Hungarian food really surprised me, I did not expect such a flavoured and rich cuisine in eastern europe so it actually destroyed all my prejudices about it. Unlike food in Sweden, Czechia and Slovakia, here the food is spicy and has a very strong flavour.
Vörösmarty Tér: Spring Market Food
I was lucky enough to have come across a Spring Fair when I went to Budapest as winter just ended and spring was approaching and, of course, Hungarians were celebrate its coming. In this spring market there were every kind of stalls, it somehow reminded me of the Christmas Markets in Germany.
There were stalls selling clothes, scarves, handmade utensils and house decorations but above all, there were a lot of Hungarian food stands selling a great variety of traditional dishes. I ordered a beef stew seasoned with wine while my boyfriend wanted to order a more daring dish: chicken’s balls.
I am not much into weird food like my boyfriend, I prefer more normal food ahaha I really enjoyed my stew and the wine enriched the flavour even more. What about the chicken’s balls? Well, my boyfriend said they are nothing too special, he said they were too chewy >/< to me they looked like very big peas, maybe for their shape?!
If you are not too interested in the food, you can always go around the market and buy some souvenirs to bring home. There are also music concerts and children plays performed in a small theatre on the square. Vörösmarty Tér is also one of the biggest and famous square in Budapest, it is a meeting point for the inhabitants and a beautiful place to have stroll in.
Kacsa Étterem – Hungarian Restaurant
This restaurant was very near our first hotel in Budapest so we decided to go here without knowing what could have awaited us. The restaurant looks very posh: there is a guy that takes off your coat and hang it in the wardrobe before entering, there are musicians playing and..well, the inside and the waiters just look really posh ahah
The portions were not too big but the variety of the food they brought was a very good introduction to Hungarian cuisine. Despite the small dishes, at the end of the meal you will surely be satisfied since there are three courses: a rich appetizer, first course with a side dish and the dessert.
The appetizer was really great! I enjoyed the combination of the sauces they brought us and the very spicy paprika to put together with the bread and the other sauces. You must know that Hungarians have really a thing for Paprika, they put it everywhere but I really do not complain, I like it much too 😉
The first course for me was the duck, a typical Hungarian dish and the specialty of this restaurant – Kacsa means, indeed, duck in Hungarian – and for my boyfriend a pork dish with french fries. The duck, at the first sight, looked a quite small portion but it turned out to be kinda fulfilling for my stomach. Of course, everything was accompanied by salad and paprika sauce.
As dessert we had a chocolate cake, nothing very special, but it was not bad at all. The price is not too cheap to be honest but it was worth especially for the live music we could enjoy. The violinist and the pianist played also music according to our wishes. I really enjoyed the meal and the evening.
Fatál Étterem – Home Cooking Hungarian Restaurant
Fatal restaurant, unlike the previous one, is cheap and serves you very big portion; believe me when I say “very big” because it is the truth. I consider my boyfriend a great eater, he eats 150 grams of pasta while I eat 80-90 and he did not manage to eat the whole dish. This shocked me quite much.
The waiters all speak a good english and the woman is very cute and kind. It overlooks a shopping street so at the evening it is very lively and enjoyable as well. Besides having mainly traditional Hungarian dishes on their menu, they also have a large selection of Hungarian wine like the Tokaji.
We ate here twice: first time I ordered a kind of hungarian pasta seasoned with some spice sauce and meat while my boyfriend ordered a huge pork dish with every kind of sausages.
The second evening I ordered the most famous Hungarian dish, which is to say the Gulash, and my boyfriend the pasta dish I had ordered the previous time. The gulash was enormous and spicy! If you do not feel like eating it whole, just leave it there, you would feel bad the day after as it had happened to me ahaha
Budapest Central Market – Nagycsarnok
The central market is the perfect place if you want an authentic taste of the local food. You find any kinds of vegetable, fruit and spices there; it is like a large grocery shop.
The building hosting the market is already a masterpiece of its own, it was built in the 19th century following the principles of the neo-Gothic architecture. Its distinctive feature is the roof made up of colorful tiles coming from the Hungarian town of Pecs.
Unfortunately during the war it was heavily damaged so it had to be restored to reach the former splendour. Now it is a must visit attraction in Budapest for its fresh food and local dishes. If you are a fan of the spices, here you can find as much paprika as you want and the real Hungarian paprika.
You also find food stalls that prepare your food on the spot and some tables where you can stop and enjoy eating your dish. If spending money on the food was not enough for your wallet, you can also try looking at the souvenir stalls where they sell traditional clothes, dolls and souvenirs.
Extra: Kürtőskalács Stands
Kürtőskalács is an hungarian cake, which in the past was only eaten on festivals like Christmas while now it became a common food for every day consumption. It is made from sweet, yeast dough wrapped around a narrow cone-shaped bread and covered with sugar. The interior part is very soft while outside it gets cooked until it reaches a brown colour and is crispy. During the baking process, the sugar gets caramelized.
The name refers to the stovepipe where the cake is cooked and this also explains its truncated-cone shape. There are many kinds of ingredients that can be added to Kürtőskalács such as walnut, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, etc.
Have you ever tasted Hungarian food? What dish is your favourite? You have other places to recommend my readers? Let me know in the comments below 😉