(Mister North’s in Budapest for an old university friend’s wedding this weekend). I was determined to enjoy lángos for breakfast, as I’d read it’s as Magyar a food experience as paprika or goose liver, and much more unhealthy.
The local English language edition of Time Out recommended a stand-up gaff in Fény utcai piac market near Moszkva Tér. My friend and I wandered about, eyes on stalks at the profusion of local produce, from freshly picked cherries and strawberries, kohlrabi and paprika to kolbász sausages and fogas (pike-perch from Lake Balaton). Eventually we tracked down a tiny stall at the back of the building: the smell of fat and garlic wafted across the queue of punters waiting patiently for their cholesterol levels to be boosted heartily.
We tried ordering two sima lángos (the basic kind where one paints on a garlic paste and flakes of salt) in halting Hungarian, but the nice lady behind the counter helped up out by replying in much less poor English. We also decided to accompany these with a pint of the local dark beer (well, most locals seemed to be doing this even though it was only mid-morning, so who where we to argue?)
It may’ve been unhealthy, but boy was it ever good. Think deep-fried garlic bread or focaccia; light yet filling, with a superbly nutty beer on the side. Next time I’d like to graduate to the significantly more unhealthy sour cream and cheese numbers which are so popular with the locals. Who needs an Ulster fry when you can have your heart attack on a napkin in your hand, with a pint on the side? Marvellous!
I’m surprised we Norn Irish folk haven’t fully embraced lángos: they may be ‘foreign’ but after all they’re made with flour and potato, deep fried, and salted heavily. If it wasn’t for the lashings of garlic on the top I’d suggest this would be a prime candidate take over kebabs and pizza as a post-pub meal in Belfast on a Saturday night.