Know the difference between goulash and stew?It’s...

Know the difference between goulash and stew?

It’s in the paprika and the potatoes, according to Maria Fenyes, chairwoman of the 57th annual Hungarian Festival, which will take place today at Alpine Village in Torrance.

“Goulash and stew are just like cousins,” Fenyes said, explaining further that one of them is dressed in the lively red spice and contains more potatoes than the other.

Find out for yourself, though, which is which. The festival is open to the public. “We cook the goulash on the premises and Hungarian sausage and fried bread,” Fenyes says.


And, while you’re there, sample some of the Transylvanian (meaning stuffed) cabbage, another of the Eastern European treats on the menu.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event, which will run from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. The village is on Torrance Avenue at the intersection of the Harbor Freeway. Admission is $3.50 at the door. Children younger than 12, dressed in Scout uniforms or in Hungarian costumes, get in free.

“This is the largest Hungarian festival in the whole world,” said Fenyes, who has been chairing the event for the past 10 years. “In Los Angeles County, we think there are 60,000 people of Hungarian origin or who speak the language.”

Nevertheless, unlike other big American cities, such as New York and Cleveland, Los Angeles does not have a Hungarian neighborhood, Fenyes says. Hungarians have lived all over the Southland for most of the century, she adds.

Proceeds from the festival will be used to support the California Hungarian Weekly, the Hungarian language newspaper that Fenyes edits in a small office on South Western Avenue in Los Angeles. The paper was started in 1922 and today has a circulation of about 5,000.

Along with ethnic foods, there will be dancing, music and singing groups. The dancers, the Kappatok, Hargita and Podhali ensembles, will be in authentic costumes. The Podhali group, Fenyes said, is Polish.

There will also be Gypsy music from the seven-piece Juliska Band. Harmonica music will be provided by Karoly Kalmanhelyi. Two youth choirs, the Kodaly and American Youth Express, will also perform.

The festival’s special guest will be Andras Marton, the Hungarian consul general in Los Angeles.