Are you going to Budapest, Hungary and you want to eat the best food in Budapest? Wait no more, as we were there and we had a wonderful time.
We are in the mood of experiencing various food tours these days, along with hiking and city sightseeing experiences. We make our plans to see many things in cities but when it comes to getting deeper in the off-the-beat secrets we prefer someone from that city to walk us through.
Let us take you through our best food in Budapest story.
Our Food in Budapest Tour
Our guide in that tour was Adrienne. A classy lady from Hungary, which indeed loved good food. She explained a lot of things for ingredients, drinks and the origin of them.
We learned how to understand a good and real Goulash soup from a “touristy” one, and we tasted the good one. Same with sausages, the Palinka drink, fried bread, chimney cakes and the famous wine with soda of Budapest!
So, how to eat the best food in Budapest? Go to:
Arany Pince Restaurant
Hungarians say that in order to eat good Goulash you have to go down. That means you need to go to traditional Hungarian restaurants that are under the street level. So you walk down.
We entered one of the most beautifully decorated halls. Really cozy and warm place. The chef was not speaking English well but she had such a big smile; a very warm person!
We learned that Goulash is made with pork meat. It is a soup and not a stew (as served in some places). The soup has plenty of materials in it like: pork meat, beans, vegetables, potato and such. It is not just juice.
You get really full with that. We consider that plate as one of the best foods in Budapest one must taste.
Hungarians also make Goulash with beef and chicken (mostly in summer time).
We got out feeling really full. The tour was not just nibbling food around. We were served with good portions for each plate.
Thankfully, we didn’t just moved in from one restaurant to another. We walked through the city center, where Adrienne explained lots of things for different areas.
This one looks more like a “fast-food” along with a butchery but it is neither. There, pork is the king (but also serves beef, poultry, etc). You can even choose the part of meat you want at the ground floor and they cook it on the spot.
In that place you will taste the most meaty Kolbasz sausages, with very little fat in them.
Eat them with horseradish, a salad made with braised cabbage, pickles and braised carrots. Hungarians prefer to eat that with white bread.
The place is a self-service one with lots and lots of people coming through.
Best Street Food in Budapest: The Caravan
There are lots of bars where the Caravan is.
At some point (don’t know exactly when) some guy took his food truck and placed it in an empty field close to the bars.
People were staying up late drinking and partying. What comes after drinking? You got it right. Time for some food to ease “the munchies”.
That person had the truck in place, so people found a way to ease their hunger. You can guess how it goes. Soon, more found out and pretty soon an area with many different food trucks (caravans) was developed.
You actually get in a food court corridor with food caravans (different ethnic cuisines) left and right.
The delicacy there, is fried bread with yellow cheese flakes on top. The dough is more like a donuts one, than of a bread. It is sweet, and the yellow cheese makes it even sweeter.
We split one in 3 as more would be way too much. We also had to reserve some space for the cake and some drinks.
Moving to the Chimney Cake of Budapest
We’ve seen the chimney cake before in other cities in Europe, but never tried it. Weird, right? Apparently it is the most easy cake to make, even with its variations!
Dough is wrapped in stripes, around a wooden cylinder, then dipped in sugar and then in cinnamon.
The cylinder is pierced with a skewer and this is placed over fire. The skewer whirls until it is ready, then it is taken out from the cylinder and there you have it.
The cinnamon dip is the original chimney cake. There are variations with chocolate chips, fillings in the chimney and all kinds. In some cities or even in Budapest you can get your chimney filled with chocolate cream, nuts and all kinds of stuff.
Wine with Soda at Szimpla Kertmozi, aka the Ruins Pub
That is far from a pub. It is a have-fun ecosystem by itself.
With “ruins” you may think something related to antiquity, but it is not. It is called “ruins” because this big place was an abandoned and never renovated old house -or house complex- of Budapest.
These days it is a place of free expression of art and of partying.
The story behind is an intriguing one. Years ago, the government said that old houses in Budapest had to be renovated. The owner of this place didn’t have the money needed to do that. The place was big and it would be costly.
So, he decided to keep it like that. On top, he decided to decorate it with items that he would find as thrown away from other old houses that were to be renovated. In a few words: One man’s trash was another man’s treasure.
That exact styling became trendy.
All different areas, rooms that host different bars, chill-out places are decorated with a huge number of contradictory things. On top of that there is green everywhere.
Literally all walls are covered with things people write on them. You can leave your “mark” everywhere. It seems that such is not only forbidden but also indirectly encouraged.
You can get your drinks from the ground level and go sit at one of the rooms on top.
It seems like decadence art everywhere with many paradox items as decorations. We have never seen something like that. It is not just about the graffiti. This place is a huge concept.
Beware on the wine with soda drink. You can get addicted to that!
We were feeling a bit heavy from all the food and such, exactly as Adrienne predicted. She again mentioned that we need to have a glass of Palinka!
She claimed that that one will speed up digestion and Hungarians drink it for that reason.
So, we moved on to the Palinka museum.
Yes, we had to go down there too. The Palinka museum is an under the street level establishment where you can:
- Pay 13 euro p.p. and taste 3 different tastes of Palinka, or
- Pay 10 euro p.p. to go through the museum, learn about Palinka production, play the interactive game(s) and at the end taste 1 glass of Palinka
Well, Palinka is an over 50 degrees alcohol drink. Having 3 of them each would be too much and we wanted to visit the museum too. We chose option number 2 and we were right about it.
You can also sit at the bar and buy a bottle from the same in-house store.
The museum is not big but explains how this drink is made. Apparently it can be made from different fruits. It is made through the fermentation and distillation process.
The end result is a really clear (like crystal) liquid, that is really strong.
You can play a game they have, which resembles the harvesting and the production of the drink, along with a memory game which helps you to remember the fruits used in the distillation process. It was funny enough for us to play that.
Guys and girls, let us tell you that in no more than 30 minutes from drinking just one glass from that liquid, we were ready to eat again!
That was our last stop for the day. Three hours flew very fast.
It would also be our last day in Budapest and that was a nice closure.
Well, we had a couple of drinks later that night too in one of the numerous small bars in the city centre.
Before and after tasting Food in Budapest
There are some fantastic places to visit in the city (separate post coming up). Along our food tour, we walked through the Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar).
This courtyard has many small bars, cafe’s and bistro’s at the left and right side of a corridor that goes through it. It is like a portico, that changes from lunch to dinner to party area as the day goes by.
During the day is really nice and quiet.
Downtown Budapest has many spots like this one. Explore them as they are part of the daily life of Hungarians and thus you can get closer with their culture.
Enjoy your food in Budapest and the architecture of that city!