McHungary


We recently received a flier which reported that Hungary, in 2001, gave an innovation to the world. An innovation so groundbreaking that six other countries (Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece and Romania) have since adopted it to the unending delight of their respective citizens. Yes, you guessed correctly:  we’re talking about the double pork burger at the internationally renowned and much loved restaurant of the Golden Arches. Finally, many years after the invention of the dynamo, the discovery of Vitamin C and Mr Rubik’s 1980s attempt to drive the whole world to the edge of intellectual exhaustion, the Hungarian genius, like a phoenix, emerged from its ashes and made the world a happy place again. Needless to say, our team is tireless in its endeavours to show you the many faces of Budapest’s beauty and attractions, so the fast-food empire immediately bounced onto our radar.

This week provided further impetus to re-visit our local joint, which quite rightly has not seen our mug since the Great Morning Coffee Fail of 2009. They are celebrating Hungarianness with a genuine Hungarian-inspired menu this week, and maybe even beyond. The menu is named after betyárs, famous outlaws, the most famous of whom was an ancient relation of yours truly, if the family legend is correct. We just had to, guys, we simply had to.

I’m still unwell, but here’s the story.

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This is what we saw: the special menu boasts authentic and approved, real Hungarian grey cattle meat as well as authentic salami flavoured cheese rings, and authentic Puszta fries.  Having seen this unbelievable offer, we went in and undertook a meal-like event, complete with candid photography.

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We ordered a grey cattle burger with paprika, another one with thyme, the irresistible salami cheese rings and, of course, two portions of the mysterious Puszta fries.

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It all looked kind of okay in that kind of not okay way McDonalds has simmered to perfection since its conception. Then we opened the boxes and ate the contents, took some more photos and left. I guess I should say more about the experience, although it is next to impossible, as none of the above items can be classified as food with a clear conscience. But I’ll try.

First steps to enlightenment: after we somehow managed to pay more than yesterday’s three course meal in a proper restaurant, we seated ourselves in the impeccably clean feeding station and consumed the consumables, which looked this appetising on the inside:

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The burgers were not bad; they were just so bland that I wondered if they would actually appear on the photographs. It would have been bad form to show you an empty tray with empty cardboard boxes, but modern technology was able to capture the fragile beauty of these culinary classics. I’m pretty sure the food cast no shadow when I took the photos, and would not have passed the mirror reflection test. Considering we’re in a fast food joint, blandness would not be a problem of course, except the nagging feeling that this specific flavour-consistency combo could have been achieved using ground lizards, dogmeat, tofu or drywall insulation, so slaughtering heritage breeds seems like a wee overkill.

The Puszta fries were basically just fries, so we registered a very impressive 50% success rate in delivering what’s been promised. They, however, came with ‘sour cream’, which was, in fact, industrial lubricant. After the first bite, we were unsure what to do with the cheese rings, which are basically your standard ‘salami flavoured’ processed triangle cheese squeezed into donut forms and fried in plastic breadcrumbs.

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We admired the foresight and sagacity of this man, who clearly brought a very good looking Piramis szelet in tinfoil to avoid an ordeal similar to ours during a very involved business meeting. He ate it. It was tantalising.

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So this was the adventure we undertook, just so that we can report about a truly Hungarian classic. You’re welcome.

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