We are in Hungary. Whether you’re at the market, at the train station, on the beach or just walking down a commercial street, sooner or later you will smell the greasy invitation of the lángos, the ubiquitous local deep-fried flat bread.
You might even encounter it in neighboring countries in Central and Eastern Europe like Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Serbia, or Romania, despite It’s part of what Hungarians broadly consider “Hungaricum”: those things made special by being uniquely Hungarian.
Either way, some assume that it appeared in the Hungarian kitchens during the Turkish occupation while, according to other opinions it has an ancient Roman origin.
When Hungarian villagers baked their bread in brick ovens, they’d save a little bit of the dough to make their savory breakfast treat.
This flatbread got its name from where it cooked, right by the láng, the Hungarian word for flame, at the front of the oven.
As home baking became less prevalent, lángos evolved into a very popular deep-fried street snack that looks a little like a pizza, and nowadays it’s deep fried in oil or lard.
Makers fry circles of yeast dough to form the chewy, crispy base. It’s then traditionally rubbed with fresh garlic and slathered with sour cream and grated cheese, but can also be loaded up with other toppings such as ham, sausage, cabbage, mushrooms, quark, or butter, and you can even make a stuffed version with some of these ingredients.
Sometimes cooks mix mashed potatoes into the dough to make a different version called krumplis lángos.
A good lángos is light and loose, and in no way drenched in oil.
The beloved treat also reminds Hungarians of summers at the country’s Lake Balaton, a popular vacation spot where you can find stalls of vendors selling fried discs the size of dinner plates.
Here it’s a popular snack after bathing in the lake.
Images from web – Google Research