It seems like dozens of people have told us about how wonderful Budapest is. Parents, friends, siblings, neighbors…for a long time, it seemed that everyone had been to Budapest except us. It also seemed that the rave reviews about Budapest being one of the greatest cities in the world were too good to be true. How could everyone love the same city equally?
Well, we finally got the opportunity to travel to Budapest. Our final verdict? It exceeds the hype. Every corner of the city is teeming with life, and the people are friendly, courteous and welcoming. And of course, the main reason that you clicked on this blog post, the food is incredible!
When we first arrived in the city, we were blown away by how many amazing restaurants and food vendors we saw. It seemed like every other storefront was filled with delicious-smelling cuisines from all around the world. Turkish food, Italian food, Thai food, Chinese food, American food…you name it, Budapest has got it.
So we set off to try some of the most delicious street food that we could find! The result was two very stuffed, yet very happy people.
Best Hungarian Foods to Try
When in Budapest, try Hungarian food! They have some delicious specialties that we had never even heard of before. From cheesy breads to meaty goulashes, here are some of the highlights from what we tried.
Lángos is a Hungarian food that is as unhealthy as it is delicious. The traditional lángos is made of fried dough, then it is topped with sour cream and shredded cheese. However, there are some variations with toppings, with some including potatoes, meats and even veggies.
They are fairly popular in Budapest, with many street vendors selling them. They seem to cost anywhere between $2-$6 USD, depending on the toppings you get.
When we first took a bite out of a lángos, we almost thought the dough tasted like a doughnut! The sour cream and cheese on top did a great job of evening out the flavor. It was so warm, sweet and delicious, we devoured it within minutes.
Most often compared to a beef stew, goulash is the perfect comfort food to keep you warm on a cold winter day. Even though it was a hot summer day when we tried this Hungarian specialty, we still enjoyed the delicious flavors.
This is definitely a tricky street food to eat on the go since a bowl and spoon is involved. Nevertheless, we found a little table to stand at while we savored every bite of our beef goulash.
Goulash is probably a bit more on the expensive side as far as Budapest street food goes. This is because it has quite a bit of red meat in it. We purchased a modest bowl of goulash for about $6 USD from a vendor inside the Central Market Hall.
We’re not sure if kürtőskalács are technically Hungarian, since this sweet treat can be found in many countries in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, it is extremely delicious and quite popular in Hungary. So we figured we’d give it a try, only with a new and exciting twist: with ice cream inside!
As if kürtőskalács weren’t delicious enough already, the ice cream inside gave it another level of yumminess. With cinammon, sugar, and chocolate flakes on top, vanilla ice cream goes perfectly with a chocolate kürtőskalács.
If you are in Budapest and looking for a decadent dessert, this is it!
Who doesn’t love cheese? It’s one of those foods that goes with pretty much anything. That’s why we were so excited to try the fried cheese that Budapest is so well known for.
You can find fried blocks of cheese of pretty much any variation (cheddar, swiss, etc.). It’s a great vegetarian option, since Budapest’s street food tends to be pretty meat heavy.
We opted to try some fried mac and cheese bites, and boy were they delicious! Dipped in a spicy wasabi sauce, it was the perfect afternoon snack. No regrets!
Best International Cuisines to Try
You’ll notice that Budapest’s street food scene doesn’t solely revolve around Hungarian food. There are actually just as many international vendors, from countries all over the world. It’s worth trying food from these vendors, since Hungarian people are a melting pot from many different cultures.
Turkish food is awesome, because there is something for everyone. If you are a meat lover, rejoice while they carve fresh meat from rotating skewers. If you’re vegetarian, enjoy the tasty falafel that is filled with delicious Mediterranean spices.
There are so many Turkish food vendors in Budapest, you’ll likely stumble upon them on your own. But in case you want to try some of the most highly rated vendors in the city, here are a few of the best:
We were very surprised when we saw how many Mexican food vendors there were in Budapest. It is sort of a rarity in Eastern Europe, so it was great to see a thriving Mexican food scene in Hungary’s capital.
While many of them don’t serve super authentic Mexican food, they do offer up some great classic dishes. Tacos, chips & salsa, and burritos are all offered fairly widely. And of course, Coronas are always on the menu–albeit more expensive than we were used to in San Diego. Here are a few of Budapest’s best Mexican street food spots:
Best Street Food Vendors
Street food is very popular in Budapest, so many of the best street food vendors are highly sought after. Here are a few of our favorites.
Street Food Karavan
If you want to get a good sampling of Budapest’s street food scene without having to walk too far in between vendors, look no further than Street Food Karavan. This mini street food park has tons of different vendors, serving up food from Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, and so much more.
The entire atmosphere is so awesome at Karavan. We loved the string lanterns and communal seating. You could definitely spend hours here experiencing Budapest’s delicious street food.
Central Market Hall
We were amazed at the sheer size of Central Market Hall. It is seriously massive. The moment we walked in, we were speechless at the beautiful high-beam ceilings and row after row of vendors.
Downstairs, it’s more of a produce and meat market. You can buy items that you might cook with, but also handmade goods like clothing and souvenirs. Upstairs is where most of the street food is. Again, Central Market Hall is the perfect place to sample Budapest’s street food scene without having to walk too far.
You can’t leave Budapest without trying at least one kürtőskalács. These funnel-cake lookalikes are made fresh at Molnár’s kürtőskalács. Better yet, they can be filled with decadent ice cream. It’s the best of both worlds.
If you like cheese, then you’ll love Paneer. They specialize in all things cheese–grilled cheese, fried cheese, mac and cheese. You name it, they’ve got it. Plus, they have a great modern atmosphere that you can enjoy if you don’t feel like taking your food on the go.
We can only speak to their mac and cheese bites, but the food here is wonderful. It’s made fresh to order, and it’s very reasonably priced.
We strolled by this popular street food hot spot one night and were amazed at the amount of different foods they have. Burgers, tacos, margaritas, coffee and everything in between. Plus, there’s plenty of communal seating.
This seems like an ideal place to go if you want to try street food and order a drink with it. Their drink menu looked extremely good!
Budapest’s street food scene is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. The city has so much street food it’s shocking. And since it’s so popular, it’s very easy to locate the best spots by their high ratings and crowds of people.
Most of the places that we tried accepted credit card. However, there were a few places that are cash only. Just to be safe, make sure you carry some Hungarian currency on you to avoid any payment mishaps.
Don’t forget to check out our other posts from Hungary:
- 17 Fun Things To Do In Debrecen, Hungary
- Ultimate Guide to the Flower Carnival in Debrecen, Hungary
- Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day in Budapest, Hungary!