Budapest - A Gluten Free Guide
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a wonderful destination for a long weekend. It's filled with history, culture, and of course, food. Let me get my lame joke out of the way first - there's no way you are going to go hungry in Hungary *crowd boos*.
Anyway, I traveled to Budapest in December, and what a great choice that was - the streets were absolutely flooded with Christmas Markets and the whole city smelt of spiced mulled win, it was truly a winter wonderland. Let me take you through some of the restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, that I went to while I was in Budapest.
Something I always make a point of doing when I am exploring the culinary delights of a new country, is try to find the gluten free versions of their most traditional meals. In Budapest, a lot of that was centered around baked goods. I had no idea that Hungary was a master of the sweet pastries - Chimney cakes, tortes, kifli, lángos, fried bread, poppy seed bread and more bread (and a lot of cakes)! Luckily for us, there are many 100% gluten free bakeries in Budapest like Tibidabo, Manioka, and Cöli Bisztró to name a few. The below photos are from Tibidabo, you can see they offer several cakes, pastries, sandwiches and paninis. On the wall opposite they sell packaged foods from smaller gluten free brands that you won't always find in the supermarkets. It's a great place to pick up something unique and delicious.
I was a little new to a lot of these flavours, I'm used to my sweet pasties being very sweet, but quite a common flavour in Hungary is poppy seed. Which is still sweet, but like a different sort of sweet. I tried something called Beigli, a pastry swirl flavoured with poppy seed. I wasn't a huge fan but I would still recommend trying some as it's a very famous food in Hungary and that's what travel is about.
Before I leave on a trip I always do detailed research on what restaurants and cafes are gluten free. For some reason, when writing my list, I didn't realise that 2 of the places were right next to each other, and in fact, shared an entirely gluten free kitchen space. Kata Restaurant and Drop are two gluten free restaurants that are right next to each other (no, I'm not sure why, but I'm not complaining - I never get this much choice!) which serve comfort foods done class. At Kata restaurant I had some fantastic ribs, while my partner ordered a delicious carbonara. We shared a starter of tempura battered chicken, and finished with a traditional dessert, 'Somlói Galuska', similar to to trifle.
The other thing I try to do while travelling is find the gluten free food in the supermarkets - oh boy, Budapest's gluten free choices are amazing. While their wasn't normally a specific area in the supermarkets for gluten free food, it wasn't hard to find. The labeling at some super markets was fantastic and would easily show you were you needed to go- look for GLUTÉNMENTES. The below are some items I found in Lidl, Aldi, and Dieta Life stores.
Last but definitely not least - in Budapest there are GLUTEN FREE MCDONALDS options! That's right folk, Hungary is one of the 11 European countries that offers gluten free McDonalds. Now, you don't get much choice: you can choose between a side of fries or a salad, and their is only one GF burger - the double cheese burger served in a box with a comforting gluten free sticker on top, but it was amazing. I was so happy I had it twice while I was there.
All right so here's the round up: Restaurants
- Kata Restaurant - Great Bistro
- Free! – a Gluténmentes Pékség (two locations)
- Golden Granet Gluten Free Bakery
And don't forget to check out the supermarkets for snacks, both Aldi and Lidl have great gluten free options, and there are also several bio/organic smaller supermarkets where you are able to find heaps of gluten free foods!
Be sure to check out my other travel guides here!