Budapest in winter: what to eat and drink

Try some of the best food and drinks in Budapest on your next trip…

I’ve just returned from a wonderful five days in the Hungarian capital, which was even more magical than I expected. In winter Budapest turns into something of a winter wonderland, where everything is cast in soft greys and blues, the air is crisp and cold, and the beautiful ornate buildings come frosted with powdery white snow, like something straight out of a fairytale. Oh yes, and there’s the glittering fairy lights which seem to adorn every bar and restaurant with festive cheeriness. With all this chill in the air, however, you really need some hearty Hungarian food and drink to warm up with, and luckily Budapest does a solid job at serving up delicious and filling treats.

Here’s how we ate and drank our way around the capital…

Lángos

What’s round, tastes like a doughnut and comes topped with sour cream and cheese? A traditional Hungarian Lángos, that’s what. As soon as I read about these on the flight to Budapest I knew they would be right up my street, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I got mine at the Budapest Christmas Fair but there are many places that serve them throughout the city, including one we walked by called Lángos Papa that looked delightful and I really wish we’d gone into!

Soup in a loaf

There’s something kind of beautiful about having your soup served out of a rustic bread bowl, and you see it a lot in Budapest. My boyfriend ordered traditional goulash at one of the Christmas markets in town whereas I opted for garlic cream soup in one of the restaurants we stopped in for lunch one day. Topped with a smudge of molten cheese, and accompanied by a delicious glass of red, it was divine from start to finish and totally worth smelling of garlic for the rest of the day.

Hot fruit tea

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock but I’d never come across hot tea before. Hot wine, hot cider, but never hot fruit tea. We were served it as a welcome drink on the Danube boat cruise we got and it was absolutely delicious. Hot, sweet and spiced, it was exactly what I needed after the freezing walk down to the river – and much better than the watery red wine they dished out later. So when we came across it the next day in one of the smaller Budapest Christmas markets in the city I didn’t hesitate to get it again, and it was just as good second time around. Definitely try it.

Liquor coffee

Nothing new about this one, but sipping a cup of coffee while you people watch at one of the many cosy cafes almost seems like a rite of passage when you’re in Budapest. Unfortunately, bad blogger that I am, we ended up in more of a tourist trap place – we were freezing and needed to plan our route to our next destination – so that was that. Despite the less than instagrammable backdrop, my amaretto coffee was delicious and did the job nicely. Not feeling bad at all.

Chicken stew with dumplings

With its cosy surroundings, traditional gingham table cloths, and friendly service, cosy cafe Ildiko’s Kitchen near the castle district was exactly what I needed after a long morning trudging around in the snow. The Hungarians love their sour cream and so do I, and it definitely added an extra level of deliciousness to this dish. The pasta-like dumplings were also especially good – the pics don’t really do it justice. The place was packed out and you could tell why, as the food is great; simple, hearty and tasty, exactly what you want on a cold day. Make sure you stop by.

What is your favourite food or drink that you’ve tried in Budapest?

3 Comments

  1. I am DROOLING. That soup in a roll looks insane!! Garlic is one of my absolute favourite flavours, too. Budapest sounds right up my street food-wise (and everything else-wise!). Myself and my partner are yet to visit but it is definitely on our list 🙂
    Alice Xx

    Like

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