Travel Bites: The quintessential street food of this nation is essentially deep-fried pizza
Sour cream and grated cheese are popular toppings.
Biting into a hot slice of pizza has to be one of the greatest pleasures in the world. But go too fast off target and you risk burning your mouth – or the unpleasant sensation known as ‘pizza palate’.
In Central Europe, you’ll find an ingenious and delicious fast food solution that will keep the inside of your mouth from burning for sure.
Lángos is Hungary’s favorite deep-fried flatbread, which at first glance looks like dry pizza. After being cooked in hot oil, the golden brown disc is topped with raw ingredients. One of the tastiest ways to order it is with a simple side of cold crumbled cheese.
Instead of melty hot cheese that has the potential to destroy your palate, the chilled cheddar provides real relief in the heat of the moment, and while the toppings slowly melt into the puffy fried base, you still get that sought-after cheesy umami hit.
The name lángos comes from the Hungarian word for flame. There are different stories about when and where flatbread originated. Some say it was introduced by Ottoman Turks who ruled Hungary for about 150 years; others report that it was baked as a treat in the bread-making days of Hungarian homes.
Bread moved from the wood-fired oven to the fryer after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, when small businesses began baking it in lard and oil. Until the early 1980s, there were only three common varieties of street food. Today, almost everything goes on top, with the combination of sour cream and grated cheese being one of the most popular and delicious.
Other ways to enjoy langoustines are rubbed with a little garlic butter and salt, or loaded with Hungarian kolbász sausage. Contemporary creations include chorizo, red onion and cheese or the decadent Nutella and banana dessert option.
Best eaten fresh from the fryer.
Find it abroad
Budapest is one of the best places to find your favorite street food.
What originally started as a small food stand next to an old metro station, Retro Lángos is now one of the most popular places in the Hungarian capital to enjoy lángos. Plain langos with or without garlic starts at €2.50 (NZ$4.50) (retrolangos.hu).
Nestled between rundown bars on Budapest’s liveliest party street, The Street Food Karavan is packed with food vendors serving traditional fried bread in their to lángos burgers (instagram.com/karavan_budapest).
Find it here
Langos is quickly becoming New Zealand’s new favorite festival and fair.
Auckland-based street food vendor Langos Fried Bread Puffs serves classic and contemporary dishes, including feta and tomato combinations, watercress and walnut pesto.
In New Plymouth, I Love Langos is a popular place to visit at Seaside Market (ilovelangos.business.site), while Liam’s Hungarian Langos tours South Island events and markets (facebook.com/LangosLiam).