Eating In Budapest
In planning for our recent trip to Budapest we went on the internet looking for food specialties and where to find them. Hungarian goulash was high on the list of course but once there I decided I prefer the lighter soup version of goulash. My wife discovered it was going to be restaurant week while we were there with many establishments offering special menus of their favorites at special prices. We managed to book a number of reservations before we left for the trip.
Almost a universal recommendation for visitors was breakfast at the New York Kávézó (that’s Hungarian for café) located in the Budapest New York Palace Hotel. After our visit we agree this is a very special place. What a gorgeous place and the orchestra played unobtrusively while we sipped our coffee and cappuccino.
My search on the internet came across Kürtőskalács which were advertised as the pastry of Budapest. It is a sweet, spiral-shaped pastry that originated in Transylvania. It’s also known as ‘chimney cake’, because of its unique shape. Making kürtőskalács requires a cylinder to wrap the dough around and a rotisserie for baking so it is usually not something made at home.
Two articles I read said you could find them at shops in the Market Hall, a famous food hall and discount venue in Budapest. No trip to Budapest is complete without spending some time in this institution (Tip: the deeper into the hall you go the lower the prices) shopping for t-shirts and paprika.
On our first visit to the Market Hall I had the name Kürtőskalács displayed on my phone (there was no way I was going to attempt to pronounce it) and I would show it to various merchants. Everyone thought you could find this nearby and one man gave me directions to go out and across the street. After about an hour we came to the conclusion that there were no Kürtőskalács to be found anywhere nearby and we moved on.
I would occasionally show Kürtőskalács displayed on my phone as we traveled around the city but still came up empty. Who would have thought it would be so hard to find?
A few days later we were coming out of the central train station just after dark and guess what? Right on the sidewalk was a Kürtőskalács stand with about ten people waiting in line. This delicacy costs about two dollars and you select your coating flavor. Don’t leave town without trying one.