Hungarian/Magyar cuisine is distinct in its use of a multitude of spices, specifically hot and mild paprika. However, like most of Central Europe, you can usually only enjoy these flavors when paired with sausage and other meats. It is possible to get a meatless gulyás [goo-lahsh], but you might have to do some thorough searching first. Desserts like palacsinta [pah-la-chin-ta] are also the pride of Hungarian cuisine, and differ depending on the region you’re in. Most other vegetarian options are quite hearty, since they are heavy in potatoes, creams, and cheeses.
I was lucky enough to experience a few homemade classics while in Hungary. If you don’t have that option and are looking for a budget-friendly restaurant, I highly recommend Hummus Bar, which has several locations in Budapest. Although the menu doesn’t include Hungarian cuisine, the meals are cheap, incredibly fresh, and delicious. Most of the time, they don’t mind if you bring your own bottle of wine, and will even open it for you and give you glasses if you ask nicely (my kind of place). For an even cheaper option, try the street food in Budapest. We recommend a 500 forint (USD $2.30) lángos [lan-gosh]: deep-fried dough smothered in sour cream and cheese. Be advised: although you might think that you should finish one in its entirety on your own in the wee hours of the morning, I promise you that you’re better off sharing it.
Dishes to Try
Palacsinta [pah-lah-cheen-ta]: crepes typically filled with cottage cheese and raisins.
Cottage cheese spread with paprika and honey: try with bread, vegetables, or on its own.
Gulyás [goo-lahsh]: a hearty stew containing vegetables (especially potatoes) and seasoned with paprika; it’s one of the national dishes of Hungary.
Langos [langosh]: deep friend dough, smothered with toppings- sour cream and cheese is my favorite.
I am vegetarian-Vegetáriánus vagyok [veh-geh-TAI-ree-ai-noos vah-yok]
I am vegan-Vegán vagyok [veh-GINE vah-yok]
I do not eat meat or fish-Nem eszek húst és halat [nehm eh-sek hoosht ish hah-luht]
I eat fish-Eszek halat [EH-sek hah-luht]
I eat eggs and cheese-Eszek tojást és sajtot [EH-sek toy-yasht ish shoy-tut]
I do not eat eggs or cheese-Nem eszek tojást és sajtot [Nem EH-sek toy-yasht ish shoy-tut]
Do you have any meals without meat?-Van húsmentes ételetek? [Vahn hoosh-mehn-tesh ee-tell-eh-tek]
Can I have this without meat?-Kaphatok ebből hús nélkül? [kah-POH-tek eh-bool hoosh nee-el-KOOL]
Thank you-Köszönöm [KOO-sah-noom]
and, as always…
Cheers!– Egészségére [eh-gee-sheh-GEER-ah]
A special thanks to my friend,Veronika Fonagy, for help with translations and pronunciation advice, as well as for her and her roommates’ hospitality as new hosts!
[…] four times that I’ve visited, and I’ve made some great friends there; it’s also vegetarian-friendly and super simple to hitchhike to. Definitely worth visiting- I know I’ll be returning. […]
[…] have it: my must eats while traveling Europe. Pizza in Italy, pumpernickel bread in Germany, and langos in Hungary come in a close second. French cheese would probably be on this list, as well, if I had tried it […]
This is amazing, thank you!! First trip since we turned veggie is to Budapest!! My other experiences with food in eastern Europe have been very meat based so I was a little worried but this is great!
Looks like you had a great time! I really love your photos of Chain Bridge ?
Thank you! This is very helpful! I’m traveling to Hungary in September and am a bit worried about what to eat. Looking forward to those pancakes now ?
You’re welcome! I really love the food there. Enjoy ?
I’m going to Budapest next Thursday and this will be my first travelling experience as a vegetarian since I became one in January. I was wondering about money and how much I should take for 4 days. I am a student from the UK and haven’t got a lot but I want to make sure I make the most of it!
Thanks in advance
Hi Anna. Sorry to just be seeing this! I wasn’t on the blog much the past two weeks as I had visitors from the UK. I hope your trip to Budapest went well! Every city can be made affordable if you can make little tweaks, I find. Budapest is very cheap compared to other European capitals, so I hope you didn’t break the bank unnecessarily ?
Hi,I check your blogs named “A Guide to Being Vegetarian in Hungary | The Vegetarian Traveller” like every week.Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about powerful love spells.