Budapest (Part 2, The Food)

As promised, here is the second part of my Budapest write-up and this one focuses on the food! If you haven’t seen Part 1, check it out here.

If you’re like me then you’ll probably have no idea what Hungarian food really is and therefore no idea what to expect. Well, we’ve left feeling almost the same! It was very hard to find restaurants serving traditional Hungarian cuisine in Budapest, there was a lot of influence from the countries that have featured in their history books. You can find Greek food, Turkish food and Serbian food on pretty much every menu in the city but Hungarian food is much harder to find.

On our walking tour, we were told that Hungarian food is extremely unhealthy and involves a lot of meat and deep frying. Dishes you should look out for include goulash, pancakes with cheese or meat in the middle and what they call cottage cheese but which is really a cheesecake like cheese full of syrup! What you may not be aware of is that they also make a lot of wines in Hungary and their wine is fantastic, I’ll recommend somewhere to try their wines in a bit :-)

Ok, so things we tried whilst we were there…the pancakes with cheese in the middle. I had these on Margaret Island and they were like pancake parcels with a weird soggy centre. I’m not sure if they were a good example but they were very strange! Goulash…we had this at Castro Bistro (Trip Advisor link here). The restaurant itself seems bizarrely placed and feels a bit like you are sitting in the middle of a car park but the Goulash was good. I also had some strange chicken dish with beetroot patties…not so good!

The cottage cheese we were told, is best sampled in bar form covered in chocolate which you can buy in any shop. This is what it looks like:

The Packet

The Centre

Now these bars are rather tasty and they are a bit like a cheesecake, that kind of sweet yet tangy flavour yet get with some vanilla cheesecakes. Be sure to grab yourself one if you go!

Whilst we were there we also tried out some of the Turkish cuisine; by this I mean we had an epic kebab one night from a place called Ali Baba’s right by our hotel. We sat out on the street and ate our kebabs and they were delicious, served with loads of fresh salad and your choice of rice, potato or pasta salad. Finally, our other big meal came from a place called 400 upon the recommendation of our walking tour guides. We sat outside and the ambience was amazing, such a friendly, laid back place. We went for the Serbian meat platter to share, here it is:

The platter was pretty epic as you can see and came with a pile of chips, plus we had ordered some salad on the side. The various meats were pretty tasty but I had to wimp out and give half of my share to my bf as it was just too much for me! The golden rule with the restaurants is really to try and avoid any near the river. The Jewish Quarter is where you will get a more authentic experience and where you’ll find Hungarian people hanging out as well.

Drinks wise, we stumbled upon a couple of places by accident when it was raining one night. Firstly there was GM Klub which is clearly where some of the cool kids go; the DJ was a beardy dude on the decks, there were exposed pipes and a black and white film was being projected onto the wall. It seemed awesome until we waited so long to get a drink that we gave up and moved on:

GM Klub

The next place we stumbled upon was called Kadarka and is a fabulous wine bar. It’s very minimal, was pretty quiet and they sell the wines by the bottle to take away as well as to drink there. I went to the barman and asked for a sweet white wine and was presented with 4 samples to try so I could choose before committing to the glass. The wine was delicious and I’d highly recommend you pop in here.

Finally, I’d like to introduce you to Szimpla, a ruin bar which I’m told is awesome of a night time. Sadly, being old and having walked around all day, the bf’s leg had given up so we didn’t make it there for a night but we did pop in during the day; even if that’s all you can do, you have to go and check out the interior. There are several bars and the place extends outside and upstairs with so much to look at. My pictures do it no justice at all but here they are:

Szimpla

Szimpla

They have something on basically every night so head on down there if you’re young and fit!

So that was our food and drink experience. I’d say Budapest isn’t somewhere you go for the food but it is worth trying some of their more traditional dishes, just so you can leave assured that you had an authentic experience. There are plenty of lovely places to eat and drink so try as many as you can, it’s dead cheap out there and the wine is delicious! x

Budapest (Part 1)

Hello friends!

I am back! This week I have been in Budapest (pronounced Buddapesht btw!) and I have walked miles and miles in the sunshine looking at pretty things and generally having a bloomin’ good time :-) I’d like to share some of my experience with you so this post will be a bit of a generic one about things we did and the next post (Part 2) will be about where we ate and what I’d recommend on the food and drink front. Here’s my travelling outfit:

First thing’s first… getting from the airport to your hotel can be a costly affair, don’t take a taxi from the airport unless you pre-booked it. It cost us more than double what it should have for that journey and as our walking guide told us, taxi drivers are not nice people, they will just try and con you! I’d agree with the con bit for sure!

The hotel we were heading to was the Corinthia Hotel Budapest which looks very expensive but really it was pretty bargainous for the deal we got and it’s somewhere I would definitely recommend. The staff are very friendly and the rooms are huge; check out Trip Advisor to see exactly how good it is :-)

Once we’d settled in, we went in search of some food and utterly failed. We reached a crossroads and walked 3 out of 4 possible directions and didn’t find any nice restaurants… they were down the 4th road!!! However we did accidentally stumble upon the stunning train station and sat outside it with a picnic of cheese, meat, bread and a giant apple! Just check out how stunning the station is:

The following day, we decided to check out the city some more so we enrolled ourselves on a free walking tour…not sure what possessed us to do that in the boiling heat but it was well worth it! They have a FB page which is here if you want to find out some more. Between the walking tour and our Legenda cruise down the Danube, we saw a lot of the city, including Margaret Island which sits between Buda and Pest. There is loads to do and we barely scratched the surface but here are some highlights:

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Hero’s Square

Parliament

Sadly I was very good at putting my camera away just before the best shots came up but I think the above gives you a tiny inkling of how beautiful the city is.

I’d say definitely get on the free walking tour, they run them twice a day and they give you a really good introduction to the city and some of its history. A trip down the Danube on one of the river cruises is also very worthwhile, though if you stop off at Margaret Island for an hour as we did, you’ll find that you barely have time to get your bearings before you need to be back on the boat! The Szechenyi Baths are also very popular if you have the time to visit, though this isn’t something I would rush to do. What I would choose over the baths is the Terror Museum, TerrorHaza. Luckily for us, this museum was actually pretty near our hotel and it’s a haunting but insightful look at what happened to the Hungarian population under Nazi and Communist regimes. There are a lot of video accounts from real survivors which are very uncomfortable but make the experience feel very genuine.

Finally for this post, just a quick one…Andrassy Utca is the path to all things beautiful and fun. If we’d known that on day 1, that would really have helped! There are designer shops, stunning architecture and lots of fab places to eat down there, but more on the food in the next post :-) x