Budapest Is Combating Xenophobia Through Cuisine

Lauren Frayer for NPR, via The Salt

Lauren Frayer for NPR, via The Salt

Customers crowd into a bustling Budapest restaurant for dinner. They open their menus, expecting to read about stuffed paprikas and Hungarian goulash.

But instead they find … Eritrean sourdough pancake bread. Afghan pie. Syrian sweets.

“It’s a little bit difficult, because not all the ingredients are available in Hungary. So a few of them are coming from Austria or other countries. But we can do it!” laughs Judit Peter, the bartender and director of special projects at Kisuzem, a trendy, bohemian bar in Budapest’s historic Jewish quarter. “People really like it. We’ve served 80 portions a day — and that’s quite a lot for a small kitchen like ours.”

Kisuzem is one of 10 Budapest eateries that have been serving up food from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia — in solidarity with migrants and refugees streaming into Hungary from those countries. It’s all part of the Körítés food festival, which aims to combat xenophobia through cuisine.

Read (and listen to) the rest on The Salt.

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