A key feature of Budapest’s culinary landscape is lángos, a traditional Hungarian street food. Local chef and owner of the famous lángos stall at Street Food Karavan, Tamas Mezosi, gave Culture Trip the lowdown on where to try lángos in the Hungarian capital.
Pronounced ‘lan-gosh’, this Hungarian food staple dates back centuries. Made from milk, flour, yeast and salt, lángos is typically kneaded before being deep-fried. Tamas says: “The trick – just like a good pizza – is in the forming, and the frying.” This not-exactly-healthy but completely delicious food is usually served with a generous dollop of sour cream and grated cheese, though other toppings such as bacon, sausage, red onion, garlic and paprika are also popular. “Hungarians eat lángos mostly at weekend markets, or in the summer at swimming pools. When I was a child, my mother always brought me fresh lángos from the market on Saturdays. I loved it. She’d bring plain ones, and we’d put the sour cream and cheese toppings on at home,” Tamas reminisces.
Customers at Street Food Karavan have the option to turn their lángos into a burger Courtesy of Karavan
Lángos Land, Budapest
“There’s two places that come to mind where lángos is really popular among local people, and this is one of them,” Tamas says. Nestled on the top floor of Fény Street Market in Buda, Lángos Land is a cheap and cheerful market stall, complete with a charmingly unsophisticated vibe and what many people consider the best lángos in Budapest. Customers can choose from a traditional lángos flatbread with a selection of toppings, or go the extra mile with a lángos folded in half and stuffed with traditional Hungarian sausage.
Perfect for those who’d prefer to sample their lángos in a charming, rustic restaurant setting, Lángos Papa, close to the infamous House of Terror museum, is a city favourite. For just 3000 Hungarian Forint (£7.65), guests can enjoy a starter, such as goulash soup or duck pâté; a lángos main dish, with toppings including truffle, deer stew and foie gras; and a dessert, from lángos with Nutella and banana, to homemade strudel. “These days, lángos is all about the fusion of traditional Hungarian food and well-known international flavours,” Tamas explains. The distressed wooden tables and rustic hanging chandeliers bring a cosy, shabby-chic vibe to the spot.
Budapest's Street Food Karavan serves lángos and a variety of global street food | Courtesy of Karavan
Situated a stone’s throw away from the famous ruin bar Szimpla Kert, in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, the lángos stand at Street Food Karavan was established by Tamas and his friend, Gabor, in 2014. “We both had a passion for cooking and quality food. We often made big dinners for our friends […] We enjoyed it so much that we decided to quit our jobs and start a venture together,” Tamas explains. “We looked for a place for our lángos van and found a parking lot in the party area of Budapest, which seemed like a good spot. The owner didn’t want to lease us only one parking place, so we asked other food truckers whether or not they wanted to join us. They said yes – and so, Street Food Karavan was born.” The spot is essentially a courtyard of – you guessed it – caravans, serving up traditional Hungarian food staples and other comfort food. The lángos here is so delicious that it ranked in the Top 10 of EasyJet’s best street food stalls in Europe. “We wanted to re-invent lángos and make something new. We felt that, although this traditional Hungarian street food does have potential in the 21st century, it needs to be adapted to new cooking trends.” While it’s usually served as a flat piece of dough, Street Food Karavan gives customers the option to turn their lángos flatbread into a burger with either chicken, pork or beef.
If you’re all about being truly extra whenever you visit somewhere new, then head straight to Dunaparty Megálló: a renovated double-decker bus on the bank of the River Danube. Here, visitors can sample expertly cooked lángos while sipping a glass of wine or beer inside the bus or on the mini terrace. Tamas commends the freshness of the ingredients used here: “Lángos is best consumed fresh – especially the classic one with the sour cream and cheese topping.”
Retró Lángos Büfé offers an old-school lángos experience | Courtesy of Retro Langos Bufe
If you’re looking to experience your first taste of lángos in a truly old-school setting, Retró Lángos Büfé is the best place to do just that. This pint-sized food stall situated above a 1980s metro station is a reminder of Hungary’s Communist past, having not altered an awful lot in the several decades it has stood there. Popular amongst locals, particularly those with hangovers in the wee hours, the lángos here is not only cheap, but also some of the best in the city.
Another incredibly popular lángos stand, Tamas claims, is Krumplis Lángos, which literally translates to ‘Potato Flame’. This much-loved lángos hotspot is situated within the Flórián tér metro station in Óbuda. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the city centre, but the trek is well worth it, purely for the unbelievably low prices and top-quality fare. What sets this place apart from the others is that they add potato to the lángos dough, giving the finished product that little something extra.
Situated at Normafa, a picturesque, off-the-beaten-track spot in the Buda Hills, the Lángosos bódé food stand serves up some of the most authentic lángos you can find. Visitors here can enjoy freshly cooked lángos and a can of local beer while overlooking the entire city.