Traditional Eating Patterns in Hungary
In Hungary, people usually have a large breakfast. Hungarian breakfast generally is an open sandwich with fresh bread or toast, butter, cheese or different cream cheeses, túró cheese or körözött (Liptauer cheese spread), cold cuts such as ham, liver paté (called májkrém or kenőmájas), bacon, salami, mortadella, sausages, beerwurst or different Hungarian sausages: kolbász.
Traditionally fresh tomatoes and green peppers (sometimes scallion, radish and cucumber) are served with these when they are in season. Eggs (fried, scrambled or boiled) may also be part of breakfast.
For many, breakfast is a cup of milk, tea or coffee with pastries, a bun, a kifli or a strudel with jam or honey, or cereal, such as muesli and perhaps fruit. Children can have rice pudding (tejberizs) or semolina cream (tejbegríz) for breakfast topped with cocoa powder and sugar or with fruit syrup. Hot drinks are preferred for breakfast.
Villásreggeli or brunch, (literally breakfast with fork) is a more luxurious big breakfast given on special occasions or holidays. Often guests are invited. Deviled eggs, cold steak, cold salads, salmon-omelet, pancakes, a spicy cheese spread made with sheep milk cheese, caviar, foie gras, fruit salads, compote fruit yogurts, fruit juices and pastries, cakes and cookies may be served.
Lunch is the major meal of the day, traditionally with several courses. Hungarian lunch starts with soup. Cold appetizers may be served sometimes. Soup is followed by a main dish. The main dish is a dish including meat, side dishes and salad (or pickled vegetables - paprika, cucumber, sauerkraut, etc.), which precedes the dessert. Fruit may follow. In Hungary, pancakes (or rather, crepes) may be served as a main dish or as a dessert but not for breakfast. Salad is typically served with meat dishes, made of lettuce with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, or some pickled variant of them. A simple thin sliced cucumber or tomato salad in vinaigrette is also typical.
Salads like potato salad are made of boiled potatoes, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, fried or boiled meat or fish, in vinaigrette, aspic or mayonnaise. These salads are eaten as appetizers or even as a main course.
Some people and children eat a light meal in the afternoon, called uzsonna, usually an open sandwich, pastry, slice of cake or fruit.
Dinner is typically less important than lunch, and there is no typical Hungarian dinner. It may either be a lunch-type meal, with multiple courses and the same foods one would serve for lunch, or it could be the same as a traditional Hungarian breakfast, with bread, cold cuts, cheeses, tomatoes and peppers as described above. When dinner is an important occasion it will be prepared the same way and with the same courses a full lunch would be. When it's not an important occasion, it's a good time to eat leftovers.