It is very likely that what has made you visit the Hungarian capital is its extensive cultural heritage. Surely before traveling you are planning what to see and do in Budapest, but I recommend that you do not lose sight of other facets that the city offers to all its visitors. The best example is, without a doubt, its gastronomic culture.
To know how and what is eaten in Budapest there is nothing better than hiring some of the gastronomic tours offered there. Not only will you be able to taste its most traditional dishes and wines, but they are also a great way to get into its streets and markets to witness the relationship of Hungarians with their food and be, in a way, part of it.
1. First contact with a Central Market Tour
To start getting to know the gastronomy of Budapest nothing better than this tour that takes you through one of its most iconic places: the Central Market. Although today it is largely focused on tourism, this market has always been the place where the best chefs of the capital went to buy what they needed for their creations.
Accompanied by a guide, you will be able to get to know some of the most typical products of the country, from paprika to mangalica pork. Of course, during the tour you can taste some of the traditional Hungarian dishes while the guide explains their history and relates them to the city.
You can not miss an explanation about the wines of the country, which together with the food are a substantial part of the Hungarian culture.
- In which area is it? This tour is mainly focused on the Central Market of Budapest.
- How much does it cost? from about 30 euros
- How long does it take?: about 1 hour and 30 minutes
- What does it include? A tour of the market while the guide explains which ingredients are most present in the country's gastronomy. During the tour you will be able to taste some of the most typical dishes.
- Recommended for: those who are looking for a short introduction to the country's gastronomy in an emblematic place.
2. Taste the most traditional dishes and wines during a tour of Budapest.
One of the best tours that you can do in Budapest is this one dedicated to the traditional Hungarian food. Not only will you discover its most classic flavors and wines, but you will also visit some of its most interesting corners and you will be able to enter the most fashionable stores in the culinary sector.
As it could not be otherwise, this type of tour starts at the Central Market, where the guide will introduce you to the great variety of ingredients that characterize the country's cuisine. In addition, you will receive interesting information about the building itself, which is part of the history of the Hungarian capital.
Still inside the market, when you have learned something about drinking and eating in Budapest, you will be able to taste some snacks that are part of the culture of the city,
After leaving the Central Market you will walk through some of the streets of the city center and make several stops in some gastronomic places. In this itinerary you will not miss to taste some of the typical cakes, as well as the famous chocolate so traditional if you go to Budapest at Christmas time.
To complete the tour we usually proceed to the tasting of some local wines accompanied by artisan cheeses.
General information about Budapest
- In which area is it? Budapest Central Market: it usually starts at the Budapest Central Market and stops at four or five other places in the city center.
- How much does it cost? about 92 €.
- How long does it take? About 4 hours.
- What does it include? The price includes about 5 stops in different gastronomic places in Budapest. Lunch, a wine tasting and a discount for purchases in a wine store are also included.
- Recommended for: those who want to taste in a small group some of the specialties of Hungarian food.
3. Get to know the gastronomy of the Jewish quarter of Budapest.
One of the most interesting excursions that you can do in Budapest is the one that goes through the Jewish quarter. If, in addition, you join it to know the food that is served there, the experience is even more recommendable. To make this tour even better, the groups are always small, so that each of the activities is enjoyed more closely.
The Jewish quarter stands out for the cultural and gastronomic richness of the Jewish community. At present, this district is located in the Seventh District of the city and in the last years it has been transformed into one of the most modern and with more atmosphere of the Hungarian capital. In fact, it is one of the best areas if you want to enjoy the nightlife in Budapest.
The tour that I propose usually goes through the district accompanied by a guide who will tell the history of the Jewish community until the Second World War. As in so many other countries, with the conflict a ghetto was created that enclosed its inhabitants. In addition, many of them were victims of Nazi horrors.
Through its streets you will be able to see old houses and some neoclassical synagogues, in addition to entering several restaurants to taste traditional Jewish specialties. Thus, in this gastronomic tour you will be able to know dishes such as flodni, turos taska, cracklings or sausages.
General information about Budapest
- In which area is it? The tour goes through the Jewish quarter of Budapest, in the Seventh District of the city.
- How much does it cost? The price is around 110 €.
- How long does it take? The tour usually lasts about 4 hours.
- What is included?: in addition to an expert guide, the tour includes several food tastings, lunch with wine, palinka tasting and entrance to a synagogue.
- Recommended for: those who prefer small groups and want to get to know a gastronomy with its own character in Budapest.
4. Learn about Hungarian wine and accompanying snacks
In addition to helping you get to know the food of Hungary, the gastronomic tours of the capital are also intended to learn a little about its wine production. These, practically unknown abroad, can be tasted in many places in the city, both stores and restaurants and bars.
In this case, the itinerary leads to one of the stores specializing in this sector. There, a wine expert will conduct a tasting in which you can try up to 8 different variants selected to get an overview of the production of wines in Hungary.
As part of the activity, tips are also offered for pairing wine with different foods, from fresh bread to the so-called "hidegtál", a variety of cold cuts and cheeses typical of the country.
One of the advantages of this tour is the limited number of participants. The maximum group size is 14 people, which ensures a much more personalized attention from the expert who guides the activity.
- In which area is it? The price is usually in one of the main wine stores located in the historic center of the city.
- How much does it cost? from about 53 €.
- How long does it take? The whole session lasts about 2 hours
- What does it include? A tasting of 8 different wines accompanied by a sommelier and paired with traditional Hungarian appetizers.
- Recommended for: all those who want to know one of the less known areas of Hungarian gastronomy, its wines.
5. Join an Etyek tour to taste cheese, chocolate and wine.
To enjoy Hungarian food and drink you can also take an excursion to the surroundings of Budapest. In particular, for five hours you can visit the Etyek region, famous for its wine production and cheese.
This excursion usually begins with an interesting tasting of another of the most renowned products of the area, chocolate. This is done in an artisan workshop, as well as the cheese tasting that can be chosen instead.
The most interesting part of the route is undoubtedly the visit to a local winery. Here you will be able to taste several types of wine so that you can learn about the different varieties produced in the area. Finally, the excursion ends with a wonderful 2-course meal, selected from the most traditional dishes of the country.
General information about Budapest
- In which area is it located? Etyek is located just over 30 minutes by car from the center of Budapest.
- How much does it cost? The whole activity costs about 100 €.
- How long does it take? The excursion lasts about 5 hours.
- What does it include?: chocolate or cheese tasting, visit to a family winery with a small tasting and traditional lunch.
- Recommended for: those who want to get out of the city and taste the fabulous wines of the Etyek region.
6. A little extra: dinner on a small cruise on the Danube River
Although this is not a gastronomic tour per se, I can't help but recommend you to take this night cruise on the Danube that includes a great dinner and that will also be useful to get to know the culinary culture of the country.
During the journey along the river you can enjoy great views of the city. You will be able to see, for example, the fantastic Buda Castle, the Parliament or the Chain Bridge while live music is played on the boat.
The dinner, buffet style, is not lacking in some of the most delicious specialties of Hungarian gastronomy. Among the dishes you will usually be able to taste are goulash, the traditional crackling cream, the delicious chicken with paprika or strudel for dessert.
General information about Budapest
- Where is it located? The cruises usually depart from the city center, from a pier located between the Parliament and the Chain Bridge.
- How much does it cost? from 27 €.
- How long does it take? The duration usually ranges from one hour and a half to two hours.
- What does it include? An extraordinary tour through the city center, buffet dinner and live music.
- Recommended for: those who are looking for the most romantic tour of Budapest while tasting its delicious food.
The Central Market: the cathedral of gastronomy in Budapest
Many of the gastronomic tours in Budapest start (or pass) by the Central Market of the city. There is no doubt that this grand building has become one of the best places to get to know Hungarian food and is a must-see during a stay in the capital.
The history of this market is quite convulsive. Its construction took place at the end of the 19th century, when five markets were built throughout the city. The Central was the largest of them all, but many citizens of Budapest demonstrated against it, considering that it had caused a rise in food prices.
The building was badly damaged at the end of World War II and lost importance during the following years. In fact, in 1991 it was declared a ruin and closed to the public. Fortunately, a few years later it began to be restored to what it is today.
The Central Market is open every day of the week except Sundays. The building houses some 180 stores of all kinds, from food to souvenirs for tourists, restaurants and beverage outlets.
Despite its popularity as a tourist attraction, the market has not lost its status as a shopping place for the inhabitants of Budapest. In its eating places coexist both Hungarians and visitors in their search for traditional dishes such as goulash. Equally, its pastry shops stand out, where you will be able to know the sweetest part of the gastronomy of the country.
Typical dishes you will find in Budapest
If the gastronomic tours in Budapest are going to be useful for you, it is to know a gastronomy that is not too widespread in the rest of the continent. To give you a small idea of what you will taste, here are four examples of traditional dishes.
- Goulash: although you can find it all year round, if you go to Budapest in winter there is no more appropriate food to warm up than goulash. It is a dense soup (or a stew with a lot of broth, if you prefer) with vegetables, veal and paprika.
- Csirkepaprikás: the main problem you will have to find this dish in Budapest is to know how to pronounce its name. In short, it is a recipe of chicken stewed with paprika, sour cream and various vegetables.
- Lángos: this dish can be considered as the contribution of Hungarian gastronomy to fast food. Lángos, hot fried bread covered with various ingredients (like a kind of fried toast) can be found in many streets of the city or in the stalls of the Central Market.
- Kolbász: actually, this name designates several varieties of sausages made in Hungary. The recipe changes according to the area of the country and you can find them boiled, smoked or dried.