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10 Hungarian eating habits that make foreigners go nuts

It is not only about eating roasted blood with onions or rooster testicle stew: the sugared cottage cheese and bread and dripping are all thought to be strange by foreigners, reports

Even if you ever heard about Hungarians having some strange eating habits, it can be hard to recognize: since bread and dripping with purple onion, pasta with poppy seeds, the tripe or the kidney and brains are so delicious – what can be so strange about them…? Yet foreigners getting to know the Hungarian cuisine and culinary culture surely have a hard time accepting the typical Hungarian dishes, ingredients, eating styles and habits. Here are some examples.

1. No matter what you cook, the starting-point is always fats and onion

Hungarians living with foreigners quite often hear the shocked question “you fry the onion on oil (or fats) again?” It may not strike us, but most of our dishes really start like that, and these are not only stews and ragouts but also soups and vegetable dishes.

Fina Aristic

2. Can’t live without paprika

Fresh paprika is the essential ingredient of many Hungarian dishes: just think about the lecsó, but neither the goulash, the stew, nor the paprika potatoes would exist without the ground (Erős Pista, Édes Anna and their numerous clones) and hot paprika. Just to mention the most important dishes. So it could seem that paprika predominates the Hungarian cuisine. There is a substratum of truth in that the Hungarian cuisine relies on the Holy-Trinity of fats-onion-paprika – but at least they form the basic backbone of it.

3. Putting sour cream in everything

A foreigner can immediately spot the sour-cream-love of the average Hungarian. Firstly, there are several dishes which must contain sour cream, but apart from them we usually put sour cream on every dish “without reason”. It can be chicken paprika, lángos or runner beans soup – but who has not eaten a good bread with sour cream and onion for dinner yet? It is also essential on the top of the quark cheese noodles and the quark cheese pancakes – the latter ones lead to our next point.

4. Quark cheese, what is more: sweetened quark cheese?

Just like sour cream, the typical bumpy, thin quark cheese is also a national peculiarity, something like this hardly appears outside the Carpathian basin. So the autoletic, premeditated and constant usage of this kind of cheese is suspicious already in itself, but it is nothing compared to the fact that we also put sugar in it… and chocolate at the top… thus creating the Túró Rudi.

5. Giblets without control: tripe, kidney and brains, and rooster testicle stew!

The edible parts of animals usually stop at the height of the legs or wings for a distinguished Western-European. They are gradually shocked by the chicken leg or gizzard put into the soup by granny – but this is nothing compared to a good kidney and brains, or rooster testicle stew! Of course, the list can go on with the stew of trotters, the pig pudding with pettitoes, and the gizzard stew.

6. Eating the solid fats – it does not matter if you put it on bread, or you call it bacon and put into your mouth piece by piece

Bacon is also known westwards of Hungary, but many foreigners cannot cope with how Hungarians can eat the meatless, 100 per cent fats bacon. The bread and dripping or the greaves do not better the situation.

7. The delicacies of disznótor: roasted blood with onions, blood sausage, chitterlings

Dishes of the pig feasts and disznótor deserve an own paragraph. Slaughtering a pig is scary itself and it can seem to be a barbaric tradition for some of the ingenuous foreigners, but if it turns out what dishes are made during this event, the shock is guaranteed. Some people even question the existence of roasted blood with onions…

8. Eating everything with bread – even bread with bread

Although most of the courses have “normal” trimmings, Hungarians tend to pick a great slice of bread instead. (There are some radicals who frequently eat pasta or noodles with bread – but this is an extreme example.) Still, it is quite strange for a foreigner that Hungarians normally eat bread with any soup or even dishes that are trimmings in the eyes of foreigners (e.g. steamed or roasted vegetables).

9. Pasta with poppy seeds, the drug taboo

Westwards of Hungary, poppy seeds are almost a taboo in cuisine, because the name of the plant got totally interwoven with the opium it contains and the heroin made of that. Thus, at most, they pour a little of poppy seeds at the top of some pastries as decoration, but that’s all. Poor foreigners do not know that poppy seeds themselves do not involve any danger, so they are usually shocked when hearing about Hungarian dishes of poppy seeds…

10. Various soups: especially the cold, sweet, pink ones

It can be said that Hungarians love soups: compared to many other countries Hungarians eat much more of this kind of dish. That’s okay, but, when instead of serving the usual hot salty soup for the first course the waiter serves some cold pink liquid, which is even sweet, foreigners get set back on their heels. They can cope with it better at the end of the courses, as a dessert…

The term “foreigners” is, of course, very generally here, stands mostly for the tourists and students coming from the western countries. Besides, there are many open-minded and flexible people among them, who enjoy discovering the Hungarian cuisine. Just like there are many Hungarians who would never ever taste the kidney and brains, or the rooster testicle stew. Therefore, this list is very subjective, please read it that way.

Ce: bm




    Quark cheese is absolutely not the one hungarians using. Not even cottage cheese. The one they using is specifically the dry curd cottage cheese.

  2. Anonymous

    Quark cheese? What is that?? Ohhh you mean dry cottage cheese!

  3. Peter

    Most of the article ISfalse information.
    1.There are hundreds of dishes that do not have paprika.
    2.The often use of onions are hardly a Hungarian practice. Being a chef I know that many cuisine use a lot of onions.
    3.Yes we use sour cream often, bur so does other cuisines; Mexican, American, German, Polish and so.on
    4. We do not use any quark or cottage cheese. We use so called Turo, which is more like Pot cheese. Cottage cheese is made with a different bacteria culture.
    5. Cold fruit soups are known in many cuisines.
    So what makes Hungarian cuisine different? The use of spice and herb combination, the recipes that are rooted from the Hungarian culture and the love of cooking for the family.


  4. Anonymous

    Roasted blood shouldn’t be disgusting or shocking any foreigner, the “black pudding” ( blood sausage as
    you called it) in the western countries is made from blood as well.

  5. Anonymous

    It’s called Farmer’s cheese around here (USA) That’s what we buy here to make kőrözött or túrós crapes.

  6. CWS

    In England a bacon fat ” butty” is very popular…. Especially among the working class…. Tea cakes or bread…

  7. Anonymous

    I was raised on those food love it yet to met a person who did not appreciate our food

  8. Anonymous

    I have lived in Hungary for a few three month stints and have traveled there 10 to 12 times. The food, the people, the music is wonderful. I have learned to make many of these dishes and my family loves them. This week I will make summer pickles, yum.

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