Meatless Monday #5: An Unlikely Vegan Paradise in Budapest

It’s the last break from classes at DIS and I’ve spent it discovering two of my new favorite places: Budapest and Bornholm.

While Bornholm certainly is not a must visit for the vegan food, it is for the smoked fish, art community, and the views – I’ll get back to that in a later post! I had a great couple of days there and am very thankful that my host family invited me to join them on their Easter holiday.

Budapest, on the other hand, has a plethora of vegan friendly options in the form of food trucks, a Star Wars themed sandwich spot, and even an entire food garden. My initial research on Hungarian cuisine yielded the national dishes of beef goulash, chicken paprikash, and anything soaked in pork lard, but my tastebud engaging research revealed the many vegan delights Budapest has to offer. Not only was it all delicious, but SO cheap compared to the vegan specialty places in Copenhagen. For comparison, a vegan burger at 42Raw will run you nearly $20, but at Las Vegans in Budapest, it’s closer to $6. Here are my recommendations:

Vegan Garden

Might as well start with the most impressive option: an entirely plant-based outdoor food market. I went for lunch and had this incredible shakshuka with a fava bean ‘egg.’ A few places were closed, leading me to believe it gets crowded toward night. There are probably 7 or so total vendors offering everything from desserts (chimney cakes, ice cream, and pastries) to an array of savory meals (Mediterranean, Mexican, and a burger joint with multiple locations in the city, Las Vegans). There’s a full bar that presumably opens up at night and my non-vegan friend endorses the chimichanga.

Karávan Street Market

While not an entirely vegan market, still a great outdoor atmosphere with plenty of options. There’s another Las Vegans location, a Hummusbar food truck, and a handful of other trucks you can grab a few vegan sides at. While it says they’re open until 11pm, some places start closing at 10pm, so get there early and don’t miss out on the Hungarian pickled vegetables like I did. Also has a full bar and is located right in the ‘party district’ next door to one of the famous ruin bars – Szimpla.

Belvárosi Legenda

Hungarian craft beer pub on the same street as Karávan and Szimpla with a great selection of beers and a couple of bar snacks. Couldn’t find a food menu there, but pulled up their Happy Cow profile and showed the guy what I wanted: Hungarian greasy bread, or bread with drippings. The usual recipe calls for bread smeared with beef or pork drippings left over from a roast (that didn’t gross me out at all to type…) topped with some veggies, but this version simply uses some vegan butter as the drippings and has some garlic, red onion, and salt. The version on Happy Cow looked a lot nicer than mine, but gotta’ cut the guy some slack since he was the only one working. A salty snack that goes really well with some beer(s).

Bors Sandwich

Probably the best sandwich I’ve ever had. There’s something about a hummus, smoked tofu, and veggie medley stuffed baguette for ~$3.50. The menu is always changing and they have some mean soups as well, but I wasn’t feeling that on a sunny 70°F day. Cash only with an upbeat, friendly staff that speak English, like most places in the downtown area. Typically has long lines, but they grind out the orders pretty quickly. The place is also Star-Wars themed if you’re into that! A must eat!

Budapest Bagel

The perfect morning spot following a late night out. Tasty bagel combos, especially the avocado and walnut. There’s even a peanut butter and banana option – how American friendly! Make sure you ask for your bagel without cream cheese, as they all (hopefully not the PB + banana, but didn’t get to try since they were out of PB) include it even though the menu doesn’t list that.

Picnic bench seating on a walking street

You guessed it…post ruin-bar falafel!

Like Copenhagen, there’s no shortage of shawarma and falafel shops open until the break of dawn to satisfy your post party cravings. Just remember to order without tzatziki, even if the guy behind the counter laughs at you for it, and make up for the lack of sauce with extra chili sauce. No particular recommendation on where to go for falafel, but if you wander into the place with a vintage black and white looking menu board, you’ve found the perfect place for falafel durum + fries.

Hits the spot

That’s all I’ve got for vegan recommendations in Budapest! They’re cheap, tasty, and plentiful in such a beautiful city. I would say it’s a must visit city if you have the chance.

Hope you enjoy a few pictures from my sightseeing and I’ll be back soon with a post about my American and Danish home lives colliding! Just 2 presentations and a project to start, uh I mean finish, before then…

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