Hungarian Goulash: Good for the Soul

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the chance to get inside a local’s home when I travel, and the best way to do that seems to be by booking a “tour” that includes a meal. I’ve done so in China and in Amish Country, and now I’ve added Budapest to my experiences.

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I visited the home of Krizsta, a Hungarian woman who made me Hungarian goulash. I arrived at a green door facing heavy construction and a park (Klauzel ter) that housed as many homeless as the apartments behind the door did. Krizsta buzzed me in and I walked up two flights of stairs to find her behind another green door. I was the only person invited for the meal and we arranged a lunchtime visit.

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First, she asked me if I’d like wine or beer (part of the deal) and I sat at her kitchen table watching her cook while we talked like any two women who find they have much in common. We discovered that we were the same age and twice married. We both had grown children from our first marriages and a younger child from the second. I am already divorced and she is separated. We chatted about being single at this stage in our lives and remarkably, both embraced it as being a wonderful turn of events.

Then we talked about travels. We have both traveled extensively and love so many different parts of the world. She is planning to relocate to a Scandinavian country as the politics in Hungary become worse. I though maybe I should, too, if the November elections here in America make Trump our new President. She didn’t think that was really possible. I’m all too afraid that it might be.

We dined together at her dining room table and turned our conversation to places of interest in Budapest. I ate my goulash and finished it off with some homemade cherry cookies she’d made without even realizing what a huge cherry lover I am. Then she sent me home with a tin full of cookies to take back to my family in America. I felt like I’d visited a friend.
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The next night, I stopped at the Andrassy Bizstro and ordered their Tourist Menu. It included Goulash Soup with spicy peppers and a spicy chili mix on the side, Chicken Paprikash, and a jam crepe for dessert. I’d never tell Krizsta this, but I liked this goulash better. Hers needed the spices she didn’t add. My waitress was delightful, but of course, we didn’t sit across the table from each other and chat. That’s what made my Goulash dinner with Krizsta so special. But one thing is certain– both meals were good for my soul.
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Goulash soup with spicy peppers to add

Goulash soup with spicy peppers to add

Chicken Paprikash with noodles

Chicken Paprikash with noodles

Have you eaten in a local’s home when you traveled? Is it something you would do?

7 responses to “Hungarian Goulash: Good for the Soul

  1. It’s funny she gave you cherry cookies. I sure I remember you saying in a blog very recently how much you love cherry flavor. Dining in a local’s home sounds like a nice experience. It must be interesting just to see the place, let alone eat the food.

    • Good memory! I love cherries and she didn’t even know that! I loved seeing her home and talking with her while she cooked. We talked about marriage and politics and all sorts of things. I was very glad to be the only guest. I could have talked with her all day.

  2. So cool that you had such an amazing connection with her. It’s crazy how similar we all are, no matter what part of the world we live in.

    I guess I haven’t eaten with a local yet when we traveled, although we did have an AirBnB host that left a mini cooler on our doorstep with fresh banana bread in it. Needless to say that was awesome! 🙂

    • I was amazed at the similarities we shared. Some very intimate ones that we might not have shared with other people we knew, but felt safe in sharing with a stranger. She’s someone I might have liked to stay in touch with, but wouldn’t necessarily know how to do so. Still, it was an incredible afternoon with her and one that was priceless to me.

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