Hungarian in Hungary

Table Etiquette

A table set nicely for a meal, with white tablecloths, folded napkins, plates, and silverware

Meals generally progress as they do in any other European country. Soup is served first, followed by a second course which traditionally contains some form of meat along with pasta, rice or potatoes and vegetables (quite possibly creamed) or salad. The meal ends with dessert and drinks.

Traditionally, a meal begins with someone saying "Jó étvágyat!" and concludes with the guests thanking the host for the meal. When eating in someone's home, the host/hostess will probably offer seconds, but it is also acceptable to ask for a second helping yourself.

Often when soups are broth-based, it is traditional for accompanying meat, vegetables, and pasta to be set out separately thus allowing the guest to put whatever is desired into the broth. Salads will consist of lettuce and vegetables during the summer and pickled vegetables during the winter months. Drinks are not usually served during the meal, but rather, with dessert.

Vegetarians should know that it is traditional for the main (second) course to contain meat. When eating in a restaurant, they may want to refer to the "desserts" portion of the menu where they are likely to find a variety of pastas which, while frequently eaten as desserts in Hungary, are similar to traditional main course fare.


  • "Please Pass the Salt"
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  • "May I Have More Soup?"
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  • "Please Pass the Sugar"
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