BUDAPEST, I had never been there before and so in late October 2023 it was high time to take a closer look at this city. In a city that generates swathes of deja vu here and there to Paris and Vienna, it is not surprising that art & culture abound. The Austrian empire has made its influence felt considerably on urban architecture and Franz Joseph and (yes) Sissi are still palpably present everywhere.
For three days, we were immersed in Budapest. Hotel visits, great restaurants representing authentic Hungarian cuisine and -naturally- a boat trip on Die Schöne Blauwe Donau!
My goal: does Budapest offer enough culinary heritage in its full breadth to take guests there? And yes, the culinary heritage is well guarded. From the famous Hungarian goulash, countless sausage and charcuterie preparations to foie gras in all its forms, there is no fuss about it. Pride is also felt around the Mangalica pig, a world-famous breed of curly-haired pig that, like Iberico from Andalusia, is laced with intravascular fatty tissue. It featured in almost every menu we were presented. Patisserie is a chapter all its own, at the very highest level. And wine, Tokay. They are (rightly) proud of that. Incidentally, it is not the only grape they make wine from, by far the most famous.
Places not to be missed if you want to get to know Hungary’s culinary heritage:
- Restaurant/museum Urban Betyár
- Halász Bástya
- The New York Café
- The Budapest Market Hall
All these restaurants – each in their own way – have made an important contribution to keeping alive the rich culinary heritage of Hungary in general and Budapest in particular.
Budapest has stolen my heart. Sometimes it is like stepping back in history more than a hundred years. But at the same time it is so hip and trendy that you immediately find yourself with both feet in the here and now. What a remarkable city!
I’ll definitely go back to explore the culinary heritage of the countryside of Hungary!