We all love an easy drop-by dinner, don’t we? Eating out doesn’t always mean posh restaurants and four course meals. On busy days, late after work, even later after a night out or simply when we don’t feel like cooking, but would love something quick and delicious, food coming from a truck is always an option in Budapest.
The traditional meaning of the term “street food” is slightly misleading as today not only food that is sold on the street is considered street food. A drop-by, quick, easy, delicious dinner from the local corner food bar would do just fine. We have found the best of these places, so let’s see where you can find the best street food in Budapest.
Best Hungarian street food
They say the easiest way to explore a new place is through its food. We all love restaurants, in fact we know all the best restaurants in the city, however the real deal is definitely on the streets. Grandma’s recipe fusing Hungarian flavours with real traditions is everything.
Spicy, rich and an extravaganza of different flavours, Hungarian cuisine is a delicious and surprising discovery for many travelers. Developed over thousands of years of the country’s history, traditional dishes continue to be part of a proud and extremely rich heritage. Not surprising at all that all these traditional Hungarian dishes could be found on the streets. Gulyás
Goulash is the ultimate Hungarian dish, but what most people don’t know is that Gulyas is a soup, not a stew. It’s hearty and full of flavour, on cold days it feels like a long, warm hug. You’ll find lots of take away places with different menus that sometimes feature the classic soup.
Gulyás Tunkoló Büfé, a tiny hole-in-the wall on Kazinczy street also specialises on the iconic Hungarian Goulash. But more than just the classic paprika spiced beef soup, you’ll find various traditional Hungarian stews on the menu, along with a selection of pickles. Get a slice of bread to dip into the rich paprika sauce and enjoy traditional home-cooked Hungarian food a modern way.
When you’re out and about, especially on a cold autumn or winter day, a cup of soup is a good way to warm up on the go. Leves (soup) is the classic street food place named after the meal Hungarians start a traditional 3-course with: soup, main, dessert. You’ll find tasty soups that are freshly made on site and served up in a cup you can either eat on the stand outside or take with you.
Főzelék is a Hungarian stew-like staple (creamier than a simple soup) you can eat with fresh bread and freshly fried meat. For a healthy version, head over to Hokedli in 10 Nagymező utca. (The most traditional varieties are made of spinach, tomato and cabbage or potato – but it is the place for trying out new ideas).
Sausages – Hurka and kolbász
As we’ve learnt, traditional Hungarian food is meat-heavy, so if you’re in the mood to explore the world of sausage, here’s where you can start: the simplest and probably best version is sült kolbász (Bratwurst or grilled sausage). A slightly more sophisticated version and just as popular is hurka, which is a boiled sausage. Hurka comes in two different types: májas (liver sausage) or véres (blood sausage) and the main ingredients are liver or blood plus rice and spices.
You can of course buy both kolbász and hurka at street stalls with fresh, crusty bread and delicious, juicy pickles. You can try something more modern at Kolbice that is found at the Karavan Street Food Court. For a more traditional route, check out Kurucz Hentes és Lacipecsenye in Klauzál Tér market for a variety of Hungarian sausages. Another excellent alternative is Vágódeszka (chopping board) that will definitely make you realise how great the famous Hungarian sausage can be.
This deep fried savoury dough topped with garlic, grated cheese and sour cream is the ultimate Hungarian street food. You may want to walk the entire city after eating just one to get rid of the calories, but it’s totally worth it. You can get lángos all over the city, even on beaches and poolsides during the hot summer months. Central Market Hall and Karavan Street Food Court is a great place for lángos.
Also known as chimney cake, this sweet brioche type bread glazed with sugar is cooked over coals or over an oven before being rolled in cinnamon, nuts or cocoa. It’s more of a seasonal treat, you’ll find it in all the Christmas markets, but you can still try it off season. Molnár’s Kürtöskalács on Váci street is perhaps the easiest place to spoil yourself to true Hungarian sweetness.
Budapest Street Food Festivals
International street food cavalcade from Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road to Opera, with over 50 food trucks on car-free day.
Taste the world through the hands of Hungarian chefs this unforgettable gastro weekend. The organizers look forward to welcoming you on Saturday and Sunday all day on the Andrássy Avenue gastronomic promenade.
9:21. Saturday: 10am – 2pm
9:22. Sunday 10am – 10pm
Cuisine from all over the World
Food court for global and local cuisine
This is a super cozy outdoor place with wide selection of street food options like burgers, tortillas, sausages, ice-creams, pancakes, coffee and Hungarian specialties, all in one place. Centrally located, in a buzzing neighbourhood, right next to the famous Szimpla ruin pub. No matter if it is dinner or lunch time, if you fancy some local street food, head to Kazinczy street and enjoy delicious dishes in the food court of Karaván.
A street-food joint on Kőbányai út, Ngon focuses on Vietnamese-Thai fusion dishes, authenticity evoked by the fresh ingredients sourced from their own grocery store. Instead of offering the traditional phô soup, they have a variety of curries and wok dishes that you can hardly find anywhere else in Budapest.
Who said street food has to be unhealthy? Funky Pho offers great Vietnamese pho, made with fresh and tasty ingredients, like ginger chicken or beef, rice noodles, fresh vegetables all served up with a hot spicy broth and topped with coriander leaves. You’ll also find Vietnamese spring rolls, salads, noodles and even craft beer on offer here.
Located in the heart of the Chinese quarter, Wan Hao restaurant is awaiting you with delicious and healthy Chinese and Cantonese gourmet meals. Try Wan Hao’s finest Cantonese dim sums and enjoy the authentic flavours of Baozi, Jiaozi and stir-fried rice noodles in the fresh air. With several delicious low-fat and vegetarian dishes on their menu, Wan Hao offers diet-friendly delicacies to support your spring revival. Take a culinary journey to China with a taste-bud impressing experience.
Heavenly noodles, fried rice and spice-infused toppings are born in Padthai’s show kitchen, where guests can follow the process how these Asian specialties are prepared over blazing flame, behind a thick glass wall. Besides the delicious treats, guests can pick up refreshing teas or lemonades, while sugar-free refreshments are also available.
To savor authentic Vietnamese meals head to any of Dang Muoi’s locales, spread citywide (including Nagymező Street and Veres Pálné Street in central Budapest), offering delicacies such as fried goat meat, Vietnamese spinach salad, or fried rice pasta with beef.
With a menu based on Punjabi gastronomy, this unpretentious restaurant serves some of the best Indian dishes in Budapest, where besides the meaty treats, such as Tandoori chicken or lamb korma, the menu presents an abundant selection of vegetarian meals, such as palak paneer or crispy vegetable samosas.
BAGELS AND BURGERS
For excellent street food made with high quality ingredients, you’ll want to try Bors GasztroBár for their daily specials of soups and baguettes. Their unique recipes and gourmet take on simple dishes, like a simple soup or a tasty sandwich, makes it the place to go for some high-quality street food.
Delicious burgers made with prime cuts of beef and served up with high quality ingredients by Zing Burger. You can either visit their restaurant in Kiraly utca or various food trucks around the city. You can even get burgers made with Angus beef served with unique house-made sauces.
If you love cheese, you’ll love Paneer. You’ll find various fried cheeses from cheddar and camembert to Hungarian cheeses like trappista and Maci, but even better are their “Real Cheese Burgers”. Fried cheese in a ciabatta bun with their own steak sauce and fried or dried onions and salad is the perfect meat-free alternative.
When it comes to pizza, Italians do it best, and this small place on Nagymező utca is run by Paolo who makes authentic Italian style pizza. The thin base pizza is served straight from the oven and cut up with scissors. Try Pizzica’s delicious classic pizza made with torn up bits of fresh mozzarella and rocket or the pizza topped with potato and drizzled with truffle oil.
With an abundant selection of fresh pastas prepared here every morning, 2 Spaghi is a true Italian-style dining destination found in two distinct locales in central Budapest. Meals are not only available for eat in, but guests can pick a box of raw pasta of many varieties for takeaway.
With its traditional tavern-vibe Gyradiko is an ideal locale for those who are fond of great Greek food and have limited time. From palatable goat-cheese cream, to hot and cold Meze platters, to aromatic souvlaki, this District III locale is worth a trip outside Budapest’s downtown zone.
Offering a mix of Turkish and Hungarian cuisine, Szeráj, located between Margaret bridge and Western Railway station is a happening spot day and night, selling substantial portions of gyros, falafel, alongside various meat and vegetable dishes at fair prices. The place is open until the late-night hours when it’s often filled with the post-party crowd.
VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN
As a revered hummus hotspot in multiple locales citywide, the menu here boasts a combination of healthy vegetarian and meat-infused meals. Try any of the hummus offers with various toppings and soft pita bread, or a plateful of flavorful Shakshuka.
Just a stone’s throw away from always busy Kálvin tér and Astoria, a friendly vegan restaurant awaits the health-conscious with a continuously varying lunch menu and a range of breakfast options in the heart of the city. Besides the finely prepared warm cooked meals, there are tasty homemade hamburgers, gluten and sugar free desserts, sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices or smoothies. Try the Gandaburi, their gluten free, vegan hamburger or their special cake, sweetened by banana and date, also made of chickpea flour without gluten. From 9 AM to 7 PM on weekdays, VegaCity is one of the healthiest alternatives, but it’s worth dropping by the neighbouring BioABC and VitaminABC, too.
Rukkola is where everything on the menu is named after the colours of the rainbow. Baross utca’s tiny salad shop is the favourite spot for locals and foreigners who fancy a tasty, filling (and healthy) meal, a juicy smoothie or a heart-warming soup around. Their offer is tasty and affordable. All of their delicious sandwiches are under 1000 HUF and the creative, zesty salads are also available within an acceptable price range. With ingredients like cashew nut, pesto, tuna, spinach, pasta, chicken breast, iceberg salad, dried tomato or arugula, Rukkola creates an incredible experience for your taste buds.
Vegan Garden is the world’s first plant-based food yard, inspired and motivated by veganism and sustainability. Offering, fast, fresh and healthy food choices the food trucks in this yard provide an alternative dining experience to some of the other food vans around the city. You can find this piece of plant-based goodness that lives side by side at Rácskert, Dob Utca, in Budapest’s vibrant Jewish District. Popular with both locals and tourists enjoying the gardens relaxed atmosphere, the Vegan Garden offers more than just an al fresco eating experience. With recyclable cups, trays and cutlery the garden promotes a sustainable and eco-friendly approach.
Budapest is a paradise for foodies and everyone who is looking for a unique culinary experience. The locals are driven by food and like all good Eastern-Europeans: love to eat. Street food is part of culture now which further embraces what we learnt from our parents: enjoy life through true flavours.