Budapest Market, So Much More Than Just a Lot of Paprika

IMG_3776IMG_3734The 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.IMG_3774You’ll find fresh local fruit (although not all of it is local), produce and because this is Hungary, a lot of dried peppers:IMG_3746It’s the only place in the world where I have ever seen berries sold by the pound and not in pre-measured baskets.IMG_3747IMG_3763I 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:IMG_3755400 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:IMG_3762IMG_3761With prices ranging from a small jar at $5.15 to a large tin for $24.41IMG_3771Basically 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.IMG_3772The 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.IMG_3773$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.IMG_3756Tourists 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:IMG_3766IMG_3767Is 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.IMG_3740 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.IMG_3741In 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.IMG_3758IMG_3764IMG_3765

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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2 Responses to Budapest Market, So Much More Than Just a Lot of Paprika

  1. costumelady says:

    love love love the stories you tell, it takes me on a little trip! xo

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