If ever there were a Hungarian food poised for a global takeover, it's the poolside, river-side, park, and hangover-curing treat, Hungarian lángos. In case you don't know, the simultaneously humble and decadent lángos is a piece of deep-fried potato dough that is traditionally slathered in such toppings as minced garlic, sour cream, and cheese. While most cultures have a variation of fried dough: you can look to Canada with their Beaver Tail, the lángos is somewhat unique in that it is typically served with savory, not sweet toppings.
In Hungary and its former territories, the lángos is at once retro and contemporary, having never gone out of style, yet still provoking feelings of nostalgia. It is not surprising that in New York City, with the boon of food trucks and diverse population and love of street food, there is now the possibility to get an authentic Hungarian lángos. But there is authentic and there is 'authentic'. The New York lángos can be purchased with a New York twist, with toppings like smoked salmon, and Greek tzatziki.
Moreover, recently the media empire Vice took notice of the lángos when its food channel Munchies called it "the perfect vehicle for, well, pretty much anything." What is interesting here is that the lángos, which shouldn't cost more than a few euro fully loaded, is also being elevated into an upscale dish. This is greatly different than some other modifications, like the lángos burger, created by the Brooklyn hamburger joint Korzo, that deep-fries a ground beef patty inside the lángos, which then serves as a bun. This particular variation was so popular, and received so much press, that local Budapest restaurants picked up on it, bringing this new-fangled lángos back to its homeland, meaning, for better or worse, you can now get the lángos burger in Budapest.
It's just not summer until you've had a hot garlicky lángos by a cool body of water. Now with street food hitting peak trend, the lángos – which we can say is one of the few indigenous street foods in Hungary – is more popular than ever. There is even a newly established annual award for best lángos in Hungary. It may not be as internationally known as the burger, but the lángos is one of those simple irresistible foods that, like a taco, once you've tried, you only want more. (On that note, is it only a matter of time before we see lángos-shelled tacos?)
Have a look at the news clip about the New York lángos food truck below (English subtitles):
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