Due to its geographical location, Baja was an outstanding commercial, shipping and fishing centre for centuries on the border of the Great Plain and Transdanubia. It is due to this role that the widely used method of cooking fish soup along the central and southern course of the Danube has become well-known as ‘Baja’.
Thanks to the boom in the cultivation of hot peppers, and the ship mills that provided the high-quality flour needed for the dough, Baja fish soup became an urban, bourgeois, Hungarian cult dish during the 20th century. Every family, every cook has their own method, recipe and procedure. The fish soup prepared in the Baja style is made fresh in a cauldron without base juice (pressed through a strainer) and served with cooked ‘gyufa’ pasta. Its cooking has become a leisure activity for men and has been ritualized.
The making and serving of fisherman’s soup follows the old traditions and customs, which is derived from the old fisherman and miller traditions. Cooking and consuming fish soup is a social event, a purpose or a part of family and friends’ gatherings. It is an integral part of everyday life, closely connected to the way of life, identity and community life.