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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

The 8 Most Popular Foods in Budapest

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Peter S.

Last updated : Jan 02, 20238 min read

Food & Drink

Budapest is an exciting tourist destination known for its fabulous architecture, classical ‘European city’ atmosphere, and all sorts of fascinating places to visit. With delights galore, it might be easy to overlook the array of mouth-watering traditional dishes that Budapest has on the menu.

We’ve picked a selection that you certainly won’t want to miss out on during your visit. Enhance your stay with one of our local Budapest private tour guides who can make sure you see everything on your list while directing you to the best places to enjoy every local delicacy.

Gulyás

blog imageGulyás or ‘goulash’ as it is known in English, is Hungary’s national dish. Served as a stew in most parts of the world, Hungarian goulash is actually a thin broth with chunks of beef, onions, tomatoes, pepper, paprika, and seasoning. Potatoes can also be added, and sometimes pork or mutton is substituted for beef. Some variations also include csipetke, a pinched pasta.

The dish was originally prepared by cattle herders who fried up pork fat and onions over a campfire and added chopped beef. The food was cooked in a cast iron cauldron over an open fire, and many traditional restaurants still cook it this way.

Goulash is usually served with hot paprika and sliced white bread or nokedli - Hungarian dumplings. It’s a hearty dish that is enjoyed by locals during both the summer and winter months. Naturally, there are many highly rated restaurants around Budapest serving goulash, such as Baltazar Budapest, Nancsi Neni, or Stand25 Bisztro in the Hold Street Market. You can also ask your local Budapest tour guide to show you to their favorite goulash spots.

Lángos

blog imageLángos (pronounced lung-osh in English), is a bubbly, deep-fried flat bread made of flour, yeast, water, and salt. It is enjoyed best when crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside. It is said that lángos was first created when some bakers grew hungry while waiting for the bread to rise, so they removed it from the oven early for a snack.

One of Budapest’s most popular street foods, lángos is fried in oil and usually eaten warm with garlic, grated cheese, and sour cream slathered on top. Alternative toppings include sausage, ham, and goat cheese. There are also sweet lángos variations with jam or Nutella, but these are not the typical way Hungarians enjoy them.

This classic comfort food can be found at various markets, metro stations, or local fast food chains such as Retro Bufe which has locations throughout the city. It’s a savory treat to eat on the go and can be enjoyed year round.

Rakott krumpli 

blog imageThis dish is the Hungarian version of potato gratin. Prepared with layers of sliced potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper, and sometimes paprika-flavored smoked sausage. The name translates to English as pleated or layered potatoes. It’s a dish that can be found both in private kitchens and restaurants.

The first time a recipe for rakott krumpli appeared in print was in a Hungarian cookbook published in 1840. The dish was not common at restaurants in the past; however recently it has been gaining in popularity. It can be eaten as a main dish with pickles on the side or served as a side dish. Stand 25 at the Hold Street Market Hall is a recommended place to try this Hungarian classic.

Töltött káposzta

blog imageHaving once been part of the Ottoman Empire, it's no surprise to find that Hungary has adopted some Ottoman dishes and made them their own. Stuffed cabbage Hungarian style is prepared with seasoned minced pork, rice, chopped onions, egg, and sometimes tomato - all wrapped in a cabbage leaf, seasoned with paprika, and placed upon a layer of sauerkraut. Slices of smoked bacon are added, and then more sauerkraut is spooned on top. Finally, a layer of cabbage tops it off. It's covered with water and brought to a boil, then left to simmer until the contents are all cooked through.

Töltött káposzta is most commonly enjoyed in winter, and as you can tell from the long list of ingredients, things can get quite complex. That’s why this is definitely a dish worth trying at an established local restaurant. To make things easy, ask one of our Hungarian tour guides to show you around the most popular places.

Lecsó

blog imageLecsó is a versatile dish made primarily with sweet yellow peppers and tomatoes. It is prepared by sauteing the peppers and some onions in pork fat before adding the tomatoes. To make it more filling, some variations can also include sausages, eggs, or beans.

This colorful winter comfort food can be eaten with a helping of sour cream, together with smoked meat roasts, or served as a side dish to túrós csusza (pasta and cottage cheese). It can also be used as a topping for eggs or a slice of bread.

Hungarians who prepare lecsó at home often make it in large quantities when the vegetables are at the peak of ripeness. It is then canned and stored to last through the cold winter months. When in season, lecsó can be found almost everywhere. Look for it at Borkonyha Winekitchen or at Café Kör Restaurant located near the Basilica.

Főzelék

blog imageA famous dish served in canteens, főzelék is made of whatever vegetables are available. The most common ingredients include bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, beans, peas, carrots, and squash. For extra flavor, bay leaves, garlic, dill, caraway seeds, and of course paprika can be added.

The ingredients are cooked in lard and thickened with flour. The resulting concoction is somewhere between a soup and a stew, and like so many Hungarian dishes it is often served with sour cream. Főzelék can make for a great traditional option for those in search of vegetarian dishes.

Paprikás csirke

blog imageChicken paprikash, as the name translates, is quite possibly the number two traditional dish in Hungary after goulash. It even got mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is tender chicken and a thick sauce made with paprika and sour cream (yes, again).

It is usually served with nokedli (Hungarian dumplings) or a homemade pasta called galuska. This simple dish can have a surprisingly rich flavor profile, making it popular with home cooks and professional chefs alike.

Kürtőskalács

blog imageWhat list of local delectables would be complete without something sweet? "Chimney cake" is a cylindrical cake that is served while still hot so that the rising steam resembles smoke from a chimney. It is prepared by winding strips of a sweet yeast dough around a truncated cylindrical spit, and then coated in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon and icing sugar. As the cake is roasted over charcoal, the sugar forms a unique crispy coating. Once ready, the cake is carefully slid off the spit and then sprinkled with cinnamon or ground walnuts. It is intended to be shared, and is eaten by tearing off strips of the hot, sweet, crunchy dough.

Chimney cakes are mostly popular around the Christmas season, but they can typically be found at markets and roadside kiosks throughout the city all year round. A good place to find chimney cake is at the Central Market Hall. Just remember, Chimney cake is best enjoyed when it is still steaming fresh.

Conclusion

Part of the excitement of visiting Budapest lies in trying out some of the region’s historical cuisine. Touring the city will surely whet your appetite for something savory, and Hungarian cooking has much to tantalize your taste buds (especially if you love sour cream). Start planning a Budapest tour with the help of your personal Hungarian tour guide. They can help you find the best places to indulge in the local delicacies.

Budapest Tour Guide - Tiberiu C.

Tiberiu C.

Hungary

Szia! Hi! Hallo! Ceau! My name is Tiberiu(s), or Tibi for short, and I am an IT Service Manager who found his passion in tour guiding over 5 years ago. With late-afternoon and weekend availability (full time as of June), I am more than excited to take you on a mini-journey, including not only the main attractions of the city, but also the lesser-known ones including some tastings. I am also more than happy to adapt the tours to your needs and we may even go outside of the city, if you'd like to, since I own a car. I am also available for one or the other daytrip in or outside of Budapest, just let me know about 1-2 weeks in advance, so I can plan my schedule accordingly. Before booking though, please contact me online in advance, just to make sure. "In the end... we only regret the chances we didn't take" (Lewis Caroll) I want to make memories for people from all over the world! And most important of all, I like to give them an actual taste of our city. You just can't visit Hungary and not try some of our traditional foods (not for veggies or vegans though). Hope to meet you soon and "Viszlát", as we say in Hungarian!                                                                                                                                 

Zala Tour Guide - Viktor K.

Viktor K.

Hungary

The two biggest problems in my life are, that I was born too soon to become a space-cowboy and too late to become a roman legionary soldier. Since Tour guiding was the closest profession to both of these above mentioned things, I became one. Although I finished the university as a communications expert and journalist in Hungary, it seems they did not prefer my honesty, so I didn't have too many prospects in that field. Without a clue of what to do next, I embarked on a journey to find some answers. I soon found my ambition in Tour-guiding and ended up working on a cruise ship, then as a freelancer tour-guide, and then as an adventure tour-guide in Norway. I've been working in the tourism industry since 2012 and ever since, it''was my dream to create an authentic company of my own and to show the beautiful things of my home country. My travels took me to more then 40+ countries. [And I still have both of my kidneys] Sadly during my journeys, I have discovered that out of 100 companies 99 are simply tourist traps, who scam their customers with some fake "experience". But I also saw, that the authentic and quality tour operators are the longest lasting companies with 20+ years. I aspire to become like that 1 in 100 companies. I believe in win-win situations. I'm a social guy. I like to be around people and to show them around. I like to have deep and honest conversations about things and I love to meet some truly amazing guests. There is nothing that you cannot talk about with me. I like this job so much, that I would even do this job for free, but since I cannot buy food with respect, love, or honesty, I do need something more tangible. Anyways…why are you wasting your time reading about me? Go book a tour and we will have all the time in the world to get to know each other and this beautiful Country.                                                                                                                                 

Budapest Tour Guide - George rashad S.

George rashad S.

Hungary

Dear Visitors! I am happy to welcome You on my page! I am a historian and a licensed tour guide in Hungary. As a tour guide my main goal is to get the most of the dear visitor's time, during their visit in the most convenient way possible. That is why my tours are personalized with flexible departure times and routes. I'm fond of history and I am fascinated by the various cultures. I graduated as a historian. Being a tour guide, I found what I was looking for. It is a great feeling, when I can present the values of Hungary, share interesting stories and information to visitors who long to see and know more, while I also constantly expand my skills and get to know new people. For me, the real success is the joy and satisfaction of my guests. I work in the field of tourism for more than 10 years. My historic and cultural tours embrace the most beautiful and the most important attractions of Budapest, which treasure and revive the history of Hungary. The walking tours provide an exquisite opportunity to immerse you in the urban maelstrom, gain insight into people's everyday lives, try out the developed public transport network of Budapest, including Europe's second oldest tram. In case you would rather sit back and enjoy the sightseeing in comfort, you can choose one of my driving tours. I wish you wonderful time in Hungary! Best regards, George                                                                                                                                 

Budapest Tour Guide - Ágota B.

Ágota B.

Hungary

Hello, Join me for a tour and look at sights through my eyes and explore with a local. I live in Budapest and have been working as a licenced local guide for about 10 years. I have a University educational background, I did my studies in Hungary and then worked as an intern in the United States for a year and a half. Hungary is a tiny little country but it has got several attractive cities, towns and natural wonders. Besides Budapest, I really like to work around Lake Balaton, in the Danube bend including Szentendre. I have had tourists almost from all over the world so far. Come with me and discover the secrets and beauties of Budapest during a four- hour sightseeing tour. Taking in all of the principal sights, my fascinating route takes you through the most famous and interesting parts of the city. In my spare time I like doing sports like cycling, skiing, hiking and I regulary take part in sailing compatitions. So if you are tired of walking and looking for challenges there is another option to explore the city by bike with the help of the public bike sharing system called Bubi.                                                                                                                                  

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