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Lesson Transcript

Simone: All about lesson 7. Top Five Hungarian Dishes.
Csaba: This lesson will be about the gorgeous dishes Hungary has to offer.
Simone: Yep all the way from Deciphering menus to some insider tips on what to try.
Csaba: Okay now one thing that we are going to help you with so you don’t go hungry is Hungarian menus.
Simone: Yes luckily Hungarian menus are quite straightforward and often have pictures.
Csaba: And due to Hungary’s popularity among tourists, most menus have English and German translations on them.
Simone: Yeah but I remember going to this really small village outside Budapest and there isn’t a single word in English.
Csaba: That is a possibility in more local places.
Simone: And this is where the Hungarian alphabet comes in handy.
Csaba: Sure and the dishes we will present today will be no problem.

Lesson focus

Simone: Right. I say we jump right into it then. What can people expect from Hungarian food?
Csaba: As I mentioned earlier, Hungary has one of the richest food cultures in the world and the base of most Hungarian food is, as you guessed it Paprika.
Simone: Besides Paprika, Pork and Chicken are also very basic foods for the Hungarians as well as Bell Peppers and Tomatoes.
Csaba: Yes having a lot of agricultural land, it is easy to get fresh vegetables everywhere.
Simone: What else can people expect about Hungarian food?
Csaba: It depends on where you are to some degree. The same dish can be slightly different depending on where you are in Hungary.
Simone: A lot depends on what foods are native to the area.
Csaba: Yes but generally all restaurants in Hungary have some basic dishes that they serve that can be found all over the country.
Simone: Like Hungarian food at home though. The main cooking methods are baking, frying and stewing.
Csaba: Yes. There are also lot of vegetables in Hungarian dishes, raw, boiled or cooked.
Simone: And the food is usually accompanied by fried or oven cooked potatoes right?
Csaba: Potatoes are a steady pillar in Hungarian food as well as bread of course.
Simone: Yes I have to say I have never seen a Hungarian table without bread.
Csaba: Yes bread was once considered to be life itself and so the Hungarian people treasured that bread with their meal very much.
Simone: It’s tasty and cheap too. I love going to the bakers in the morning and buying a fresh baked loaf of bread. Moving on, something cool to try as well are seasonal dishes
Csaba: Yes there are some dishes that everyone goes crazy for when they are in season.
Simone: One I know for sure is töltött káposzta or stuffed cabbage.
Csaba: Oh yes it’s very famous.
Simone: It’s usually eaten around the holiday season.
Csaba: Not necessarily but it is very often on the table around Christmas but you can pretty much get it any time of the year. Anyway especially around Christmas and New Years, there are many different seasonal sweets like Beigli.
Simone: The Hungarians love their sweets. I remember thinking they were ridiculously sweet when I first had them but they are so tasty that you just can’t stop eating them and eventually you get used to the sweetness.
Csaba: Indeed.
Simone: What about etiquette and table manners?
Csaba: Etiquette can be quite tricky sometimes but to be honest, there isn’t too much to worry about in Hungary.
Simone: But there are a few points that need to be mentioned.
Csaba: Yes definitely. First you have to say Jó étvágyat! which is something like Bon Appétit. It is customary to say so but if someone says it before you do, you just go Köszönöm! or thanks or you can also say Viszont kívánom! which is like to you too.
Simone: On the other hand though, I don’t remember a lot of talking around the table.
Csaba: Yes there is even a proverb about how Hungarians don’t talk while eating. I don’t think it’s true though. My family doesn’t stop talking all throughout the meal.
Simone: But I think a Hungarian meal is still much faster than a lot of other countries meals.
Csaba: That is true actually. We are fast eaters.
Simone: All right. Any other rules?
Csaba: Just what common sense dictates, don’t bite the bread, tear off little pieces instead.
Simone: I think that’s just common sense. How about drinking then?
Csaba: Well I’d say that if the host drinks the entire shot glass in one gulp, you are probably expected to do the same.
Simone: That can be tough after about the tenth minute.
Csaba: Correct. Also when drinking beer, try not to toast and clink glasses with it.
Simone: That’s got something to do with the revolution right?
Csaba: Yes after the Revolution of 1848, the Austrian leaders toasted with beer while executing the Hungarian generals at least this is the legend.
Simone: So you still don’t toast with beer?
Csaba: Actually a lot of people believe that since it’s been more than 150 years, we are allowed to do it again. What sense it makes, I have no idea.
Simone: So just to be on the safe side, try to wait and see how people around the table drink beer.
Csaba: Indeed.
Simone: So let’s talk about the top five foods to try in Hungary. These are all like the yummiest of the yummy and the must eats.
Csaba: Yeah. Okay number five is lecsó.
Simone: Oh my Goodness! I miss it so much.
Csaba: This is a vegetable stew mostly made of bell peppers and tomatoes.
Simone: Some people also add eggs, sausages and rice.
Csaba: Yes its best on older tomatoes and the bell peppers are ripe. Not necessarily but I would say it’s a seasonal food.
Simone: I am getting hungry just thinking of it.
Csaba: All right let’s move on then. Number 4 is called hortobágyi húsos palacsinta.
Simone: Or in English Pancake Hortobágyi style. Can you say that one more time for us Csaba?
Csaba: Hortobágyi húsos palacsinta.
Simone: Thank you. Let’s continue.
Csaba: Hungarians really take their pancake seriously. This is a good example of a salty one.
Simone: What’s Hortobágyi style?
Csaba: You see, I am not quite sure but it is basically a good stew stuffed inside the pancake and covered in sour cream.
Simone: Umm yummy.
Csaba: Number three. I’d like to introduce the simplest and most well known food in Hungary. It’s called rántott szelet.
Simone: Oh yeah. It’s everywhere. What exactly does rántott mean?
Csaba: It’s the method of cooking. Basically it’s Wiener Schnitzel. Hungarians can fry anything in bread crumbs and they often do.
Simone: So whenever we see the word rántott, it means fried in bread crumbs.
Csaba: Yes. It may not be the most special or healthiest food in the world but it’s simple and tasty. Something you would eat during your lunch break on a weekday.
Simone: All right. So shall we go on?
Csaba: Number two would be sült oldalas which is Oven baked ribs in English.
Simone: Can you say that one again?
Csaba: Sült oldalas.
Simone: Right and it very often comes with potatoes and other baked vegetables.
Csaba: Yes the meat goes very tender from the high temperature and it has a very nice gravy too.
Simone: All right. Where do we go from here?
Csaba: Number one must be Goulash or in Hungarian gulyás It is basically a good beef soup with vegetables and occasionally noodles.
Simone: Yes there are as many varieties as households.
Csaba: You can also try babgulyás or Bean Goulash, a plate of this and you probably shouldn’t have a second course. Go home and sleep for about 5 hours instead.
Simone: Is it really that heavy?
Csaba: I wouldn’t say heavy but maybe a bit filling and yes you should definitely try it.
Simone: So having mentioned all the famous and popular foods, we are going to give you the top five foods for the Brave.
Csaba: Yes some of these are really famous foods in Hungary that I love.
Simone: I think we should start with #5, the easier one first.
Csaba: All right. Number 5 is májashurka. It means something like Liver sausage.
Simone: Doesn’t sound that bad.
Csaba: Well I remember, it’s still just #5. This type of sausage is always baked and it has ground liver, white rice and a whole lot of spices.
Simone: You can get it fresh from any butcher.
Csaba: So #4 and I will try to make it a bit harder this time kakashere pörkölt.
Simone: It translates to Rooster testicle stew, really?
Csaba: Yes to be honest with you, I am not a big fan either. Yet you can run into this very often in Hungary.
Simone: I will try to forget about this one and you could just give us #3.
Csaba: Gizzard stew or in Hungarian zúzapörkölt.
Simone: It doesn’t sound a whole lot better, but can you explain what pörkölt means in both of these dishes?
Csaba: Pörkölt or stew in Hungarian means a basis of onion, salt, paprika and pepper
Simone: And you can make this stew with pretty much everything pork, chicken.
Csaba: Testicles, gizzard.
Simone: Yes thank you and even vegetables and mushrooms.
Csaba: They are all called pörkölt.
Simone: That’s right. Okay next.
Csaba: Number two is disznósajt.
Simone: The English for that is head cheese or pig cheese.
Csaba: Right it’s a cold meat dish that is made of whatever other people would consider less appealing when slaughtering a pig.
Simone: Huh I don’t know about that like what?
Csaba: Whatever is on the head obviously like ears, nose and that little meat you can find there.
Simone: I guess I shouldn’t have asked. Is it eaten cold?
Csaba: Yes it goes through a process that makes the entire thing look like a piece of cold cuts basically and it can be stored for a long time.
Simone: Okay shall we do #1?
Csaba: Definitely it is velőrózsa.
Simone: All right. Can’t you translate for us?
Csaba: Pig brain.
Simone: Oh my god! What can you do with that?
Csaba: It’s a delicacy. You can fry it, use it as stuffing in other meat dishes and also just mix it with scrambled eggs.
Simone: But it’s brain.
Csaba: And it’s delicious.
Simone: You can have my piece.


Csaba: Thank you. I hope everyone gets the chance to try these very special Hungarian foods and much, much more.
Simone: Me too. Hungarian food in Hungary also known as food when in Hungary is really delicious and there is so much variety. I think everyone can find things they really love.
Csaba: Just don’t forget to be a little brave.
Simone: And remember that if you can’t understand the menu, you may have no choice but to be brave.
Csaba: Yes just close your eyes and point and see what you get.
Simone: Good idea.