Budapest Food Guide
It’s finally time for another Budapest post!
You didn’t think I was going to go to Budapest for three days and only leave you with one single post about it, did you?
Of course not.
As you can imagine, most of my travels heavily feature food, and Budapest was no different. More and more, I find myself planning my days around my meals. “So if we’re going here for breakfast and there for lunch, what can we do in between, and what’s on the way from place A to place B?” Please tell me I’m not the only one who does that!
Over the course of three days, we got quite a lot of eating done. Luckily, we also made a lot of mileage walking, so I think we burned off most of the calories!
Here’s my little foodie guide for Budapest – this is by no means comprehensive, and I can’t wait to go back and gather more material!
Traditional Hungarian food
Three words: deep-fried bread! Lángos are a Hungarian specialty and a popular street food. The yeast-based dough is fried in oil and can be enjoyed pure or with various toppings, like grated cheese, garlic butter, or mushrooms. Here, I opted for a goat’s cream cheese and dill. A definite must-eat in Budapest!
Hungarians are known for their savory, spicy sausages. There’s a lot of variety – from hard salamis to smoky grilled sausages like the one pictured, made from pork, beef, or lamb. A lot of them are spiced with paprika. The most famous one is probably kolbász, a cooked and smoked type of sausage that comes in different local varieties.
Another traditional Hungarian street food specialty: Kürtőskalács (good luck pronouncing that), or chimney cake, is made from sweet yeast dough, which is wrapped around a cylinder, rolled in sugar, and then baked over charcoal. Afterwards, it’s coated in cinnamon, walnuts, or sprinkles, and best enjoyed fresh and warm. We devoured this one after a few beers and it was the best thing ever!
Coffee at My Little Melbourne
You know I love me a good cup of coffee, and I’m so glad we stumbled upon this little gem right around the corner from our Airbnb. My Little Melbourne is a coffee house and store with a – surprise – Australian touch. They sell merchandise, clothes, and accessories like backpacks, but they also make a damn fine Americano. Bad coffee is over indeed!
Find My Little Melbourne & Brew Bar at 1075 Budapest, Madách Imre út 3.
Because you know I’m all about that paste, ’bout that paste – that hummus (no, I’m not crazy – watch this video and thank me later!). But in all honesty, if it’s made from chickpeas, chances are I’ll like it. So when we walked past a place called Hummus Bar, our lunch plans were immediately obvious. We ordered up a storm of Middle Eastern favorites: hummus, falafel, and pita bread. Yum! Portions were huge, and everything was really delicious.
They even have tabbouleh-bouleh! 😄
Hummus Bar has various locations across Budapest. You can find them all here.
Another little gem across the street from our apartment – we either got super lucky and randomly ended up in the most awesome foodie district, or all of Budapest is just foodie heaven! Market BDPST is best described as a sort of food court, with a few different stalls – Mexican, a burger place -, a bar, and a coffee place. Having just arrived, we decided to grab a burrito, which was nice, and then got some excellent iced coffees as we waited for our Airbnb host to let us in.
Find Market BDPST at 1061 Budapest, Király u. 8.
Sweet treats at The Fat Fairy
Not only is this the best name for a pastry shop, The Fat Fairy also serves up some serious sweet treats! Everything looked beautiful, which made the choice incredibly hard. In the end, we tried a chocolate-hazelnut treat and a small pistachio and cherry cake – both were absolute show-stoppers! I could’ve easily eaten my way through the entire display, but I guess that will have to wait until another visit.
Find The Fat Fairy at 1061 Budapest, Király u. 6.
I don’t know about you, but before this trip, I didn’t know a lot about Hungarian wines. I don’t think I had ever even tried one. My family is very fond of the Provence region in the south of France, and so I grew up with French wines (Provence rosés are still hard to beat in my book!). The Danes are super into Italian wines, somehow, and otherwise I usually stick to the classics – French, Spanish, or a nice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. But a trip to Budapest is an excellent opportunity to get to know some Hungarian wines! Hungary is actually one of the oldest wine regions in the world, and their climate allows them to grow all sorts of grape varieties. Some of the wines we tried were so-so, but others, especially at Costes Downtown, were top notch. There are plenty of wine bars and cafés where you can grab a cheap glass. Cheers – or as they say in Hungary, egészségére! (nope, I don’t know how to pronounce that, either)
Karaván street food market
On our trip to visit one of Budapest’s famous ruin pubs, Szimpla Kert, we more or less accidentally stumbled upon this awesome street food market, which is basically right next door. It’s open until 11pm, so the perfect stop for a little bite on a pub crawl. We actually ended up going three times, that’s how much we liked the market! There are plenty of mouth-watering options available, but here’s what we sampled.
Paneer cheese burgers
Now when I say “cheese burger”, I want to make sure you understand that I mean an actually CHEESE burger. As in, the burger patty is breaded cheese. Yeah, you heard that right! The menu included burgers with Camembert or cheddar cheese, dressed with caramelized onions, chutneys, bacon, you name it. We tried a burger with breaded cheddar and an onion jam, which was absolutely ridiculous, in the most positive way possible. I need these in Copenhagen, asap!
Another contender for awesomely ridiculous street food: Kolbice makes mini sausages and serves them in bread cones (among other things). It’s like a bouquet of sausages! We tried their sampler of six mini sausages, with some Sauerkraut and red cabbage on the side, topped with dressings and roasted onions. The red sausages with paprika were my personal favorite, but who am I kidding, they were all delicious!
Bread bowl goulash
You can’t leave Budapest without eating a hearty portion of goulash – preferably out of a bowl of crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside sourdough bread. The food cart had a veggie version available, too, and a bread bowl filled with pulled pork (I mean, is this market ridiculous or what?!?! I love it!), but we opted for the absolute classic: goulash with slow-cooked beef, potatoes, and carrots. The bread bowl is sturdy enough to hold the goulash, but the insides soak up all nice with the broth, so don’t forget to eat it all!
Find Karaván street food market at 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18.
I’ve written in detail about our dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Costes Downtown in a separate post, which you can find here. In short, it’s a really nice dinner experience with good value for money for a Michelin star restaurant!
Find Costes Downtown at 1051 Budapest, Vigyázó Ferenc u. 5.
What are your favorite places to eat in Budapest? Share your faves in the comments!