Goulash is a stew or soup of meat and vegetables usually seasoned with paprika and other spices. It originates from medieval Hungary but is one of the national dishes of the country even today.
National Geographic collected the best places to eat this Hungarian national dish both in its home country and in the UK.
Located in the old Jewish Quarter, Gettó Gulyás serves classic dishes in offbeat surroundings (corrugated iron-clad walls, antique knickknacks). The goulash is an ‘alföldi’ version, so it contains a mix of root vegetables as well as meat, and you will also find a long list of stews, including a rich ox cheek pörköltek with buttered barley. You should leave room for the Gundel palacsinta (walnut pancakes), as well. The price is moderate, 1,300 HUF (EUR 4) per portion.
Culinary couple Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló gained their first Michelin star this year for fine dining restaurant Stand, but at their more casual outpost, Stand25, you will find dishes — including the signature goulash soup — at a fraction of the price. Located in the Downtown Market, Stand25 has an open-plan kitchen dishing up modern twists on local dishes. Try the Mangalica pork pate. A two-course lunch with goulash costs only 5,500 HUF (EUR 17).
Part of a chic boutique hotel in the historic centre, this restaurant is one of the city’s oldest. On the menu are local favourites such as cottage cheese noodles, catfish with paprika and székely goulash (meat stew with Hungarian sauerkraut). A bowl of classic goulash soup with csipetke will set you back a modest 2,180 HUF (EUR 7), and for another 1,490 HUF (EUR 5) you can wash it down with some Fóti Zwickl, a local, unfiltered craft lager.
Kollázs is an upmarket, leather-and-polished-brass type of place, within the art nouveau Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. On the lunch menu, alongside other traditional dishes such as chicken paprikash and cottage cheese dumplings, you will find a goulash spiked with root veg and csipetke, for 3,800 HUF (EUR 13). Or, if you visit for dinner, try it as a starter.
When Soho’s Gay Hussar closed last summer, it left The Rosemary as the sole Hungarian restaurant in the capital. With an abundance of plants and an arched glass roof, this place in New Cross has plenty of character — and the food stands out too. Everything is organic, with many ingredients sourced from the owners’ farm in Kent. The menu winds round the full repertoire of Hungarian cooking, but the goulash, one of four soups, is typically copious and authentic (£8.60).
This West End bistro recently reopened after a kitchen refurbishment, does a great line in Hungarian comfort food. The menu features high-cholesterol hits such as a Liptauer cheese, pork crackling spread and goose liver paté. Popular street food lángos, a deep-fried flatbread, comes with garlic, sour cream, cheese and a choice of toppings. As for the goulash, there are four different types (beef, pork, chicken and bean) lurking among a lengthy list of stews (£10.50-£11.50).
The menu at this laid-back daytime dining spot draws on various influences, from Mexican to Middle Eastern, and it’s only when you get to the section marked ‘hot dishes’ that you get a sense of owners Dora, Timi and Krisztian’s Hungarian origins. The goulash, priced at £10.25, is the real deal and is served with a hearty hunk of sourdough bread.
Paprika is a cheap and cheerful neighbourhood diner that attracts a crowd of Hungarian émigrés. Alongside an all-day breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, there’s also a shortlist of Hungarian dishes. Goulash comes with meatballs and marrow, beef or beans (£5.95).
Want to prepare goulash at home? HERE and HERE you can find the recipe to prepare the perfect goulash. We wrote HERE about the best places in Budapest where you can experience traditional Hungarian dishes.