Thursday, August 16, 2012

BUDAPEST PART 5: Hungarian Rhapsody

rhapsody, noun.  an ecstatic feeling or expression of enthusiasm.

Yep, this is how I feel about Hungarian food.

Before I get into the real thing, let me mention McDonald's.  Wherever we travel, I  like to check out McD's, always hoping that there is some regional adaptation of the menu.  The most unique McDonald's food we've had has been in Japan, but  usually we are disappointed to find that the standard menu is being served.
Yay! Stan found another ATM machine!  He was always on the lookout.
Aside from a few strange names,  everything seemed more or less the same as an American McD's.  Darn.
I figured a McWrap cost about $4.00, so even the prices were comparable. 
 Instead of eating at McDonald's, Julie and Alex took us to Nagyi Palacsintoazoja, or Granny's Pancakes, for our first Hungarian meal.   I'm not sure what is "Non Stop" there--perhaps the cooking, or maybe it refers to the type of eating you want to do once you see the menu.

We had a selection of both savory and sweet crepes.  *Drool*

Our next stop was Fejedelmi Peksutemenyek (aka "Princess Bakery").  It's pretty obvious why Julie and Alex scored an A+ as tour guides.

A day or two later, Julie and Alex took us to an outdoor market where there were tables of colorful, tempting treats:

. . . and a cheeseman . . .
. . . selling slices of all kinds of cheese.
He had Emmentaler, which I love, so we asked for a slice:
It was not your average-sized slice and was incredibly delicious:

Of course there was plenty of gelato:
I noted in my journal that this combination of Mozart gelato (marzipan-flavored) and dark chocolate was one of the best combinations of the entire trip:

That's Stan up there a the gelato stand, looking through his wallet for some coins.  He MADE Chris and me buy three scoops this time:

Cream cheese, chestnut, and chocolate gelato.  So which one was I supposed to turn down?

This bread that Julie was holding was much better than whatever that vegan glob in Bob's plastic bag was:

One of the meals we had been looking forward to the entire trip was Trofea Grill, a place Andrew had labeled "The Best Restaurant in Europe" after he ate there in 2007. He was living on a shoestring on that trip to Europe, and this place was one of his splurges.

In fact, one of my favorite pictures of Andrew of all time was taken in this very restaurant:

It wasn't exactly in a tourist part of town (which is actually a good sign as far as I'm concerned), and the decor was, well, rather unique.
It kinda made me wonder what was on the menu.

Well, pretty much everything you can think of was on the menu.  This was a Serve-Yourself-All-You-Can-Eat-Make-Sure-You-Get-Your-Money's-Worth Buffet.
Fruit bar
Salad bar part I
Salad bar part 2
Fish and sausage bar
Pate bar
Side dishes bar
Dessert bar
Unique water container "with gas."  I'm not sure if Stan was thinking about the way his stomach felt or about the bill.
We pretty much had to be carted off in wheelbarrows when we were done.

Trofea Grill did a great job of stretching our stomachs so that on our last day in Budapest we could eat at the Central Market Hall, the largest indoor market in Budapest.

I had a gigantic goose leg, spaetzle, and red cabbage.  Nirvana.

I don't remember exactly what this dish is that Stan had.  I think it was joint of something?  Whatever it was, it was enough food for a small army.

Even Bob was able to find enough vegan food to fill his tummy.

The Central Market was loaded with fun stuff to see.

The top floor had booth after booth of Hungarian crafts--clothing, ornaments, carvings, toys--typical tacky tourist stuff mixed in with some real finds.

Andrew is obsessed with mushrooms.  When I saw these hats at the Market, I knew I had to buy one for him.  They feel like leather,

but they are hand-made from a woody mushroom that grows in Hungarian forests:
Andrew was pretty excited about the hat.  Apparently he had seen them on his own trip to this market, but hadn't purchased one and had regretted it ever since.

The lower level of the Market was full of food products, both fresh and preserved.  There was one stall that had dozens of bags of chicken feet.  Yum!  (*cough*)

Paprika and paprika products were everywhere.  Paprika is made from the red peppers that can be seen in this picture:
Andrew told us to look for paprika paste in tubes.  We bought several kinds, along with a few bottles of paprika sauce, and when we got them home and tasted them, we wished we had shipped a few cases to California.  We have found a source in the States and have already replenished our supply, but everything cost three or four times what we paid in Budapest.  If anyone is planning a trip to Hungary and has just a bit of extra suitcase space . . . 

Alex and Julie were not only good tour guides, but they were good sherpas as well.

Of course, they also made sure we got the right nutrients to keep us going.

Next: Budapest Is a Quirky Place  (my final post about Hungary)


  1. Hungary is a nice food destination with a distinctive style and taste, similar to France and Peru. I would like to have been a little less restricted in what I ate to fully enjoy the experience. What I did have was good. What it looked like I could have had was even better.

  2. Man o Man, I'm hungry just looking at all of these pictures again. I *forgot* how Stan was forcing three scoops on us. If he really loved me he would have been pushing five or six...

  3. You know I started reading your post, then I had to go downstairs and fix dinner--it just couldn't wait. But now I'm back and am taking notes of where to go when I finally get to Budapest!

  4. Are those Jack-O-Lope skulls mounted on the wall at the Trofea Grill?

    1. Ha ha! They look like it, don't they? I'm pretty sure they are some kind of small European deer. But who knows? Maybe there is some Hungarian species we don't know about . . .

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