Hungarian cuisine is a combination of simple peasant food, some new ingredients that arrived with the Italians and Turks in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the elegant, highly developed cuisine which came from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today's Hungarian cuisine is a synthesis of ancient Asiatic components mixed with Germanic, Italian, and Slavic elements. The food of Hungary can be considered a melting pot of the continent, with its own original cuisine from the Magyar (native)people.
Their nomadic past is apparent in the prominence of meat (mainly poultry, pork and beef) in their food as well as the amount of dishes cooked over open fire such as goulash. This heritage is also evident in old fashioned dishes in which fruits like plums and apricots are cooked with meat or in piquant sauces/stuffing for game, roasts and other cuts. Different kinds of noodles and dumplings, potatoes, and rice are commonly served as a side dish. Other characteristics of Hungarian food are the soups, desserts, and pastries and stuffed crepes (palacsinta). Hungarian cuisine uses a large variety of cheeses,
Probably the most famous dish to come from Hungary is the paprika flavored meat stew known as gulyas (goulash); the name actually means 'herdsmen' and came to be associated with the meat stew the herdsmen ate. The Bulgarians and Turks were responsible for introducing the most beloved and well-known spice of Hungary - paprika - in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Turks also introduced filo pastry, tomatoes and sour cherries, which became essential ingredients to the kitchen.