I love Christmas, it’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. I was lucky enough to get to experience the markets in Budapest this year, and I think it will have to be a yearly occurrence.
I found myself overwhelmed at the market even considering I’ve already tried a lot of traditional Hungarian food. I also have a real live Hungarian who will refuse to buy certain things at the market (I’m looking at you, chimney cakes and pork knuckles), because it’s so much more expensive than what you can get elsewhere. I’ve made a list of my favourite things you can find at the market, although the market isn’t where I’ve tried most of them.
Mulled wine (Foralt Bor)– If I could make myself a perfume in the scent of mulled wine, I would. Why don’t you just drown me in it? You can make this at home easily. Just heat up a dry red wine (a sweet wine will turn bitter when heated up), add rum, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, anise, sliced up orange and apple, and you’ll have happiness in a cup. You can buy (or make) this with white wine or rose, but I like red the best.
Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)– I’m so in love with these. It’s a sweet yeast dough rolled on a wooden roller, coated in sugar, baked over charcoal or in the oven, and then rolled in the topping (cinnamon, walnut, vanilla, etc.) I asked if I could buy the stick they make it on, but they said no.
Tip: If you’re at the Vörösmarty tér market, the Deák tér subway station right outside of the Starbucks on Fashion Street sells them for 350HUF (around $1.50CAN) instead of the 2000HUF (around $10CAN) they’re sold for at the market.
Goulash- One of the most popular Hungarian dishes, and for a good reason. It’s like a hug in a bowl. I mean, you can get this at almost every restaurant in the country, but they serve it in bread bowls at the market, and who doesn’t love bread bowls?
Lángos- This grew on me the second time I had it. It’s a must try. Fried dough covered in sour cream, cheese, and garlic. Health.
Tip: The cheapest and best place to get lángos is the Central Market Hall.
Kemencés Lángos- This is almost like pizza but it’s made of the lángos dough and baked. I only had a bite of this, but I think I like it better than the regular lángos.
Túrós Csusza– Another weird Hungarian food that I ended up liking; these guys have the best food, I swear. This is pasta or noodles with sour cream, Hungarian cheese (almost like cottage cheese), and bacon- it’s worth the calories.
Cabbage Rolls- These are my favourite. At the market, they’re served on top of a giant hashbrown, yay for carbs!
Tip: Don’t buy these at the market, find them at a restaurant because no singular cabbage roll is worth 3000HUF (around $15CAN) in my books.
Hungarian Sausage- I feel dumb writing these sometimes. How can I explain that sausage is good and convince you to try it? I can’t, it’s obvious. It’s not as important as trying the chimney cakes, but it’s up there. You can get them on buns or by themselves, but either way, they won’t disappoint.
Roasted Chestnuts- If I’m being honest I never got around to trying these. I just think it’s worth noting that their sold here. The song “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” always runs through my head when I see these vendors. You can only buy them ten at a time when I only want two. I google searched “how to eat roasted chestnuts,” in attempts to prepare myself, and am still unsure of whether you have to crack them or just eat them how they are. If anyone knows.. Let me know..
I’ll end this blog post with a piece of advice. Try everything you possibly can. Unless you’re vegan, you will like all the food here, except DO NOT TRY THE PALINKA. I am serious, no matter what anyone tells you, it’s not good. If it’s offered for free, say no. Don’t look at it, don’t smell it, don’t consume it. You can try the Unicum, it just tastes like medicine, but under no circumstances should you ever think putting Palinka in your body is a good idea.
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