jc travels


Budapest wasn’t the most entertaining of cities, so I found myself at a lot of different places trying out traditional Hungarian foods. I’ve never had Hungarian food before so it was really interesting. Though the Hungarian language is one that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand, so half the time I really had no idea what I was ordering at all. I guess that’s half the excitement of it though.

My overall impression of Hungarian food: heavy. After every “traditional” Hungarian dish I’ve had here, my body just felt heavy and lethargic. Things, in my opinion, are largely over-salted and over-seasoned (at least for my preferred taste), and they really love to drench their foods in cheese and sour cream. A lot of the traditional dishes are composed of grilled meats, potatoes, and cabbage. Basic ingredients similar to that of a German diet, except 10x heavier. It makes sense why I felt so deathly dehydrated all the time during the 3 days I spent in Budapest. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I walked so much during my stay here.

I promised my mom I would try a lot of Hungarian foods for her because she’s never been able to, so here’s a recap of everything. Just for you, mom!

The first thing I ate right out of the train station was this bread called kifli, which is extremely popular in Hungarian bakeries. I was pretty hungry coming off the train, and one of the first things we passed by was a bakery (there are a lot of them). It tasted like an unseasoned breadstick.


The first real traditional Hungarian meal I had in Budapest was at this restaurant by Heroes Square, called Pantlika Bistro. Started with pita and hummus. The pita was whatever, but the hummus was great. You could really taste the garbanzo beans in there, and you get bits of them in every bite. I liked that.


We ordered the “pantlika plate”, which had a mix of barbequed chicken, sausage, and pork with baked potatoes (in sour cream and cheese of course) and a side salad. This was actually really delicious. In a guilty, high-cholesterol kind of way.


But, we also had some housemade ginger lemonade on the side which was so refreshing and helped cut through the grease that was our meal.


There’s this traditional Hungarian pastry that I saw everywhere. It’s called Kürtőskalács. It’s a sweet, spiraled pastry that comes in many flavors like: original, vanilla, raisins, cinnamon, coconut, walnut, etc. I got the walnut one. It was just alright really. The best part is probably tearing it along the spirals when you eat it.


At the Central Market Hall, we tried stuffed cabbage (seemed to be stuffed with rice and some sort of unidentifiable meat). The cabbage on the side tasted somewhat like kimchi. The other dish that we tried was Mátrai Borzaska körettel, which I think is a fried pork cutlet with potatoes. Both dishes drenched in sour cream, of course.


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It’s difficult to find time to blog in between my travels, as I am always feeling like there is too much to do and too little time. The only chance I get is really on the train when I am traveling between cities and countries. I’m currently leaving Budapest and on my way to Vienna, Austria. Vienna initially wasn’t even in my agenda, it was actually Split, Croatia. But the trek to Split is 17 hours and a little bit pricey, so I had to adjust to the situation. I am a little bummed out, not going to lie. Croatia was one of the places I was the most excited to visit–I heard the Croatian coast is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see in your life. Some of the clearest waters. I’ll have to find a way to visit one of these days.

We took an early morning train to Budapest from Munich, and our host was kind enough to come at 6:20 in the morning to drop us off at the main train station. We literally heard his car sputtering around the corner right when the clock turned 6:20. Punctuality in Germany is no joke. I have never met so many reliable people in one setting in my life. That’s one thing I’m going to miss about Germany for sure.


Arrived in Budapest a little bit after lunch time, and my first impression of the place was not the best. Everything was really run down, the people were the least of helpful (or friendly), there was litter and construction everywhere, and it didn’t feel safe. There seems to be a medley of unpleasant smells, from wet tar, dried urine, pollution, and body odors. The fact that we were coming in from as nice of a place as Munich probably contributed to how dramatic of a culture shock it was for me. Budapest, gotta say, you aren’t the most welcoming of places.


For the 3 days that we were here, we walked almost everywhere. Trekked from one end of the city to the other. The organization of the roads and the public transportation here is not intuitive at all. It’s really difficult to navigate around the city when you don’t speak the language, which by the way is one of the most difficult things to understand. In Germany, it was semi-doable to decipher the language based on common sense. Here in Hungary? Forget about it.

Walked to our flat, which was about 10 minutes away from the main train station, Keleti pályaudvar. The neighborhood, although right down the street from the police station, is pretty sketchy. Our flat itself though? Super nice. It’s like a safe haven from the mess that is outside on the streets.


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