After recently visiting Taste Hungary for their Jewish Cuisine Walking Food Tour, I decided to join them for their Buda Food Walk to discover more about the city’s fascinating history and sample its distinct cuisine.
After my participation in Taste Hungary’s Jewish Cuisine Walking Food Tour, I joined them for their Buda Food Walk. I met the host and other tour participants in an easy-to-find central meeting location before we set out to learn more about the city’s fascinating history and sample its unique cuisine.
Many dont understand that Budapest, currently one city, was originally two cities split by the Danube River that wasnt legally unified until 1873. Although Pest is bigger and more commercial, Buda is recognized as the city’s calmer, hillier side.
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Our first visit was a family-owned bakery that has been in business since 1870 for coffee and pastries. This bakery has been run by the same family for four generations! We proceeded to have a traditional Hungarian breakfast, which included coffee and something sweet.
Our first course was my personal favorite. As many of you know, I’m not a big fan of sweets, but this was a savory offering with pig cracklings in the dough.
They were quite appealing to me. These were a little thick, but full of taste. I could picture one of these with a cup of coffee being rather satisfying.
The following two sweeter options were popular with the remainder of my group. This flaky dessert-type pastry was filled with a pudding-like cream and topped with a liberal sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Finally, there was a profitable choice. I liked it since it was more fruity than sweet. The fruit was wonderful, and the crust was buttery. This one matched pretty nicely with the cappuccinos we drank.
We headed out for the local market, a type of farmers market, once everyone had finished their coffee.
It was fantastic to visit this market on the Buda food walk since it didn’t seem at all touristy. The market looked to be mostly made up of residents doing their shopping. We seemed to be there during peak season, since the stalls were brimming with fresh fruits, berries, and veggies.
We passed many kiosks offering artisanal items such as honey, cheese, and rows upon rows of preserved meats.
One vendor specialized in Mangalica pork, a regional delicacy. Mangalica pork is notably derived from a cross between a Hungarian domestic pig and a wild boar. The name translates to “hog with a lot of lard,” and we tasted slices with plenty of creamy, luscious fat.
When we began to feel a little full, our guide recommended we try a digestive to keep our appetites going for the remainder of the trip. We stopped at the same farmers market at a little cafe to taste their sour cherry-flavored plinka, a traditional fruit brandy.
We all agreed that, considering the quantity of alcohol they contained, they went down much too easily! While the plinka was prominent, the sour cherry taste was also there.
Next we went to one of the market’s busiest vendors to sample langos, a Hungarian delicacy.
When we arrived and entered the queue, the fragrance of fried dough struck us. Locals came away with different versions of the same delicacy of deep-fried bread topped with a variety of toppings.
Some others had the fried bread plain, but I was glad our tour guide picked the one with sour cream, cheese, and a layer of chopped onions.
This is not a light meal, but it was so delicious- warm fried bread with a crispy surface and a fluffy center, all topped with sour cream, cheese, and onions for a nice finishing layer.
Thankfully, the whole group shared a single langos. I can envision eating one of these and not needing anything else for the rest of the day.
As we moved from vendor to stall, we came upon a pickle business, and one of the attendees said that she liked pickled foods.
This vendor pickled everything, even tiny watermelons. It reminded me of the pickled foods store we visited on my Istanbul walking food tour.
When the seller saw her curiosity, he immediately put together a small tasting of pickled products for us to enjoy.
I don’t enjoy most pickled foods, but everyone on the trip that does liked everything they tasted.
As we were leaving the market and making our way to the next location, one of the stalls grabbed my eye. One vendor specialized in honey and had several different types for sale, which she let us try.
Some of the most unusual honeys were flavored with tobacco blossoms, lindon flowers, and (my personal favorite) chestnut honey.
We went a short stroll to a Communist-era coffee shop for another digestive to allow us time to absorb everything we had just tasted.
This time, we tasted Unicum, Hungary’s national drink.
Unicum has a fascinating history. During the Jewish persecution, the original factory owners who created the drink escaped. They were compelled to pass over the secret formula, which is reported to comprise over 40 herbs that provide the distinct taste, before leaving.
The proprietors gave the state a forged formula, and the drink they created was never as popular as the original.
As Communism collapsed, the original owners were allowed to return, repurchase their stolen plant, and resume production of their (still-secret) formula.
I don’t like Unicum (the black liquor in the middle) and have tried it previously. Instead, the guide gave some of us a variant manufactured by the same business. I do, however, like the narrative of how the original proprietors deceived the state and then returned to recreate the cherished original recipe.
We then went to a conventional restaurant for a sit-down meal.
When we entered this restaurant, I was reminded of why I love these excursions so much: I would never have discovered this establishment on my own, and I would be astonished if it was suggested on any huge review site.
It seemed and felt like you were inside your grandmother’s home. The cuisine felt the same way, with basic yet wonderful homestyle meals.
We began with a meal that I knew I wouldn’t enjoy when I selected it. I still wanted to try it since it was a local speciality.
This is a chilly soup made from woodland fruits.
Many other tour participants enjoyed it, and one of them finished mine when I didn’t. When it was hot, I can see how going outside may be refreshing.
Everything else we were provided was delicious.
The first of my favorites was this stacked cabbage dish packed with meat and rice, served hot and topped with a creamy yogurt.
Then there came this dish of stewed chicken livers in a thick, wonderful sauce with herbed potatoes on the side.
Both were wonderful, and despite the fact that we were all in a food coma, we couldn’t stop eating.
I concluded the Buda food tour with a deeper grasp of the city’s history and a tummy so full that I couldn’t think about supper! This trip is highly recommended for anybody who like a lot of dining with a side of history.
Practical Information: Go here to learn more about this tour and to schedule it for yourself.
Disclaimer: I’d like to thank Taste Hungary for asking me to be their guest on this trip. As usual, all views are mine.