Visitors to Hungary will find a country that still places faith in a hearty breakfast, laden with spicy meat, chunky bread and dairy. Vegetarians might find choices limited, as will the health-conscious, but for the unfettered gourmet, Hungary offers ample opportunity to sample some of the country's signature dishes from the very first meal of the day.
Toast and Spread
Toast and bread find their way onto the Hungarian breakfast table, but the national preference is to pair them with strong rather than sugary flavors. Turo is a simple cheese unique to Hungary that combines elements of curd, ricotta and cream cheese, but is salt-free and low in fat. Korozott is turo cheese flavored with chopped onion, tomatoes and paprika. Equally common is majkrem, a liver pate for spreading on toast, a healthier alternative to greavel, a smooth cream made from rendered lard.
Sausage lovers on a trip to Hungary have the chance to enjoy succulent homemade pork links starting with the first meal of the day. Majas hurka are a boiled pork liver, tongue and rice sausage with plenty of lard and herbs, while veres hurka adds pork blood to the equation for a black pudding style sausage. Both are eaten with crusty bread, mustard and even sauerkraut and pickles. Also typical of Hungary’s robust approach to breakfast is the tendency to tuck into disznosajt, a finely sliced head cheese made of jellied pork offal and organs with a tart, spicy flavor.
Pastries and Breads
Hungarian cuisine gives a nod to continental refinement with some delicate pastries and strudels. Kifli is the Hungarian version of the croissant, while retes are sweet strudels that load cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon rind and icing sugar onto a delicate filo pastry. Pogacsa can be picked up in bakeries or street stalls, and are the go-to breakfast snack for those in a rush, with a consistency between a scone and a dumpling -- crisp on the outside, and warm and doughy on the inside. Langos are another street food made of deep-fried bread, traditionally baked in a brick oven and usually topped with cream, cheese or yogurt.
Head to luxury hotels or diners that specialize in breakfasts to sample villasreggeli, the Hungarian equivalent of the big breakfast. Eggs are prepared either in an omelet, incorporating chopped onion and peppers, or deviled and dusted with paprika. To accompany a hunk of freshly baked bread, expect korozott, yogurt and pate, while proteins can range from salmon to chicken breast and cold steak, as well as kolbasz sausage, a smoked and spicy sausage imbued with paprika.
- Visit Hungary: Food and Wine
- Go to Hungary: Traditional Hungarian Cuisine
- SBS: Hungarian Recipes and Hungarian Food
- Visit Budapest: Traditional Hungarian Dishes on the Menu
- Saveur: Hungarian Comfort Food
- The Daily Telegraph: You’ll Never Go Hungry with Hungarian Food
- We Love Budapest: Have Breakfast in Hungary
- Photo Credit cynoclub/iStock/Getty Images
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