If you are one of my readers you probably know that I am not Hungarian. Then why would I write about Hungarians if I am not one of them? I figured that being married to one for ? (don’t ask me how many) years qualifies me as an insider. After all, what better way to know a nation? So here is what you should know about Hungarians before you travel to Hungary.
Hungarians don’t open up too easily
Hungarians are perceived as introvert and quiet people. They are basically friendly, polite, and usually open-minded, but not easily approachable. They are also very straightforward and will seldom hide their discontent. If they dislike something they will let you know right away.
Most Hungarians view foreigners with skepticism and tend to be suspicious of people they don’t know. Part of the reason is the language barrier. Their education system is not as good as in the other European countries, so less people speak foreign languages. Continue Reading
Over the course of history, Hungary had to defend its borders against many enemies so the Hungarians had to build massive castles to protect themselves. Many of these castles have been destroyed in battles or sieges and have never been rebuilt, but some of them are still standing today, as a testimony of the country’s heroic past. One of these castles is in the little town of Eger. Its proximity to Budapest makes Eger an easy day-trip, especially by car. The little town of Eger is more famous today for its wine and thermal baths than it is for its castle. People tend to forget history. Eger is located in the heart of Hungary’s wine country and is famous for its Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) wine. Unfortunately, our time in Eger was too short so we didn’t do any wine testing, but we visited the Castle and the Baths instead.
The Eger castle was the home of the episcopal seat in the region. It also served as a fortress. In the 16th century, the Hungarians gathered here under the leadership of István Dobó, managed to withstand the Turks for five-weeks. The event is remembered as The Siege of Eger. The fortress in now a protected monument where various programs are offered to the visitors.Continue Reading
We can rightly say that food has played an important role in the evolution of the European cultures, marking the differences between nations and classes. The type of food we eat, how we prepare it, consume and share it, is very revealing of who we are and where we are from, or as the renowned gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin was saying:“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
The Hungarian cuisine is definitely not for people on a diet, but it is one of the reasons I go back there almost every year. It uses a lot of sour cream, lard, paprika, fried garlic and onion. Hungarian food may seem heavy, but it is very rich in flavor and aroma and extremely tasty. Because I married into a Hungarian family, Hungarian food was not a novelty for me when I first visited Budapest, but rather a reminder of my mother-in-law’s cooking. Here are some Hungarian signature dishes that I grew so accustomed to during my married life:
Goulash (Hungary’s national dish – a stew made with beef, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and paprika