Niagara Culinary Tours and Plan a Culinary Vacation found themselves in Budapest and we knew that we had to explore Hungarian food culture. Budapest was the last stop on our river cruise this summer so we decided to spend a few days there. We booked what hubby called an upscale backpacker hotel on the Pest side.
Budapest made a memorable impression from the moment we arrived with its spectacular show of lights as we sailed in, to the positive airport experience when we departed.
So you’re probably expecting us to say this, but the first thing we did when we got there was go on a food tour. I know I say it over and over, but a food tour is such a cost effective and amazing way to explore a new destination that why wouldn’t you?!
Firstly, you have to eat eventually so why not utilize the experience and instead of trying to find the best places to eat on your own, let the local experts do it for you. They have spent hours and hours, searching and tasting to find hidden gems and delicious spots that everyone will love. If you know what you like your guide can also help with custom recommendations that are often a little off the beaten path and very affordable.
Our guide Leve from Secret Food Tours Budapest, was a fantastic! He was knowledgeable, passionate and a great deal of fun to spend an afternoon with. At the end of the tour we felt like we had just been hanging out with an old friend who we were visiting after they had moved to Budapest. As food tour operators we can be somewhat intimidating so we were very happy that our guide was so friendly and relaxed. The afternoon breezed by as we ate, we talked and we laughed a lot.
We started off at a coffee shop/cafe where we enjoyed a slice of traditional cake called Flodni which was filled with poppyseed, walnut cream and plum jam. There really are no words to describe this sweet delicacy because there were so many flavours. It was a nice surprise and a great start to our tour. We sat at this sidewalk cafe and learned about Budapest and Leve patiently answered our multiple questions about education, history, currency and most importantly where to have dinner during our visit!
After we finished our coffee, we walked a bit, stopped and had a bite at the market where Leve collected some interesting foods and sat us down for a bit of a picnic. After this we got to take a short bicycle ride to another neighbourhood.
We were excited to get to taste Langos, a Hungarian fried dough covered in sour cream, onions and cheese. Okay not the most healthy but traditional and delicious. One of our stops had a very eclectic outdoor courtyard that felt very European and fun where we tried summer goulash and enjoyed a rose spritz. We learned a bit about wine from Budapest at a wine bar and of course there was a secret stop. Actually one stop was so secret that they didn’t allow photos so you will just have to do this tour yourself to find out what it was.
Budapest has always been a place of curiosity for me. I would not hesitate to return as there are so many places we didn’t get to. I was happy to make it to see both sides of the river to explore both Buda and Pest. There was a Frida Khalo exhibit at the Hungarian National Gallery on while we were there so we had to make it over to Buda. After seeing the exhibit we then wandered the castle district. Buda made for a nice hilly afternoon but Pest is home to a pretty interesting culinary scene filled with restaurants, cafes and markets. If we go back we would love to do another food tour and also try Chicken Papriksh. In the mean time I will settle for the recipe I found and use the paprika I brought home from the market.
Do not forget to check your flight even while waiting at the gate for boarding. If the monitor says that you should contact customer service there is likely a reason. We were waiting at the Budapest airport for our departing flight and while we had already been informed about our 2 hour delay apparently we were eligible for a meal voucher because of the inconvenience. We happily waited in line and collected our voucher and had a bite to eat before boarding our flight. It was a nice surprise that wasn’t announced but was very much appreciated.
Written by: Kimberley Gunning of Plan A Culinary Vacation and Niagara Culinary Tours
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