The best way to experience a country is through its food, and no culinary trip is as gustatory and fun as one that begins in Budapest, Hungary. The city has many great, modern restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, but I’ll take humble Hungarian specialties like savory Guyas (Goulash), Paprikas chicken (Chicken with paprika), tarhonya (an egg barley) or nokkedli (gnocchi) any day. At Fakanal Etterem (Wooden Spoon Restaurant) upstairs inside Budapest’s bustling, historic Vasacsarnok Central Market, you can dine or take a basic cooking course and learn how to prepare – then dive into traditional Hungarian dishes. It’s the perfect stop for lunch; educational, inexpensive and delicious.
Paprika, Hungary’s national spice is the inspiring backbone to many Hungarian foods and at Fakanal Etterem you learn to recognize its importance. For instance in the making of Gulyas leves, (a soupier version of the stew) sautéed onions were magically transformed by the addition of a tablespoon of fresh, sweet Hungarian paprika. Suddenly the simmering kettle began emitting exotic, savory umami inducing aromas. Other diners came over from their red and white checkered tables to watch me cook and enjoy the intoxicating smells. The Gulyas paired with salad, a side of tarhonya and a mid bodied Magyar wine was a hearty meal fit for a Hungarian king - or a ravenous traveler looking to learn a little about Hungary before - and during lunch.
c. Bob Ecker 2014
Budapest Central Market Hall (gallery)
Phone: +36 (1) 484-0806
1093 Budapest, Vamhaz Korut 1-3
For tours/classes see: www.bridgetours.hu