When challenged to name a dish from Eastern Europe, the only dish I could muster is the Borsch. And I’m not referring to the authentic Russian style soup but the Hong-Kong style one made from tomatoes and cabbage… But I’ve watched enough episodes of MasterChef (tv series) to know that the modified version is a far cry from the traditional soup which is made from beetroot resulting in it’s distinctive red colour. Other than that, I know next to nothing about Easter Europe cuisines. It was a challenge to plan our meals in Hungary and it was made worse when I didn’t have the luxury of time to do my research.
While I managed to find out what is Hungary‘s national dish and listed a few other dishes (with names that I could not even pronounce) in my itinerary before the trip, I was still working on the exact places to visit (including attraction sites) during my train ride from Vienna to Budapest! We had only one confirmed reservation in Budapest and all other meals were unaccounted for.
So the dish known as Goulash is apparently THE national dish of Hungary and oddly I can’t find a definitive answer as to whether its a soup or stew or in-between. We initially shortlisted a place called Stand 25 Bistro – opened by a Hungarian chef Tamás Széll who won some prizes at the Bocuse d’Or European competition, but we couldn’t fit it into our schedule as the location was slightly out of the way from our sightseeing plan.
Nonetheless we found Blue Rose Restaurant (Kék Rózsa) located in the Jewish Quarters area since we were there to see The Great Synagogue of Budapest (also known as the Central Synagogue). Will touch on it later.
Blue Rose Restaurant is a very casual place for rather value-for-money meal. Our main focus was to try Goulash but didn’t want to spend too much on a meal in case the dish was not our cup of tea. We ordered a Goulash soup with beef meat and a Chicken breast in Paprika sauce with rice to share. And took the opportunity to try the local Tokaji white wine.
At first glance, the brownish-red soup certainly didn’t look attractive to me. But after scrutinizing the ingredients, I realised that it was packed with familiar combination of potatoes, carrots, onions and beef. That helps in easing my apprehension.
All my doubts were gone after I took a sip of this delish soup. The heart-warming, savoury and spicy soup was perfect for winter! This soup is only truly Hungarian and distinctive when it packs in lots of Paprika – the soul of this dish.
Our main of Chicken breast in Paprika sauce pales in comparison to the Goulash. In fact I was expecting the paprika sauce to be red instead of milky white? I chose to try this main as I read somewhere that paprika chicken is a popular dish of Hungarian origin. For a start, I wasn’t a fan of chicken breast. Secondly the gravy was a tad too gluey for my liking. Hence this dish didn’t go well for me, but managed to wash it down with the nice sweet Tokaji wine (it’s not the dessert wine kind of sweet though) which was smooth and fruity.
Despite the slight hiccup with the chicken paprika, I was happy to report that I love Hungarian Goulash Soup~
Other Photos Taken:
Arrived at the Keleti Pályaudvar railway station in Budapest. Although it looked as huge as other railway station in Western Europe, it doesn’t feel as well-maintained. The first obstacle we faced was none of the lifts that connect to the underground was working!!!
The view from our room didn’t disappoint as we could see the Buda Castle, Chain Bridge and Fisherman’s Bastion across the Danube River. =)
Same as Salzburg, it snowed overnight and we woke up to a magical Budapest as it was covered with snow.
I still had a photo taken at the Lego “Piece of Piece” Exhibition last year in Singapore.
There are a number of statues spread around Budapest, and it was said that some of them offer luck to those who manage to find them. We chanced upon one of them near our hotel – The Little Princess. Too bad I missed the opportunity as I only got to know about the “ritual” needed to be carried out at the site in order to bring luck while writing this post. It was rumoured that rubbing the Princess’ knees can bring both luck and self-actualization – which explains why the knees are so well-polished! Hmmm…perhaps I should just try rubbing this photo that I took haha…
Visited the Great Market Hall which is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest, Hungary. One level 1, the stalls sell a huge variety of produces including vegetables, fruits, meat, wine, paprika etc. The sourvenir stalls and cooked food stalls are located on level 2 of the spacious building.
This is the largest synagogue in Europe and the third largest in the World. An afterthought – I didn’t know that there are synagogues in Singapore too.
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