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Am I HUNGARY for Hungarian Food?

September 27, 2011

I’m the first to admit that I’m not an adventurous eater whatsoever.  In fact, I tend to go out to eat at the same restaurants and order the same food.  This way, I’ll always know I’ll be getting something I can eat and that is good.  Sometimes, my apprehension about stepping outside of my food comfort zone comes from the fact that I’m afraid if I try something new, I will not only be forced to eat something I don’t like, but I’ll have to pay for this something that I don’t like.  Double whammy!  So, I eliminate that problem by always going with the safe choice.  Now, when it comes to ethnic foods, I’m even less adventurous.  I’m really quite a picky food eater to begin with, and since ethnic foods tend to be made with ingredients I’m unfamiliar with, I’m even less likely to want to try anything new.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.  For instance, going to eat at someone else’s house where you are the guest and someone made a meal.  At that point, to be polite I will try and eat everything and be polite about it.  I hate peas and carrots, but if someone made it for me and I was a guest in their house, I’d force it down and tell the cook that it was good.

The equivalent thing happened to me a few years back when I was in Budapest.  I’ve never been to Hungary before, never had Hungarian food before.  Remember, I’m not an adventurous food eater.  We happened to be there on Christmas Eve on a tour, and had decided to go to a tour-sponsored dinner at a Hungarian restaurant because, really, nothing else was open.  So, here we are at a small, family run Hungarian restaurant having Christmas Eve dinner.  It was obvious that they put out their best food for us and were working really hard just to please  us.  They even brought in traditional Hungarian musicians and dancers to perform and entertain us.

In a situation like that, how do you refuse to eat something?  It’s a preset meal so there’s nothing I can even do to ask for something different to eat.  And you hate to be rude, so you’ve got to at least look like you’re enjoying the meal and eating what you can of it.  It would be in bad taste to do anything else.

The first thing we were served was an appetizer that consisted of stuffed cabbage rolls served with some sort of a cream sauce that had to be flavored with paprika, among other things.  There’s no way you get that orange color of the sauce without the paprika, which is a Hungarian specialty spice.  The appetizer itself was ok.  It’s not something I’d walk into a restaurant to order, especially because I’m not a huge fan of cream sauces in general, or having food drenched in sauce to begin with.  But I did at least try a few bites of the appetizer and I ate what I could.

For the main course, we were offered a choice of a sampler plate that consisted of small samples of 3 different entrees, or we could get a full plate of one of the three entrees.  I figured it might be safer to take the sampler plate since I’d never had Hungarian food and I figured I should be able to find something out of the 3 entrees that I’d be able to eat.  Of the 3 entrees, I discovered that I quite like Hungarian goulash.  I was actually surprised about it because that was the one item I wasn’t sure I’d like.  Hungarian goulash is a soup or stew that is traditionally made with meat and vegetables and seasoned with paprika and other spices.  It was quite flavorful and tasty and was the one thing on the dish I actually finished.  I tried at least a bite or two of the other entrees, but I just didn’t find that the taste was to my liking.

Finally, came dessert.  It’s really hard to note enjoy dessert, especially since one of the best bakeries I’ve been to, Cafe Gerbaud, is located in Budapest.  The dessert we were served was a flaky pastry-like dessert, almost like a baklava, served with chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream.  You can beat I ate my whole dessert!

Overall, Hungarian food was interesting.  I discovered that I like goulash and the dessert.  I’m not so sure about anything else.  It was a good experience to have, but I’m not sure I’ll be seeking out Hungarian food in the future.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2011 7:55 am

    I don’t know if it is because I’m used to portuguese and spanish food but when I go abroad I hardly surprised by the food and always miss home-food.

    But Hungary really impressed me too when I went there. Really delicious food or how they would say it: “Nagyon finom”. Thanks for sharing the delicious photos 🙂

  2. Amanda permalink
    October 12, 2011 2:18 pm

    I don’t know about the food, but the dishes are adorable!

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