The fried dough dish is a classic street food in Hungary.
Lángos Origin Story
Historically, bread was baked in huge loaves (6 pounds or more) once a week in Hungary because it cost so much to heat up the giant brick ovens.
Smaller loaves, 1 pound or so, were baked as flatbread while the oven was heating up. This Lángos (literally “flamed”) was to be eaten that day or the next.
Lángos fell out of favor during the Communist times in Hungary as industrial baking replaced smaller, local bakeries.
In 1956, the Hungarian Revolution was brutally put down by the Soviet Red Army. However, in its aftermath, some reforms were introduced including allowing some small-scale businesses.
Lángos regained its popularity, except instead of being baked, the dough was fried. Today, Lángos stalls are popular at markets and carts with deep fryers ply their tasty discs of dough all over Hungary.
Typically, Lángos is a yeasty dough that is very similar to pizza dough except that it is fried rather than baked. The oil is usually sunflower oil, but sometimes the dough is fried in lard so vegetarians should beware.
Lángos is topped with lots of fresh chopped garlic, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
Sometimes sour cream or yogurt is added to the dough, making it extra rich. Krumplis Lángos are made by adding mashed potatoes to the dough.
Because the Lángos is a fried dough, the toppings can easily be changed. A simple Lángos is rubbed with garlic or topped with garlic butter. Sometimes Lángos is topped with ham or vegetables like eggplant, mushrooms, or cabbage. Sweet Lángos can be topped with powdered sugar or jam. So many choices.
Where to get Lángos
Lángos is available everywhere in Hungary. Street carts have vats of hot oil where they fry the dough and add toppings. Lots of restaurants in Hungary serve Lángos as well, adding international flavors and toppings to delight their patrons. There’s also Lángos vendors in lots of markets in Hungary. One of the best known is Lángos Land in the Fény Street Market in Budapest.
There’s even a place called Lángos Bar in New York City that serves fancy (and rather expensive) Lángos.
We enjoyed Lángos here in Portugal. Our local cultural office had a Hungarian Day complete with Hungarian wine, music, dancing, and, of course, Lángos. Piled with tons of raw garlic, sour cream, and shredded cheese, I loved the fried dough hot and crispy straight out of the fryer. I’ll definitely be having more Lángos in the future!
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.