The Best Food & Drinks at Budapest Christmas Markets

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2017

If you’re in Budapest during December, then you have to visit at least one Christmas market. It’s really not that hard, they’re everywhere - the biggest ones at Vörösmarty Square and outside St Stephen’s Basilica, and smaller ones dotted around just about every cute square in the city.

Aside from souvenir hunting, or a little last minute Christmas shopping, the main reason to go is to stuff your face and drink yourself silly with the deliciousness they have on offer.

 

Stuff like...

 

Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)

Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like us, start with this - delicious doughy pastry wrapped like a chimney, glazed over a charcoal fire and dusted with all sorts of wonderful things like cinnamon, sugar and chocolate sprinkles.

 

And, recently, some entrepreneurial fellows came up with the idea of serving it with ice-cream inside. Quick though, it’s going to melt!

Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves)

Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves)

Goulash is the national dish of Hungary. A hearty beef soup made with garlic, carrots, green peppers, onion and plenty of paprika to give it a kick, and often some diced potato to fill it out. Originally invented by country folk to keep them warm at work, it’s now loved by just about everyone.

 

One local touch is to serve it in a hollowed out loaf of bread - turning it into more of a stew than a soup, since the bread soaks up most of the liquid. Kind of weird, but we like it.

Paprika Potatoes (Paprikás krumpli)

Paprika Potatoes (Paprikás krumpli)

Another Hungarian classic, this is sauteed onions, chopped tomatoes, potatoes and a whole load of paprika left to boil for upwards of 30 minutes until tasty and tender. The carnivores among you should ask for it with some kolbász - smoked Hungarian sausage.

Mulled wine (Forralt bor)

Mulled wine (Forralt bor)

I mean, they have it everywhere, but it’s also great here. If you can find it, look out for mulled wine made from Bull’s Blood wine - a tasty red variety from the Eger wine region in the west. It’s about as badass as it sounds.

Grilled sausages

Grilled sausages

If you’re a die-hard carnivore (or maybe embarking on the infamous keto diet) then this is one thing you don’t want to miss! In addition to being a great way to line your stomach before tonight’s boat party or pub crawl, you get a mouthful of delicious juicy spiced meat flavour with every bite and the added joys of licking the red, oily juices off your fingers when you’re done. We highly recommend getting it with a side of mustard, some bread if you’re not carb- or gluten-free, and a large glass of local beer to wash it down perfectly.

Strudel (Rétes)

Strudel (Rétes)

Another win for the sugar lovers, this is every Hungarian’s favorite dessert. Imagine biting down into flakey pastry oozing with such delightful flavors as apple-cinnamon, sweet cottage-cheese, and sour cherry.


It also has a sister snack beigli - spiral-shaped pastries bursting with sweet walnut or poppyseed filling and served in thin slices where one is just never quite enough.

Stuffed Cabbage (töltött káposzta)

Stuffed Cabbage (töltött káposzta)

This stuff is bloody delicious - perfect if you’re hungover - and takes hours of dedication and a little bit of skill to get right. Cabbage leaves are wrapped around fillings like minced pork meat, covered in paprika before being baked, simmered or steamed. Many countries in Europe boast their own version of this dish, but we believe hands-down that Hungary wins the gold on their version.

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