Local Customs: Good Guest Behavior in Hungary

Photo by argirl
Photo by argirl

If you are invited to a Hungarian home for dinner—as you very possibly will be during a visit, since Hungarians are famed for their hospitality and cuisine—here are a few tips.

Take the hostess flowers. Roses are a good choice, but always an uneven number of blooms—even numbers are considered unlucky. A bottle of good quality dry red wine will also be appreciated.

You won’t be expected to help out in the kitchen, but when the food does arrive, eat liberally. Refusing seconds, thirds, or even fourths is a sign you are not enjoying the food! The same applies to drink. Your wine glass will continually be refilled, so go easy! If you are vegetarian, tell your hosts in advance. Vegetarianism is still rare in Hungary, but people do recognise and respect it.

Finally, learn how to say a couple of words in Hungarian. Hungarians are proud of their fiercely difficult language and a foreigner’s attempts to pronounce it are really appreciated. Try thank you (köszönöm – sounds like kersernerm) and this is tasty (finom) and delight your host!

About the author

Melanie lives in Budapest with her Hungarian husband and two daughters, Rose and Thea. She teaches English and Psychology in an International School in the city and is studying for a Masters Degree in Children's Literature.
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