On our travels in the last few years, Craig and I have used Airbnb Experiences to explore the places we visit. Our first Airbnb Experience was a street food tour of Kolkata, India, and it was amazing! We also enjoyed several online Airbnb Experiences during the COVID lockdowns, where we sampled a number of the cooking classes. And all were loads of fun.
So it‘s not surprising that we tried two Airbnb Experiences while we were In Budapest, Hungary. The first was a tour of Budapest Castle by night, which was fascinating. But by far the highlight for me was a food tour we went on, introducing us to several of the market halls where local produce is sold.
When we initially tried booking for the tour, we couldn’t find a day and time that would work for us. The guide generously opened an extra slot for us. On the morning of the tour we arrived to discover five others had taken advantage of the additional tour, which was great – as I’ll explain later.
We met up outside a Starbucks, popped into the bakery next door and sampled our first delicacy of the day – a rich buttery pastry called a chocolate snail (thankfully without actual snails being involved), and then hopped onto a bus and made our way to the first of our stops.
The first food market was a labyrinth of stalls of various types, with goods ranging from fresh vegetables, to baked goods, cheeses, cold cuts and a range of drinks. As we walked amongst the goods on offer, our guide told us about many of the local specialties. Every now and then she would stop and buy from stall-owners. After a while I began to get a bit confused – my experience of food tours was that they usually included more sampling than we were doing, along with the conversation and information being shared with us. I also began to wonder if our guide was busy stocking up her own kitchen, considering the amount she was purchasing as we wandered around.
Eventually we stopped at a stall that sold strudels. Most of you will probably be aware of apple strudel, which is almost synonymous with Austria and Hungary. But how many of you have tasted sour cherry strudel? Or apricot strudel? Or what about pecan nut strudel? They were all delicious! Not so much to my taste was the cabbage strudel that was on offer – to my mind it neither smelt nor tasted good!
Anyhow, once we had wandered around the market hall for an hour, it became clear why our guide had been shopping. She led us to a quiet area where there was a large empty table and began to unpack a veritable feast of food for us to sample. The table must have been groaning under the array of meat, cheese, salad vegetables and bread. And, with there being seven of us in the group, it had been much easier for our guide to purchase a broader range of food to taste. Even for me – the fussy vegetarian – there really was plenty to choose from. And it was all delicious!
Of course, we assumed that our meal marked the end of the tour. But we were wrong. From there we caught a bus to a second market hall, where we sampled some local wine, a sour cherry beer and a glass of fresh farm milk, along with a decadently scrumptious deep fried flatbread with cheese and spices. Finally, we went to a local pub close to our guide’s home where we sat and chatted over a glass of local beer or wine. Before taking a much needed walk back to the nearest metro station to head back to our apartment.
Honestly, there was so much to see and taste at the indoor market halls that Craig and I returned the following day to make a few purchases and take a few photos. And I’m not kidding that the second visit was as satisfying as the first! Definitely worth taking a few hours out of your trip to Budapest to visit the market halls where everything you could possibly want to sample is gathered