From Goulash in Budapest to Pierogi in Krakow, there are sure to be some tasty local specialities to try in every European city.
For many people one of the pleasures of visiting different European cities is in sampling the local food specialities and trying the local beer and wine. The rise in popularity of many Eastern European destinations such as Krakow, Budapest and Vilnius has given us the opportunity to try a whole range of different cuisines which we can rarely enjoy in this country.
I first came across Pierogi in Krakow although they can be found in any Polish city as they are one of the traditional foods of Poland. Pierogi are made of thinly rolled dough with various fillings and can be eaten as a snack, a spicy first course or even a dessert. They often contain cheese, potatoes, onions and meat but the sweet Pierogi which are particularly popular during the summer contain seasonal fruits, mainly bilberries or strawberries.
Traditional Hungarian food includes warming paprika-based meaty soups and stews. If you’re staying in Budapest you really have to taste a bowl of goulash, the national dish, which is often served as more of a soup than a casserole. The accompanying dumplings or potatoes will have been simmered in meaty stock, too. You’re not going to go hungry if you like meat in Budapest and it’s not the easiest city if you’re a vegetarian either!
In Rome you can certainly eat well, as is the case throughout most of Italy. It pays to check out a restaurant before going in because it is certainly possible to pay over the odds for a very average meal. However you can also find traditional, family-run restaurants right in the heart of the city where prices are not too high. If you would rather eat on the move you will find small pizzerias where they’ll cut you a tasty piece of pizza which you can fold up and eat just like a sandwich. One note of warning however – the authorities have decreed that people are no longer allowed to eat pizza, ice creams or indeed any other food by any of Rome’s iconic fountains, including the Trevi Fountain. The ban will remain in place throughout the summer, until 31st October.
Eating out in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik can be extremely expensive but it is possible to sniff out restaurants which offer reasonable value for money. Reykjavik actually has a rich and lively culinary scene, largely based on fish including local scallops, cod and monkfish. Make sure you don’t leave without eating an Icelandic hot dog though. A hot dog is great street food and one of the most popular Icelandic dishes. Specifically, it’s the toppings that take the Icelandic hot dog from ordinary to extraordinary. Order a hot dog with ‘The Works’ and it will be covered in ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions and a remoulade sauce, which is a mixture of mayonnaise and sweet relish.