Étkezés – Meals in Hungary

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Étkezés – Meals in Hungary

In Hungary in most houses the meals are breakfast, lunch and supper. Hungarian breakfast consists of milk or tea, some cold meals with a slice of bread spreading butter or rolls, different jams, honey and toast.


In an English home four meals are served: they are breakfast, lunch, tea and the most important meal of the day is the dinner. English breakfast consists of cornflakes, ham and eggs (boiled and fried) with tomato or mushrooms, buttered toast or bread and butter with marmalade and fish may be served. Some orange juice is drunk before breakfast and tea or coffee is drunk after it.

Meals in Hungary                                              Meals in England –         to have breakfast                                       – to drink early morning tea –         to take one’s elevenses                             – to eat a substantial breakfast –         to have lunch at work/at home              – to have a snack for lunch –         to have a cold meal for supper               – to have a big dinner I usually have no breakfast at home except at weekends because I have it with my colleagues at my work. I eat some sandwiches which I have made previously or I sometimes buy ‘a cocoa snail’. I usually eat some cold cuts with rolls, green pepper or tomato and drink cold milk. Some people just eat an apple or a banana or drink a cup of tea/coffee. At weekends we have a more relaxed breakfast; we often eat ham and eggs or gypsy toast.

To make a tea (for more persons) I put the kettle under the tap and fill it up with water. Then I put it on the electric cooker (or in the microwave oven) and bring the water to boil. When the water is boiling I put the tea-bags into it. I leave them to brew for some minutes then I take them out. I serve it with sugar and lemon. To make sandwiches I cut a loaf of bread into slices and spread some butter or marge over them. I make hard-boiled eggs, cut them up and put them on the bread together with some slices of salami or cold sausages. Finally I grate some cheese and sprinkle it over the bread slices. For decoration I use paprika paste or mustard.

Lunch is the second meal of the day and people have it between twelve and half past two depending on the time of the lunch break at work. It is usually a heavy meal and most working people have it in a self-service restaurant or in the canteen of their factory. There we join to the queue. After taking a tray, the cutlery, some paper serviettes and a plastic glass we choose what we want to have. Naturally, canteen food isn’t in the same street as what your (grand) mother/wife cooks at home, but I’m not particularly choosy or fastidious about what I eat. I eat everything that is delicious and well-cooked and I don’t have particularly sweet tooth. Lunch consists of three courses: first comes some soup (clear, vegetable, meat, pea, bean or fruit soup). I generally take fruit soup, because this is my favourite.


The second course is either some meat (a pork chop, some poultry or fish, usually tuna or heck) with garnish (mashed potatoes, chips or rice) or some vegetable dish made from green peas, French beans, marrow, spinach or sorrel. Cabbage is also popular prepared as cabbage with tomatoes or stuffed cabbage. The second course may also be some noodles, pancakes, strudel (filled with fruit, cottage cheese, cabbage or poppy-seed), scones or doughnuts. The third course is always some cake or depending on the season of the year fresh or stewed fruit.

The Hungarians take great pride (are proud of) in their fish dishes, made from the delicate pike-perch caught in Lake Balaton and the many varieties that abound in the Danube or in the smaller ponds. The Fish soup is a meal itself. I think Hungarian cuisine has a good reputation and the foreigners who come here find our dishes very tasty and luscious. Hungarian Goulash e.g. is world famous but there are many other lesser-known specialities.

Among the most popular national dishes are paprika chicken with sour cream, stuffed cabbage, noodles with poppy-seed and sugar/cabbage or roasted paprika potatoes. Our national dish is noodles with cottage cheese, sour cream and scraps of roasted bacon. We are also fond of different soups; we are a soup-eating nation. Both the ‘beans soup of Jókai’ and ‘Újházi chicken broth’ are the most famous soups in Hungary. A typical Hungarian lunch is unimaginable without soup. We must mention ‘pancake Hortobágyi style’ and a pudding called ‘floating islands’ also.

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