Hungry in Hungary: Food Adventures in Budapest!

After Bratislava, the nest stop on our mini-Eastern-Euro trip was Budapest! It actually ended up being one of my favourite cities in Europe, but unfortunately end of the semester school work prevented me from making this post….until now.

My first impression of Budapest came from me and the bf walking around the city centre around midnight looking for a place to eat. The places that were open were bars that no longer served food. We must’ve walked past a sketchy looking Greek gyros place with a seemingly grumpy looking man inside a few hundred times before we came to the conclusion that we either get food there, or starve.

In an amazing turn of events, the shop owner ended up being like a Hungarian version of Santa Claus…he was so friendly and probably gave us one of the best service experiences we had ever received in Europe, and wished us a happy new year as we merrily went along our way.

The gyro was amazing too.

While we had been forewarned about the coldness of the people in Eastern Europe, Budapest turned out to be entirely different. Perhaps it was the 10% tips that were mandatory at restaurants (as opposed to most of Europe where tips aren’t necessary), but even in non-restaurant environments, everyone we met were really friendly.

In my upcoming post I’ll talk about Budapest itself, but in this post let’s go back to talking about food because the food in Budapest is amazing! ah-maaaaaaze-ing.

First off, 1 euro = 300 Hungarian forint (FT), so the euro goes a long way in Hungary. So of course being hungry backpackers, Eastern Europe is definitley a good place to dine away!

One of the first places we went to was this restaurant that was given a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 by Trip Advisor. When you see that on a restaurant door, you know it’s going to be good!

…and it was!

some goulash soup to start…a Hungarian specialty!

some goulash soup to start…a Hungarian specialty!

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we even scored the blue velvet booth!

we even scored the blue velvet booth!

One word of warning that we learning from our walking tour guide is that if you say “thank you” to your waiter at a restaurant when you hand them the bill, they won’t give you any change because they assume the money you’ve given them includes your tip.

We had to try extra hard to remember not to say thank you until after getting our change back, because the bank machines gave us such large bills, an accidental “thank you” could set us back 10-20 euros!

Next came this a candy shop called SUGAR!!!!!!

Can’t remember how many exclamation marks it had in its name, but there definitely was quite a few. The excitement in its name is totally understandable once you step into the store…

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found on tumblr

The next day Tania suggested a family run Hungarian restaurant called Pesti Vendéglő. It was hard to find, and its name is impossible to pronounce (unless you’re Hungarian) but the food was delicious!

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Then came the Georgian restaurant that we accidentally stumbled upon when we walked past its windows and saw everyone eating something delicious from a bread bowl, and we decided that we needed whatever that was in our lives as well…

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And last but not least, another random find turned out to be my absolute favourite! (you can find them all over Prague as well!)

They’re called trdelnik…or chimney cake in English and they’re made like this:

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And then they put it in a clear bag, so you can enjoy it on the go. Because it’s made fresh, the first time you bite into it, it tastes so heavenly…with its mixture of soft chewy dough on the inside, and a crispy outer layer thats covered in your choice of vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, walnut or chocolate. I think I had dreams of trdelnik after the first night I had them!

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If I ever plan on living in Budapest, I’ll make sure I get a gym membership ASAP!

Have you guys tried trdelnik? or any Hungarian food?

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14 Comments

  1. January 28, 2014 / 3:29 am

    Oh my gosh Michelle, this was a Hungarian food porn post if I ever saw one! All of those dishes looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never had trdelnik. My neighbors are Bulgarian and I’ve tasted some of their dishes but I have no idea if there are any similiaries. Except for the goulash you didn’t say what each of the dishes was! If you get just a couple of minutes I would SO appreciate if you would email me what each was. I’m a foodie remember but not an expert at recognizing dishes so I’m not that good of a foodie lol! Loved this post! 🙂

    • Michelle
      Author
      February 9, 2014 / 7:29 pm

      Haha, thanks! And yep, I’ll list them for you…that way, when you go to Budapest in the future, you know which dishes to try out! 🙂

      The first restaurant is called Ket Szerecsen, and the dishes are: (in order)
      1. Beef cheek cooked in red wine, square pasta with cottage cheese
      2. Pork chop with garlic, pork belly, fried potatoes and homemade mixed pickles
      3. Breast of duck, butter-fried apple and hash browns with goat cheese

      The second restaurant is called Pesti Vendéglő:
      1. Roast goose leg with braised cabbage and baked potatoes
      2. Roast piglet with braised cabbage and baked potatoes

      And the Georgian restaurant is called Hachapuri, and what we had were also called hachapuri which is like a Georgian pizza.

      I’m getting so hungry looking that the restaurant menus and listing everything!! 😀

  2. January 28, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    Trdelnik are super! I discovered them in Prague and didn’t want to eat anything else.

    The fact that 1 Euro is 300 Forint is no indicator of the price level in either the Eurozone or in Hungary by the way. The mere nominal exchange rate does not tell you anything, as there has never been parity between Euro and Forint. You will easily see that if you consider that 1 Euro also buys 140 Yen, but Japan is not at all a cheap place.
    The purchasing power and average incomes are the figures that count.

    • Michelle
      Author
      February 9, 2014 / 7:33 pm

      Yea, after trying them in Budapest, I regretted not getting any in Prague!

      And true…Eastern Europe in general is cheaper than Western Europe. Budapest is one of the more expensive cities for sure, but when it comes to eating out and hostels, still much less than any Western European country

  3. January 29, 2014 / 3:17 am

    Miso hungry right now! Great post, but I should have not read it on an empty stomach! I would love to try this baked bread filled with egg and mince. That looks huge and so tasty. I tried trdelnik when in Prague, super sugary and so so so good!

    • Michelle
      Author
      February 9, 2014 / 7:33 pm

      Yea they were so good and I’ve never seen anything like them! They’re called “hachapuri” so def give them a try if you’re in Budapest or Georgia!

  4. February 4, 2014 / 4:45 pm

    I have never tried trdelnik, but a café is about to open in Zurich that will serve them as well, so I am looking forward to getting my hands on one (or three!) of them, ’cause they sound delicious.

    I was planning a trip to Budapest in March, but right now it’s a little up in the air – however your post is really motivating me to make it happen!

    • Michelle
      Author
      February 9, 2014 / 7:46 pm

      Aww thats so cool! I still have to find a cafe in Munich that sells them as well! But they taste the most amazing when they’re freshly made for you on the spot!

      You should definitely take a trip to Budapest! It’s definitely one of the most underrated European cities I’ve been to, and coming from Switzerland, everything will be a fraction of the price!

  5. Ellie
    March 1, 2014 / 6:27 am

    Trdelnik is called kürtős kalács in Hungarian. 🙂

    • Michelle
      Author
      March 3, 2014 / 2:38 pm

      That’s even harder to pronounce than Trdelnik! 😛

  6. April 28, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    You sure made me hungry now. Thanks for listing these places so I can add them to my list for when I visit Hungary. I can hear my tummy growling for those bread bowls.

  7. Karina
    May 3, 2014 / 12:36 pm

    Kürtöskalács is one of my favorite things I enjoyed on my Budapest trip! Unfortunately, it’s hard to find it in Germany… :/ I just found it on a (fun-)fair in my region! And of course I ate a lot of it!
    Did you found a place to buy it in Germany? I ask that, because I’m always looking for such a place!

    • Michelle
      Author
      May 3, 2014 / 8:10 pm

      No I haven’t found any in Germany unfortunately 🙁 They seem to be an Eastern European thing…they were popular in Prague too! I think our best bet is at Christmas markets….but I know what you mean! I love them so much!!!!

  8. Milly
    May 30, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    Oh, my goodness! That shop called SUAGR!!! Looked soooooooo good!! :O :O 🙂 I would LOOOVE to go there! I will have to some time. 🙂

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