Symbols of Hungary

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I often wish that I could afford to take another trip to Hungary. I miss Pest’s Central Market Hall and the walled gardens behind Buda Castle, the sunny lawns on Margaret Island, the spires of the Fisherman’s Bastion looking out over the Danube River, the white and sea-green cabins along Lake Balaton, and even the rotten sulfur scent of the mineral-filled Lake Hévíz. I cherish any moment that lets me feel like I’m back in my ancestors’ homeland, which is why I couldn’t wait for the 39th Annual Hungarian Festival in New Jersey.

Of course, food was my first stop at the festival. Luckily, they sold my favorite Hungarian snack: lángos. This delicious circle of puffy fried dough is often topped with a garlic/oil glaze, then slathered with sour cream and sprinkled with cheese. It can also be bought plain or with a variety of toppings, but the sour cream and cheese version is hands-down my favorite.

LangosMy mom decided to eat another, more well-known Hungarian dish: stuffed cabbage.

Stuffed cabbageAfter filling our bellies to capacity, we browsed some of the market stalls, which sold a variety of Hungary-related trinkets, like Hungarian CDs, embroidery with traditional Hungarian folk patterns, and jars and jars of Hungarian paprika.

Hungarian embroideryAt an indoor exhibit, we saw samples of expensive porcelain made in a Herend, a small Hungarian town with a population of about 4,000. Each piece is crafted and painted by hand, and when I visited Hungary with my grandparents several years ago, we actually went to a museum that showcased these figurines and the delicate task of creating them.

Hungarian figurinesUnfortunately I didn’t get to see any of the folk dancing or the fashion show of traditional Hungarian attire, but I guess there’s always next year!

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7 thoughts on “Symbols of Hungary

  1. Happy to find another heritage Hungarian (on one side for me). I am going to see about attending this year’s festival, thanks for the info! I was in Budapest in the early nineties, a lovely and haunting city.

      • No, I remember “pillango” for butterfly and that is about it. I never knew more than please and thank you, and a smattering of French which is less useful than Russian or German in Hungary, so when I went exploring it was always necessary to keep track of how to get back, because I wasn’t going to be able to ask in the language if I got lost!

        • I know what you mean. I studied the language and speak it a bit, but I didn’t feel confident with it when I was in Hungary so I always made sure to be overly prepared with maps and a guide book. Though I found that, when I went at least, a large number of people spoke some English so it wound up pretty ok

  2. Joann Doka

    Yep. if God wants we can go back next year and eat that delicious food again… and maybe I can even get to have a Langos, lol!

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