One of the coolest things about being in Hungary has been trying to understand the language. This was one of the first times in years that I went to a country where I could read the letters (standard Roman alphabet) but didn’t understand a single word. Before I went to Hungary I learned some Hungarian from a very hungover Erasmus student in Italy, so at least I knew the pronunciation and a few phrases (though it must have sounded silly at best, and probably downright aphasic), but that was all. One day, we had a nice adventure, thanks to these limited language skills.
We were having some easy days in the Balaton region, on the coast of a fuck-off massive lake in the west of Hungary. It’s rather touristy, half Hungary hangs out in this area in summer time, and sometimes the Austrians join in, too. Accordingly, it’s jampacked with snack-o-teques. And at one of these I decided I felt like foody adventure. Yeah, adventure, risky business, living the wild life! I was going to order something without knowing what it was! Rock and roll, but for people who are afraid to experiment with lots of drugs and have unprotected sex with strangers
There was a note on the till that said “Velös piritos, 450 forint” and it seemed like the perfect mystery order. Its name was on the till, so obviously it was a common thing to order and it wouldn’t get me in any trouble. A recurring event when I tried to order stuff in Hungarian was having to answer unexpected questions and failing to produce any kind of language because of the shock, making me look like an alabaster retard. Velös piritos seemed safe for that. Furthermore, we had absolutely no idea what it was, so we could end up with something warm or cold, savoury or sweet, a drink even!
What we got in the end was toast with some kind of meat. It looked tasty, but turned out mildly disappointing. It tasted a little like liver, but with less flavour, so we figured it was probably liver, or maybe kidney, or some other, nondescript organ. I wasn’t too impressed, but finished a slice anyway, since it wasn’t too bad.
Once we got back to Budapest, we asked some Hungarians that did speak English what it was. One of them, a friendly youngster who laughed maniacally at almost everything you told him (and at everything he told us, in fact), laughed a little louder than usual and said: “Velös piritos, that’s toast, with brain! Velös means ‘with brain’! HA HA HA HA!”.
I don’t think I’ll have velös piritos again. It’s not just because it’s brain, honestly, it’s also because I wasn’t too impressed by it in the first place. No, I’d rather eat something I had a week earlier in Budapest, a very simple dish of tatties and pork, much tastier. But see to it that you get a happy outside pig. To serve one:
– one small onion
– some pork
– some tatties
– one clove of garlic, without the plant inside
– some paprika, salt and pepper
Wash the potatoes, cut them into chunks and gently fry them in some oil (or lard, if you have) for quite a wee while. Cut the onion in little pieces and add those, too. Do the same with the garlic and the pork. Add salt, pepper and a load of paprika. Tasty business.