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.
After 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.
At 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.