Pirog Heaven


Why did the chicken cross the road? I honestly don’t know, although some people in Texas claim it’s because the chicken wanted to show the armadillo it could be done.

Why did the couple living in Budapest drive to a strange corner of the city and eat food in the parking lot of a Lidl while not really admiring the view of the surrounding cityscape? I’ll show you why….

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I don’t know the history of the word in the English language, but I do know that these things are damn good. I call them piroges. My wife, who I trust more in these matters and only speaks English as a second language, calls them pirogs. They can be found in a number of places, some of which include the Balkans, Sweden and Russia. They also come in many different forms.

To add to my confusion, this was at the top of the Wikipedia page:

This article is about the Eastern Slavic pie. For the Eastern Slavic fried buns, see Pirozhki. For the Polish and Ukrainian semicircular dumplings, see Pierogi. For the village in Poland, see Piróg. For the boat, see Pirogue.

Whatever the case, this little food truck turns out some of the best pirogs money can buy….in Budapest at least. To jump forward, as we were leaving, we spotted a now closed Uzbekistan/Azerbaijan  restaurant. My wife suddenly clicked that this corner of the city used to contain the army barracks for the Soviet soldiers during the Cold War and their occupation of Hungary. When the Soviets up and left, some of the Russian families must have stayed behind. They have now assimilated and speak impeccable Hungarian. Thankfully, their assimilation has not included losing their food traditions. I still wonder what in the world you would order at an Uzbekistan/Azerbaijan  restaurant, but I do now have some inkling as to what you order at a pirog food truck.

I, being the American I am, had to order something called the Balkans burger. This was definitely not a pirog. It was definitely the size of my head, and somewhat popular, as the two guys who ordered after me got one each as well. I ordered mine spicy. It was a nice call. They had a few bottled hot sauces, but they offered me a homemade version of Sriracha which they warned my wife was slightly akin to rat poison. I took a pass on that. I wanted to enjoy my meal.

After devouring the deliciousness of the Balkans burger, I joined my wife in consuming fantastic pirogs! I don’t  know about the standard pirog, but the ones at this place were prepared just about perfectly. They are fried, but they weren’t overdone or greasy, and the cooks added crunchy vegetable garnish after they were done. This was a nice touch, as the garnish remained fresh, crispy and crunchy.  We had both meaty ones and chocolate ones, and I have to recommend them both. The Balkans burger is optional, but I did enjoy it. I would recommend saving room for an additional pirog instead of having the burger.

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Again, the surrounding beauty is lacking, but it doesn’t stop all the tall, lanky, overdressed girls who drive from Buda in their tiny cars from swinging into the Lidl parking lot and enjoying some of the best fast food to be found in Budapest. It will never be the most beautiful garden patio you’ll ever see, but it really doesn’t matter, and the deliciousness of the pirogs have you imaging yourself in a picturesque Russian landscape.

The only real problem is that it is really outside of the typical tourist area. It would be quite a feat to get there with little knowledge of the Budapest suburbs, but I imagine a good GPS or map would do the job, or you could let us know in advance you want to go and we could talk about getting you out there.

It’s worth the trip.

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