Christmas treats in Budapest

Even though we didn’t have a lot of time in Budapest, we still got to try some lovely food thanks to the Christmas market.

There were many craft stalls spread out at Vorosmarty Square which were fun to browse through, but the cluster of food stalls in the centre was definitely the main attraction for both locals and tourists alike.

Budapest’s cuisine is a bit of a melting pot, with influences from around the continent such as France, Germany, Italy and more. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have a few signature dishes too…

GOULASH

Probably best described as a stew, goulash could be found in most of the establishments we saw. Consisting of meat (usually beef), vegetables and potatoes, it was the perfect winter warmer during our visit.

But what’s even better than dipping some bread into a soup stew? Eating the soup from a big bread bowl!

goulash

CHIMNEY CAKE

We saw a small queue of people lined up outside of a little hut, near the end of a street we were passing through. It was a tiny little booth (imagine a small ticket office), with a basic kitchen in, and about three members of staff making what looked like bread, in an assembly line – one person was rolling out a dough, another began wrapping it around a large skewer before placing it to cook on a kebab-style turning oven, and the third person dusted the cooked ones with something before handing it to a customer. We ordered one to try with a light coating of vanilla – a delicious bread-like treat, hot from the cooker.

When we arrived at the Christmas market, we saw a couple of stalls selling larger versions of them too.

It wasn’t until I came home that I discovered this is nicknamed ‘chimney cake’. It’s a sweet dough which is coated with melted butter and sugar, then cooked until crisp and topped with flavourings.

chimney cake

SAUSAGES

So. Many. Sausages. The more ‘gourmet’ ones (like black pudding sausages for example), are weighed individually and served on their own, but you can also find stalls who sell them as hot dogs and topped with sauerkraut.

MULLED WINE

A must-have at any Christmas market, and the only bit of Hungarian I learnt while I was there – forralt bor! Buy one in a keepsake mug to warm up your hands, or try a hot cup of raspberry schnapps instead – a sweeter and more fruity alternative.


Need-to-know

  • Located at Vorosmarty Square and St. Stephen’s Square (but smaller)
  • Open from mid-November to early January
  • Free to enter

Image by Karl Gruber

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