29 Mar Market Tour and Cooking Class in Budapest, Hungary
Food is often said to be the gateway to understanding a culture. While we aren’t foodies and our trips don’t revolve solely around food, we do love trying out some of the traditional and iconic foods from the destinations we visit. We’ve been on plenty of food tours over the years, so when we were in Hungary, we decided to try something a bit different than our typical go to: a food tour with a cooking class in Budapest!
I’ve been wanting to take a cooking class for quite some time, and Budapest seemed like the perfect place. When I scoured the internet for a cooking class, several different options came up in my search results. We wanted a class where we would cook a meal start to finish and not just a portion of it. It also needed to have a cooking menu with Micah approved food options…he is a pretty picky eater…but we are working on that, ha! So, we narrowed down our options and decided to book the Market and Food Tour & Hungarian Cooking Class with Culinary Hungary.
The tour lasts 6-hours and is filled with delicious bites to eat from start to finish. Your cooking class is a private event and you get to pick the menu. Needless to say, you definitely want to show up hungry for this one!
Market and Food Tour
Our morning started out at Central Market Hall, Budapest’s largest and oldest indoor market. We met our guide, Andrew, in front of the market, and after introductions, we made our way inside. Andrew is a chef and has lived in Budapest for most of his life, except when he lived in the U.S. for seven years.
Throughout our 2-hour tour of the market, we chatted about life, food, and Hungarian culture, all while picking up the ingredients for our meal later that day. We also stopped to sample plenty of traditional Hungarian foods along the way.
We tried foods such as lángos, a deep-fried dough topped with garlic, sour cream and shredded cheese.
One plate that Andrew ordered from a traditional Hungarian food stall was filled with a cabbage roll, meats, potatoes, and more.
We also tried some chocolate and then got a strudel filled with cherry to take with us and try later—we were already getting pretty full at this point!
In addition to food, vendors inside the Central Market Hall also sell goods such as art, crafts, Hungarian embroidery and much more. We even had the chance to see a giant truffle—it was huge and was worth thousands of dollars!
After collecting the goods for our cooking class, we hopped into a taxi and zipped over to the apartment to get cooking.
Hungarian Cooking Class
We arrived at the apartment in the Buda side of Budapest, where we found a cozy living room, kitchen and dining room that would be the setting for our cooking class. It was fun to see what a typical Hungarian apartment might look like, and we really enjoyed the homey feel to our classroom.
The cooking portion of the class lasts around 4 hours and you get to pick the dishes on your three-course menu. You can choose one soup, one main dish, and one dessert. We ended up picking potato soup with sausage, chicken paprika with noodles, and Hungarian pancakes.
When you arrive at the apartment, you will be provided with slippers, an apron, and all the equipment needed to cook. While Andrew got everything ready to start cooking, we sampled some pastries and Palinka, a Hungarian home-made fruit brandy. Throughout the cooking process and three course meal, you will have wine, water, coffee and/or tea available to drink.
Our first task was to get the soup and chicken paprika started. With Andrew’s guidance, we worked our way through the recipes. The longer we cooked, the better the smell became, and thankfully, we started to get hungry again.
During the class, we learned the proper way to chop, and Andrew shared tons of cooking tips and tricks with us. He has been cooking and experimenting with food since he was 16, and we learned so much more about cooking than we ever thought we would in a short afternoon class.
One of our favorite parts of the meal was making the little noodles that went with the chicken. We used this device that almost looked like a cheese grater, and it was fun to see the noodles come to life from a pile of dough.
It didn’t seem like we had been cooking long when our first two courses were complete. We sat down at the table to enjoy lots of soup and chicken paprika with noodles. Everything was delicious, and we were extremely happy with our menu choices. While we ate our meal, we had time to chat and learn more about Hungary.
After we were finished with our first two courses, it was time to make dessert. It’s best to eat the Hungarian pancakes fresh, and it was nice to have a bit of time between courses, too. The pancakes were surprisingly easy to make and we filled them with homemade apricot jam and sweet cottage cheese. They were more similar to a French crepe than a typical American pancake. I loved the combination of the sweet cottage cheese and jam inside a toasty warm, rolled up pancake.
We had a fun time learning about Hungarian cuisine and cooking in general. Once we were done stuffing our faces, it was time to head out. The tour ends at the apartment, but Andrew was very helpful in giving us directions to where we were heading next.
About Culinary Hungary
There are currently six different tours offered by Culinary Hungary. You can take the combo market food tour and Hungarian cooking class like we did, or you can take just the market food tour or just the Hungarian cooking class. The other tour options are a vegetarian cooking class, a strudel making class, or a cooking class at your own apartment.
No cooking experience is needed for the classes as the hosts will guide you through the cooking techniques necessary for the meals you choose. Class sizes are for a minimum of two people and maximum of eight, and as I mentioned above, they are private. This means your group can decide on whatever three dishes from the online menu that you want to cook and the experience is completely customizable.
We are so glad we decided to book our cooking class in Budapest with Culinary Hungary. Our guide and chef, Andrew, was very knowledgeable and we had a great time chatting with him throughout the day. Plus, the food was absolutely delicious! I’m so glad we were able to take the recipes home with us. Speaking of which…we really need to put those recipes to use again soon. I’m definitely sensing another Hungarian cooking night in our near future!