Savanyúság is the Hungarian take on pickled vegetables, with unique recipes and special ingredients not found in any other nation’s gastronomic culture. It’s an important and integral part of most Hungarian dishes, and not just another form of salad as it is often thought to be.
Savanyusag is not to be eaten as a salad, as many foreigners tend to do, often followed by the kind rejection of the plate of savanyusag. This is quite understandable as by itself, it’s often too sour for anyone to try this way. Instead, it should be eaten as garnishing, like potatoes or rice: one spoonful with every bite. This way, it harmonizes with the heavy and spicy nature of most Hungarian dishes, making them easier to consume.
Savanyusag is on the healthy side of Hungarian cuisine. During the pickling process, essential vitamins and other nutrition are not destroyed but stored inside the vegetables. Thus, it is an excellent source of nutrition during the winter because of its good storeability and scarcity of good quality vegetables during that season. Pickled peppers are especially known for their high vitamin C content.
They can be made from mostly any type of vegetable from peppers and onions, to cucumbers and red beetroot. Pickled cucumbers prepared in a special, uniquely Hungarian way are called kovaszos uborka and are essential to the summer season. Red beetroot is also uniquely Hungarian, when prepared as savanyusag. Sauerkraut is also worth mentioning, which also serves as savanyasag when prepared correctly, but also represents the main ingredient of a dish called szekelykaposzta, made almost entirely from it.
By Andras M. Badics, published on XpatLoop.com with the permission of BudapestReport.com