The Largest Indoor Market In Budapest
Budapest’s Great Market Hall, opened in 1897, is the oldest and largest indoor market in Budapest. The idea of building such a large marketplace arose from concern at the time over the city’s continually deteriorating food supplies.
This huge market consists of three floors of merchant stalls. The ground floor vendors sell mostly produce, meats, pastries, sweets, spices, and spirits. On the lower level are fish mongers, specialized butcher shops and vendors selling various pickled vegetables. The second floor is by far the most interesting because of the amazing food stalls.
This Great Market Hall tour was not complimentary, as was the Budapest city tour in the morning. However, seeing a market with its fresh, local produce and popular dishes is a great way to get acquainted with the culture of an area. Besides, perusing markets is something we love to do. It’s just a short walk from where our ship is docked, so you can easily explore it on your own, but for us, we were drawn by the food samples that were included with the tour.
It’s All About Paprika!!
When you talk about food in Hungary, it’s all about PAPRIKA!! If you are like me, primarily using paprika to give your deviled eggs that pop of red color, don’t ever admit that to a Hungarian. Paprika is THE spice here, their key ingredient in traditional cuisine. Typical American grocery store paprika is not even in the same league with the complex flavors of the Hungarian kind. Their paprika comes in eight different flavor profiles, in 57 varieties, ranging from mild, smoky, sweet, and “cayenne pepper hot”. Colors range from bright red to pale orange. “Sweet Hungarian Paprika” is the variety of choice for traditional dishes like goulash, cabbage rolls, and stuffed bell peppers.
The stall pictured above is one of many that specialize in all things paprika, as well as things that go with paprika. Most every variety of the spice is sold here and hanging above are varieties of the dried pepper that paprika is made from.
We tasted delicious, local foods that were sold at the market such as sausages, breads, pastries and pickles, washing it all down with locally made white and red wines. On the tray pictured above, the light sausage is made from pork and flavored with, among other spices, sweet paprika. The bright red sausage in the middle was our favorite, made from pork and lots of spicey, smoked paprika. The darkest sausage, located next to the pork cracklings, was made from venison.
Seen in these photos are some favorite Hungarian foods, such as stuffed cabbages, stuffed bell peppers, meat stews, goulashes, pork knuckles and fried breads. Notice from the signs the prevalence of paprika in these dishes!
Coming up next: On the Danube: Locks and Viking Breakfast!
If you weren’t able to start this Viking River Cruise at the beginning, click here to start your journey!
It was my first time riding Amtrak! Come along side us as we ride the Train Called “The City of New Orleans“.