The large enclosed central market in Budapest is an awe-inspiring structure built-in a time when markets played a central role in day-to-day life. Today the mezzanine of the market is filled with basic clothing, souvenirs and a few house ware items. It’s downstairs on the main floor where the food is.You’ll find fresh local fruit (although not all of it is local), produce and because this is Hungary, a lot of dried peppers:It’s the only place in the world where I have ever seen berries sold by the pound and not in pre-measured baskets.I loved how this stand looked, brimming with goods and trimmed with an abundance of local peppers.
The surprising thing to me was the amount of luxury goods on sale, often at amazing prices, like this Saffron:400 Hungarian Forints are equivalent to $1.72 USD. My understanding is that the bags are 5 grams and sold for, yes, $1.72. And even if that price is reflective of a per gram price so that means these huge bags were $8.60 no matter how you do the math its a bargain. In NYC saffron is sold in small amounts for large sums of money.
Duck and Goose products were everywhere in both raw and prepared form. Apparently Foie is very popular here:With prices ranging from a small jar at $5.15 to a large tin for $24.41Basically 28 cents my math shows the Euro price as being 2 cents more.
Lets do the math together shall we? 28 grams (more or less) equal an ounce, at 28 forint a gram that would be 28 Forint x 28 grams which equals: 784 Forint ,or for us non Hungarians that would be $3.36 for a 1 ounce truffle. D’Artagan a premium local NYC purveyor of foie, truffles, game (and so much more) sells a 1 ounce black truffle for $150.The most interesting thing about this market was the Russian caviar. Because of over fishing Beluga caviar is no longer available in the US. Osetra is on the endangered species list yet still available in limited quantities.$10.72 for the small jars. Amazing. At Russ and Daughters a 1.7 ounce tin of Osetra sells for $200. I didn’t want to engage any of the vendors who sold caviar for fear of getting their hopes up. The tins above only have the word Malossol which basically means Little Salt and does not indicate the grade of caviar.Tourists help keep the market alive and this is apparent at most of the stalls. The smiley face preserves were one of the more kitschy edible examples. My favorite was the his and her Paprika tins:Is it sexist that the man is Eros and Hot and the woman is sweet, dulce? Needless to say I bought me some hot paprika to take home. There weren’t a lot of places to stop and eat but these pastries looked good and not far from this stall and was very small window to order delicious coffee.In the end it was the stalls selling traditional items like these bundles garlic, dried peppers, vast variety of paprika that have obviously been here for decades and witnessed a lot of history that were my favorite.