5 Markets Not to Miss while in Budapest

Posted By : gullyver/ 289 0

Like any big city, Budapest has a wide array of food sources to turn to. But is there a better way to buy your foodstuffs from a stall at a market if you have the time? Also, if you are like me and love to check out marketplaces wherever you travel, just to have a feel of the place, see the culture and how everyday people live this is the post for you. Let me show you my favourite places.

1. The Essential: Vásárcsarnok (Great Market Hall)

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

Vásárcsarnok is the number one reference point for central Budapest locals, tourists or seekers of specialities. It was elected as Europe’s best, loveliest, etc. markets several times. It’s also one of Budapest’s oldest market halls, located on Fővám tér on the bank of the Danube, by Szabadság híd, accessible via metro or tram.

Upon entering the hall, the height and the pure scale are the first to take your breath away. Then you’re immediately immersed in the colourful variety of food and drinks offered on the ground floor. Many vendors have had their shops here all their lives, while some very new and trendy shops have opened here recently too, such as one that offers wild mushroom. On the first floor there are eateries as well, and the gallery offers a nice view. Go downstairs for fish and specialties. The shoppers are just as colourful as the goods here. Tourists, local old ladies, students from the nearby universities can be found here.

The construction of this beauty started in 1894, when the Hungarian economy was in an upswing and the leadership of the city intended to push open-air markets into indoors market halls. The two-storey building is truly a gem of the square with a flabbergasting front and beautiful steel structure inside.

Also a good place to start your walk towards Váci utca after a nice breakfast of black pudding or sausage here with mustard and pickles, just like locals. Or, have a good old lángos, a piece of fried flat savoury dough with garlic, sour cream and grated cheese on top for the local original.

2. For Foodies: Hold utcai piac/Belvárosi Piac (Downtown market hall)

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

After London’s Borough Market, Vienna’s Naschmarkt or Lisbon’s TimeOut Market, Budapest decided to join the bandwagon and set up its very own downtown market-eatery for foodies and gourmets. In the capital city’s fifth district, renowned as a financial and administration center, the former Hold Street Market Hall, newly called Belvárosi Piac now hosts a galore of fine restaurant outlets ready to feed the hungry.

This isn’t a real market in a sense that there aren’t many food stalls on the ground floor, although it was commissioned for the same reason as the Great Market Hall. The lofty 1891 building gradually lost its traditional shoppers by the turn of the millennium as the district turned into a financial center. A few years ago the upper floor started to turn into a street-food gastro-walkway in the wake of an ongoing gastro-revolution in Budapest. Even today there number of diners are rising here, although the place closes early so lunchtime would be a good time to visit.

Séf Utcája was one of the first, shoulder to shoulder with gourmet fish restaurant Vörös Homár. The latest additions include Hungary’s Bocuse D’Or contestant Michelin-star chef Tamás Széll’s Stand 25, a good place to try Hungarian cuisine in a slightly posh but relatively inexpensive way. There’s a colorful variety: one may try a wide variety from Vietnamese pho to Russian solyanka, Hungarian sausage to Italian pasta.

A good place for lunch before or after visiting the Bazilika and its neighbourhood.

There aren’t only market halls in Budapest, though. Let me show you two of my favourite temporary markets.

3. The Vintage: Szimpla Piac every Sunday

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

Szimpla has become a benchmark in Budapest’s nightlife. It was one of the first “ruin-pubs” of Budapest that became so popular among locals and tourists alike. The place was unused Sunday mornings, however, so the management launched a small producer market with children’s concerts and all-you- can-eat breakfast with the artisan product that can be bought from the producers here.

Not only breakfast but lunch is also available here, prepared by a different charity organisation every weekend. The money raised with the lunch supports the charity. The very friendly atmosphere, the truly small-scale but high-quality goods and the smiling people make this place one of its kind. Come with a lot of money, you won’t be able to leave without serious bundles of sausages, home-made marmalades, trifle products, fresh vegetables, some nice bread, honey and well, you name it.

A good place to start your Sunday before visiting the Great Synagogue or amid a walk in the former ghetto.

4. A Lovely Garden: Czakó Piacz – Czakó Kert every Saturday

Source: czakokert.hu

A small but adorable market in Buda’s first district. An outdoors event between 8:00-14:00 every Saturday, and finally a place where dogs are also allowed. Artisan goods, flowers, freshly brewed small brewery beer and small but lovely stalls here, a good place to slow down a little bit and talk to fellow shoppers and vendors. Great for buying souvenirs too, if you’d like your loved ones back home to have a taste of new-wave Hungarian food.

A good place to visit before a Buda Castle tour.

5. For an Alternative: Pancs Producer’s Market every Sunday

The yard of this popular pub (presenting beers from small Hungarian breweries in the evenings) turns into a producer’s market every Sunday. A great way to start your sightseeing day with the café that’s also open.
The managers hand-pick the sellers since there’s a very limited space but the selection is therefore very high-quality. Prices compared to an ordinary market are therefore higher but the products are definitely worth it. Bio fruits and veggies, homemade marmalades and honey, duck sausages, mushrooms, a wide variety of lovely cheese, vegan cakes and one of the greatest bakery in town are in themselves a great experience. Talking to these people or fellow shoppers–visitors are often students or alter-moms with kiddos in slings–is also a good opportunity to getting to know the city. A good starting point for a boat trip for its proximity to Boráros tér and its pier on the River Danube.