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More Than Goulash in Hungary
What is the first thing you think about when you hear about Hungary? Hungarian Goulash, of course! After spending nearly a week in Budapest, I am still not entirely sure what goulash really is! One night we went to a traditional Hungarian restaurant called Kehli where they served us hungarian goulash. It was very similar to beef stew and was served with very small noodles. They had some Hungarian guys playing music on their accordians and violins and we had a wonderful time.
Hungarians like to cook with several common ingredients, I learned. Paprika is very popular and is in shakers at tables just like salt and pepper. They also like to cook in lard and use a lot of pork and onions in their dishes. Sour cream is very common and a lot of soups and dishes I had were cream based. Strudel is popular and they have many flavors with the most common being apple, sour cherry, and poppyseed.
The last night of my conference we went to the most famous (and reportedly most expensive) restaurant in all of Budapest. It is called Gundel. We were a little bit disappointed because the menu was set and the food we were served was not as good as I think the restaurant normally serves. I heard later of the famous Gundel pancakes for dessert, but we were not served those and had some apricot with cream mousse instead. Quite disappointing, but if you are traveling to Budapest and want a nice dinner, I would still give it a try. I am convinced we had bad food because of our very large group.
My favorite place was a little vegetarian restaurant called Vegetarium. It was so yummy! The picture above is of our meal the first day I went there and it was so good I went back for lunch my last day in Budapest. The picture is of the Pumpkin Tacos and Lentil Moussaka. Both were vegan and that is a soy cream sauce on the moussaka. I also had split pea soup which was heavenly and the second time I went had a great chickpea dish with apricots in it and couscous on the side. Yummy! Oh, I almost forgot about the potato pancake we shared as an appetizer, too. It had dill and cheese on it and was mouthwateringly delicious!
I spent most of my time in Budapest, but we did go one day to Vienna, Austria. In Austria my friends and I wandered around a market for a few hours and sampled dried fruits, vegetables stuffed with goat cheese, spinach pie, and an Indian eggplant dish. We then moved on to the famous chocolate Sacher torte. We actually went to the Sacher hotel cafe and had it there. It was divine!
The market in Budapest had a lot of meat and fresh vegetables, but I did sample some yummy fresh yogurt. I just LOVE European yogurt. It is tart and thick and is not bogged down with so much sugar (or artificial sweetener) like we have here in the US. The yogurt in the market was not quite as thick as other European yogurt I have had, but it was yummy.
So that is a tour of the foods I sampled in Hungary and Austria. I ate well and enjoyed every meal!