Budapest should be known as a food (and drinks) capital. I tried to do some research on Budapest food prior to travelling, but many of the places I recommend here was found by chance. Just by wandering around the streets, we managed to comb down several great places.
KARAVÁN is located just next to the popular Szimpla Kert ruin bar, and is a street food haven with a wide range of street food stalls to choose from. You can basically find all of Budapest’s local street food in this street food court from chimney cakes to goulash. And as it is located in the Jewish Quarter, there are vegan and vegetarian options as well, and the food is much cheaper than the more touristy areas of Budapest. It is astonishing how some coloured lights and chairs can transform a tattered building into something of a rustic beauty.
Kolbice, a popular Hungarian street food consisting of mini sausages in a bread cone, , while also found in Central Market Hall, also has a branch in Karaván, and Karaván definitely has a much better atmosphere to dine in rather than the extremely packed Central Market Hall. The usual toppings are ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, but they also offer other options ranging from cheese sauce to sauerkraut and roasted onions. Kolbice is a wonderful alternative from the usual hotdog bun. The whole wheat bread cone added a firm crunch and the mix of sausages drizzled with various sauces were crispy and juicy. With the generous amount of toppings, it may be a little tough to avoid making a greasy mess of your clothes, but Kolbice has just the solution by providing tiny wooden forks for us.
Lángos, deep fried dough usually topped with sour cream and grated cheese, too can be found in Karaván, but it is a typical Hungarian local food that can be easily found everywhere in the city. It is dubbed as Hungarian pizza, but its dough, being deep-fried into a golden brown, is far crispier than any pizza crust can ever aim to be. It is more like churros, but lighter and airier.
Paneer Budapest is the best vegetarian option for people looking for a vegan burger. The “Real Cheeseburger” that the stall sells consists of fried cheese as the patty in place of regular meat patties.
- Address: Budapest 1075, Budapest, VII. kerület, Kazinczy utca 18.
- Getting there: 2 min walk from Kazinczy Utca. 5 min walk from Karácsony Utca.
- Opening hours: 11.30 – 02.00 daily
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/streetfoodkaravan/
And if you have a sweet tooth you must head to this confectionary, Ruzwurm, which is just a few minutes walk away from the beautiful Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion at Buda Castle.
The Ruzwurm cream pastry, the namesake and icon of the shop, is to die for. With an over hundred year old recipe, it is no surprise that the creamy cake has been perfected into this delectable dream. It is thick and creamy, and almost feels like you are eating milk soft serve ice cream. We did try another dessert, tirol strudel, which we chose to fill with cottage cheese, but it turned out to be rather dry and crumbly.
- Address: 1014 Budapest, Szentháromság str. 7.
- Getting thereTake M2 (red line) metro to Deak Ferenc ter and transfer to bus 16 to Buda castle, or M2 (red line) metro to Szell Kalman ter and transfer to bus 16 or 16A to the castle.
- Opening hours: 10.00 – 19.00 daily
- Website: http://www.ruszwurm.hu/en/
I have talked about the beauty of Gozsdu Udvar in my previous post, but the restaurant we stumbled into, Spíler Original, besides having lovely, whimsical decoration even down to its restrooms, served fantastic food as well.
We ordered mangalica sausage and mangalica ham pizza, as mangalica pork is a Budapest specialty. And I am truly sorry that we ate such an adorable pig. Mangalica pigs are also known as wooly pigs because of their thick wooly fur resembling that of a sheep. But it is the “Kobe beef of pork”. Its meat is juicy and tender, and it does not have the pungent pork taste that some pork do. The sausage was big and hearty, and the pizza crust was thin and crispy, and very cheesy, just the way I like my pizza.
I even tried drinking a peach flavoured pálinka, a traditional Hungarian fruity brandy. I thought it would taste fruity, but while it was indeed very sweet, almost saccharine, it turned out to be pure hard liquor which didn’t pair very well with the food at all.
- Address: 1075 Budapest, Király utca 13. / Gozsdu udvar /
- Getting there: 6 min walk from Deák Ferenc Tér M, 6 min walk from Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Út M, 7 min walk from Károly Körút (Astoria M).
- Opening hours: 08.00 – 02.00 daily
- Website: http://spilerbp.hu/original/en
And at this last restaurant we went to before leaving Budapest, we had pork again. Budapest is a place for meaty lovers. Pesti Disznó is a small cozy bistro near an opera theatre serving great Hungarian food with a modern twist and quality wine at a reasonable price. The name literally translates into ‘Pest Pig’, and from that you should know that this restaurant’s specialty is pork.
We had a Hungarian farm cheese plate with berry sauce, and two pork dishes. I can’t for the life of me remember what they were, but I think they were pork tenderloin and pork collar. Night had fell by the time the main courses arrived, so pardon the unappetising pictures, but both meat were really juicy and succulent. I also drank a Hungarian white wine, called Csanádi Irsai Olivér. It tasted a bit dry but had a very fruity and refreshing aftertaste, and was a wonderful accompaniment to the dishes.
Pesti Disznó Bisztró
- Address: 1065 Budapest, Nagymező street 19
- Getting there: by tram Nr 4-6 or metro Nr 1 to stop ‘Oktogon’. Then a 2-minute walk on Andrássy and Nagymező street.
- Opening hours: 9.00 – 00.00 daily
- Website: http://pestidiszno.hu/