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Hungarian Tidbits

Fried Bream – Sült keszeg

Fried Bream at Lake Balaton


Walking around lake Balaton a stall selling fried fish is easy to come by. These are one of the seasonal kitchens next to the langos fried bread stalls, ice cream, beer and souvenir shops.

The fish is freshly fried and simply served with thick slices of white bread. Bream has a good amount of very fine bones, therefore tightly scored giving it a distinctive look. Frying makes these little bones brittle almost dissolved and the remaining small pieces will be manageable. Should you still find a little bone bothering you, the bread in your hand becomes a first aid tool and you will be encouraged to eat big chunks of it to help it along.


  • 1-2 fish / person
  • salt
  • white flour and paprika powder – 2:1 proportion – 2 parts of flour with 1 part of paprika powder
  • sunflower oil (or any neutral tasting oil) for frying
  • couple of cloves of minced garlic mixed with oil – to lightly marinate the fish with before frying (optional)
  • Fresh crusty bread, fermented cucumbers or other pickles to serve with


  1. Score the sides of the clean and prepared fish tightly as can  (a bit better than I did !) holding the knife in a slight angle to make sure the tiny bones are cut through.
  2. Generously sprinkle salt inside and out
  3. You could also rub the fishes with a simple garlic marinade prepared with minced garlic cloves and oil
  4. Set the fish aside for about 20 minutes
  5. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan, suitable for frying, you need enough oil to be able to cover the fish slightly and can move them around.
  6. Fry on a relatively high heat till golden and the fish is cooked through
  7. Get the bread and the fermented cucumbers ready, enjoy with a light fragrant glass of white wine!

A fish frying stall at lake Balaton, Hungary. Image source: www.ilovebalaton.hu

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