Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

Foods Commonly Used in Hungary


The staple foods of the nomad Magyars in earliest times included meat from their herds of sheep (lamb, sheep, mutton), game, millet and groats, some fish and Zsendice, a fresh cheese made from sheep’s milk. Foods were cooked mainly over open fires on sticks or in huge kettles. Later, pork, lard, paprika, and sour cream were added to these staples.

As the Magyars settled down, adaptations from other cultures were added to the staple diet: more fruits and vegetables, onions and other seasonings, noodles and dumplings. But the cornerstones of the Hungarian cuisine continue to be pork and lard, onions and paprika and sour cream. Tea and kumis (fermented mare’s milk) were the earliest beverages, and are still used; but coffee and the fine locally produced wines are today’s staples.

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