craft Beer Brewery

The craft beer scene in Hungary was slow to develop, but once it began to take off, it changed the face of beer drinking in Budapest. Tamás Nyaras of Balkezes Sörfözde, discusses the current local cra...

Juhfark: A Pharmacy in a Wine Glass

Juhfark is a little-known Hungarian grape variety that is attributed with extraordinary abilities.

Be Your Own Trip Advisor: How to Spot A Good Restaurant While Traveling

There is a lot to be said for going offline to walk around and follow your instincts when exploring a new culture’s culinary scene. It’s one of those micro-adventures that make travel so rewarding. Th...

Kadarka – Hungary’s Answer to Pinot Noir?

Vibrant and elegant or rustic and insipid? Little-known Kadarka certainly divides opinions when tasted for the first time, with those who love it praising its crunchy, bright red fruit and refreshing ...

Unicum: Hungarian History in a Glass

Unicum is a national institution in Hungary, and has a long history that in some ways mirrors the history of modern Hungary itself.

The Mátra Wine Region: These Hills Are Alive With Volcanic Vineyards, Boutique Cellars, and History

Hungary’s second largest winemaking region is blessed with an ancient winemaking heritage, volcanic soil, successful large wineries, and now a band of boutique wineries hoping to bring the region into...

Flódni: The Four Act Pastry

Flódni is a traditional Hungarian Jewish confection. With fillings of poppy, walnut, apple, and plum jam, separated by five layers of sweet pastry, its flavors of tart, bitter, and sweet meld together...

Olaszrizling—a Riesling in name only

Olaszrizling, Hungary’s most widely planted white grape variety, is an archetypical Central European variety which is capable of for more than it's usually given credit for.

How To Buy Homemade Pálinka (and Why You Should)

We’re not saying it’s a good idea to buy under-the-counter pálinka, but if that’s what you want, you should know how to go about getting it.

Bookish in Buda: Literary Cafés of Budapest

With cafés like Centrál and New York giving shelter and comfort to writers of the famous Nyugat movement of Hungarian writing, you can’t talk about a classic Hungarian café without mentioning the writ...

Land of Fire and Salt: Hungary’s Volcanic Wine Regions

Imagine a landscape with numerous giant volcanoes spewing out lava and ash and a receding, bubbling inland sea. This was Hungary ten or fifteen million years ago.

Elegy to Zsiros Kenyér: A Good-bye to Budapest’s Classic Pub Grub

In Budapest, some dishes go out of style, only to be re-introduced years later as more expensive ‘retro’ fare. It also happens that some dishes disappear not to be seen again.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage: The Wedding Gift You Didn’t Know You Wanted

More than fortification for the coming party, the midnight cabbage represents a kind refusal to give in.

Sausauge at Budapest's Central Market 1

Chomping at the Bit: a Hungarian Horse Sausage Primer

Though Hungarians’ fondness for horse meat is far from universal among the population, a demand for it persists and horse sausage is still commonly found at market halls around Budapest.

Dog Tongues and Ink: Historic Literary Coffeehouses in Budapest

If nostalgia had a taste, it would be that of a bitter, robust sip of coffee served at Centrál Café, or one of the other coffee houses in Budapest.

Lecso ingredients

Lecsó as a Verb

Lecsó as a noun is known in flippant company as the Hungarian ratatouille, the dish that's not really a stew, not a soup, not exactly a side dish, but somehow takes characteristics of all these.

Szalonna: Call It Delicious, Just Don’t Call It Bacon

Every now and again a word gets mistranslated, and that mistranslation is picked up on and replicated until it’s been hopelessly absorbed into common usage.

Discovering Tokaj’s Sweet Secrets: At Home in Erdőbénye

Winemakers in Tokaj are singularly obsessed with a fungus called botrytis. And I had become fascinated by these winemakers who go to such lengths and expense to make this traditional wine.

Eating gulyas in Hungary_Taste Hungary

Gulyás: The Ultimate Hungarian Soup (Recipe)

Gulyás is the one Hungarian dish that most people think they know. But their imagination of gulyás rarely resembled the real Hungarian thing.

That’ll Do Pig: The Marvelous Rise of Mangalica

If you haven’t heard of Mangalica, don’t feel left out. The fact that there is any of it at all is a small miracle.

The Ever-Popular Old School Fröccs

When the weather gets hot in Hungary, fröccs season is on. A refreshing mixture of soda water and wine, it's the ultimate summer go-to drink. 

Furmint Forever

There’s no other grape that can make such complex sweet wines, consistently delicious easy-drinking dry wines, and full-bodied single vineyard terroir-driven wines.

Cherries_Hungary

Meggyes Leppény
 (Sour Cherry Cake) Recipe

My first ever trip to Hungary coincided with cherry season. Ever since, when I think cherries, I crave this cherry cake that Gábor’s mother bakes throughout the summer.

Hungarian hidegtál at The-Tasting Table Budapest

The Hungarian Cold Plate (Hidegtál)

A Hungarian cold plate (“hidegtál”) is a classic way to showcase the wide variety of charcuterie which butcher shops, market stalls, and kitchen pantries are brimming with.

Central Market Hall Budapest

Budapest’s Nagy Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall)

With its cavernous interior, the vast three-level Central Market Hall should be a spot of pilgrimage for any food-lover coming to Budapest, where you can spend hours shopping and snacking.

Tokaji aszu old vintage 1956

The 1956 Tokaj Aszú: A Wine With A Long Finish

The 1956 vintage was a good one in Tokaj. But 1956 didn’t go down in the history books for the great quality of botrytis in Tokaj, rather because of the revolution that began on October 23rd.

Lunch at the Butcher’s: the Real Hungarian Street Food

The concept of ‘street food’ is now a global phenomenon. But while backpackers munch on pulled pork sandwiches and tacos, the real local street food is going largely unnoticed by those who are not Hun...

Hungarian paprika peppers

Hungarian Paprika: The Essential Red Spice

If there is one ingredient that Hungary is undeniably associated with, it's paprika. It symbolizes Hungarian cuisine and is an essential component of some of the best-known Hungarian dishes.

Tokaj Jewish Wine Heritage_Zimmerman_Aszu

The Lost World of The Jewish Wine Trade in Hungary (and The Old Habsburg Empire) Part I.

This story of how the Hungarian (and Central European) wine trade functioned before the two world wars and communism is not a well-known one.

retro Hungarian sweets

Old-School Hungarian Sweets

Those who grew up during the Communist era in Hungary will know these Hungarian sweets well (although some may never want to taste again). 

Sólet at Rosenstein, A Budapest Experience Worthy of a Pilgrimage

At Rosenstein, solét is a hearty, wonderfully-prepared meal that not only deserves a pilgrimage but also clearly underlines the restaurant's motto: everything is kosher that tastes good.

Cooking stuffed cabbage in Hungary

Taste Hungary’s 100 Essentials List

We've compiled what we think are the most essential (and tastiest) food, drinks, and experiences that just cannot be missed. We hope you can check all of them off!

Birsalmasajt_quince_jelly

Birsalma Sajt (Quince Jelly) Recipe

The knobby quince has never been one of the most popular fruits. But come autumn, this humble and rather unattractive fruit is transformed into an anticipated seasonal delicacy.

kovaszos uborka with fish

Kovászos Uborka (Fermented Cucumber) Recipe

In Hungary, this hot stretch of summer in which the city empties and not much happens is known as cucumber season. The markets, of course, are also full of small, bumpy cucumbers.

chicken paprikás

Paprikás Csirke (Paprika Chicken) Recipe

Paprikás csirke is a staple of home-cooking and at étkezdes (lunch-rooms), yet it is an elegant dish (but much simpler to prepare than its thick, complex, flavorful sauce suggests).

Budapest Kórház Utcai Market homemade jams

Budapest’s Kórház Utcai Market

Lying low at the foot of the Árpád híd, Kórház utcai Market is a vital and yet lesser-known part of Budapest's ingrained market culture.

Galuska_Taste Hungary

Galuska (Dumplings) Recipe

Galuska are the preferred accompaniment for pörkölt and paprikás, and are also often served with eggs and lettuce for a super-simple lunch at the étkezde.

Kocsonya

Kocsonya (Meat Jelly/Aspic) Recipe

If your grandmother made this dish for the holidays, you either loved it or hated it. There's pretty much no middle-ground, and there's no denying the lingering memory of this shimmering meat jelly.

csipetke recipe

Csipetke (Pinched Pasta) Recipe

Though making homemade pasta for a soup might sound very time-consuming, it’s actually quite quick and simple.

Third Wave Coffee in Budapest

Hungary's love of coffee is grounded in history. And gourmet java lovers have plenty of cafes where they gather to sip their favorite bitter brew.

Christmas in Hungary

You can tell Christmas is coming in Hungary when cukrászdas begin stockpiling bejglis. Whether filled with poppyseed or walnuts, these cylindrical shaped cakes are the essence of Hungarian Christmas.

Husleves with bone marrow_Taste Hungary

Sunday Lunch in Hungary

Sunday lunch is practically a sacred ritual in Hungary. This I learned when I found myself sitting at a table set under towering chestnut trees, eating the kind of meal I usually only ate on holidays....

Hungarian folk music

Taste Hungary Playlists

Here are some of our favorite Hungarian tunes—an eclectic mix of everything from folk, jazz, and Jewish to rap, pop, and Gypsy music—to get you in the Hungarian spirit!

old Hungarian menu

Hungarian-English Culinary Dictionary

Get your kitchen Magyarul in gear with this useful culinary dictionary.

Hungarian antique menu

English-Hungarian Culinary Dictionary

Get your kitchen Magyarul in gear with this useful culinary dictionary.

Pogácsa at Daubner_Budapest

Pogácsa at Daubner

Homemade, flaky pogácsa is the quintessential Hungarian snack, eaten at all times of the day and on any occasion.For the best, many Budapesters swear by Daubner Cukrászda.

Tokaj Jewish Wine Heritage_Flegmann

The Lost World of The Jewish Wine Trade in Hungary (and The Old Habsburg Empire), Part II.

What happened before the takeover of the state-owned coops in Hungary, which lasted more than forty years (and devastated Hungarian wine)?


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