ROOT | VERSE

narratives of food, drink, & life

Tag: langos

Lángos: Deep-Fried Death Trap

Lángos.

The culinary equivalent of it sounded like a good idea at the time. 

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During our month long stay in Budapest, we ate this dangerous/amazing street food five times. Each time we did, the experience became both progressively better and worse.

There are Serbian, Czech, Polish, and other variations on Lángos but Hungarians are the progenitors of this amazing heart attack food.

Lángos is deep-fried bread essentially, with a yeasty dough that sometimes includes potatoes and sour cream which makes it almost like a mutant latke. The dough (roughly the size of a small pizza) is dropped into a vat of oil, and slathered with garlic sauce, sour cream, and mounds of cheese.

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The way people talk about Lángos in Budapest is similar to the way New Yorkers talk about pizza, which is initially what attracted me to it–that and the carnal grossness of the food itself. For such a simple set of ingredients there was an amazing amount of variation among the Lángos that we tried.

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In search of the perfect specimen, I found three major categories:

-The Death Cracker: with less yeast and no potato, this version was crunchy and oily. We found these at a couple of markets, none of which were recommended to us.

-The Nuclear Lattke: These contained mostly shredded potato, but were topped and prepared just as traditional Lángos is. Not the original, but satisfying nonetheless. This popular variation is sometimes called “Potato Lángos” or krumplis lángos

-The Last Supper: There are some Lángos that are softer..the dough is thicker, almost like a pizza crust. We found our favorite through our friend Kalman, who swore it to be the best, at the market on the Buda side of the city called Feny Utca Market.

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I now believe that in the manner in which cats are said to have nine lives, humans are given around five Lángos before the body revolts. Once the quota is surpassed, the territory is treacherous.  So choose your Lángos wisely, and the experience will be unforgettable.

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Autumn We’ve Come Prepared: A Slow Borscht For A Long Day

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Just like that, from one day to the next, the sun glistening onto the waves of the Danube were replaced with dark clouds and a fierce wind.

The first couple of days we fortressed ourselves from the cold, polished off liters of beer, and worked furiously around our flat. Though sneaking ourselves bundled toward the stalls of the Great Central Market in search of some deep-fried sin or another was an ever-present danger/possibility, we decided that a break from the langos life was in order. Hungarian cuisine is magnificent but you won’t survive a great many winters unless roots and greens are consumed at some point.

I jumped at the opportunity to begin making stews, and with boiled beets and stock, cabbage, and some assorted vegetables in the fridge, Borscht was an easy front runner.

While the soup means something different to every country (and many micro-regions) of Central Europe and beyond, my favorite versions have always included: beets, cabbage, dill, & thick hunks of rye bread. I’d recommend boiling beets and saving the juices, which with a simple rue, keep the broth light, rich, and earthy–and don’t forget peppers, golden (or yukon) potatoes, and heaving spoonfuls of paprika.

And I don’t care what anybody says, I will cook this soup as long as I can stand to wait around with a house full of its inescapable aroma.

Having recently visited the Szimpla Kert Market as mentioned in my last post, I still had some fabulous caraway cheese to shred over the top in the absence of rye bread, which absolved me from feeling guilty about not leaving the house once.

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