Typical Eastern European food is very much based around large quantities of meat consumption – which is not particularly ideal if you are a vegetarian or vegan tourist or local. As this list of traditional Hungarian foods illustrates, most of the cultural dishes found in Budapest are not vegan in the slightest, as they contain meat and or dairy. This is why I put together a list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly places or foods, that can easily be found in the beautiful capital of Hungary.
I was actually very pleasantly surprised by how incredibly easy it was to find these foods – it was definitely easier to find vegan food in Budapest than it is in most French cities, for example.
Another rather nice surprise was that it turns out eating out is practically as cheap as cooking your own meals. A good, filling meal (including dessert) would cost about 900 to 1700 forint, which is about 2.80 to 5.30 euros, or 3.20 to 6 dollars.
Corn on the cob
Most of the street food you will come across in Budapest will either be pastries filled with cream, or meat, which are both inevitably very non-vegan. However, we found that they sell grilled corn on the cob in many places, and it’s a great snack that’ll keep you going until you get back to your accommodation. You can also choose your toppings: they often offer chilli, salt, pepper or cinnamon.
This restaurant was pretty cheap, and had a large variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes.
We opted for a falafel laffa – which is basically a wrap with hummus, falafel and veggies – and a salad. They were both very tasty, and only 790 forint each (2.5 euros, or 2.8 dollars).
If you are either vegan or vegetarian, you will definitely know how satisfying it is to come across a place that clearly states they have 100% meat-free or dairy-free food. We all had a main course that was already quite filling, but then we obviously had to indulge in a dessert: a stack of pancakes with poppy seed and apricot jam, topped with chocolate sauce. This was by far the best dinner we had all week – and I have to say, most of us were in a food coma by the end of it.
This is a lovely breakfast, brunch, and lunch place, where everything is homemade and delicious. We tasted our first vegan omelette here, and it was quite impressive. Very cheap and very delicious.
The Great Market Hall is an impressively huge market, containing three floors that are all dedicated to different products. For example, the ground floor is for spices, the first floor is for fresh fruits and vegetables, and the final floor in for typical Hungarian food.
We came here to buy fresh fruit, which was delicious.
One of the things Budapest is very well-known for is its ruin bars. The Szimpla Ruin Bar is an incredible bar built in an old building that was destroyed and later reconverted into this big bar/night club with amazing music and cheap drinks (for Western European standards). This is honestly the best bar I’ve ever been to, and although it may be quite touristy, it’s definitely 100% worth giving it a visit – which is why I had to include it in this survival guide.