nternational Vegan – I Wasn’t Hung(a)ry.
Hungry… Hungary… Get it? I’m hilarious I know. 6th March 2015 I visited Budapest to celebrate my 26th Birthday with my chums Babs & Gee. I can honestly say it’s one of the best city breaks I have been on so far & the first since I have been Vegan. The capital was beautiful – there is so much history, culture, beauty in this city. I would recommend anyone to go there.
6th March – Day One.
However beautiful this place is this isn’t what I’m here to chat about. Standard – I want to talk about food. We landed in the beautiful country at 3pm & arrived at our hotel at 4.30pm. After a little rest, scrubbing up & unpacking us girls were ready to adventure out. It’s a rule on my first day in a new place – I need to get lost. We walked around – down streets we liked the look of, anything that took my fancy I wanted to take a nose. After getting lost & finding the beautiful Duna River it was 8pm & we were starving. We trekked back to the main city area & after checking out a few restaurant’s & having an interesting chat with one waiter who was certain we wouldn’t find anything to eat we headed back to a Thai restaurant we passed – Pad Thai. If my friends & family know anything about me it’s my love for Thai food. My favourite Thai is Tofu Curry. Guess what they did? Spicy Red Thai Curry. I was so happy. All there noodles & rice contained egg – so I decided not to go for that but they did offer more vegetables & I had the extra cashew nuts. It was so yummy & spicy – just how I like it. I knew then that this trip wasn’t going to be too bad for eating after all. We celebrated by heading to a pretty hipster looking bar with hats for lampshades & a vodka & soda. Day one – Vegan & Gluten-Free Success.
7th March – Day Two.
Our hotel provided a breakfast – I was hoping there would be something I could eat. There was nothing. They offered meat, cheese, cereal. They didn’t even have fruit – so I opted for a fruit juice & later headed to the corner store for some fruit. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. One – I didn’t know our hotel provided breakfast & two – we weren’t exactly staying at the Ritz. We headed out to The House of Terror Museum, Buda Castle & The Labyrinth. We bought a picnic from the local store CBA. I purchased Gluten-Free Bread, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Peanut Snack Crisps & Olives. The Peanut Snacks were amazing – they soon became my holiday addiction & they were a great addition to my Peanut Butter sandwiches. While I was there I also purchased my breakfast that would see me though for the next few days – turns out Budapest really caters for all dietary needs. When evening came I decided to use the app Happy Cow. If you have never heard of this app I would look into it. It’s a handy little thing to have on your phone. Turns out there was a Vegan restaurant right next to our hotel. In the building next door – Kozmosz Vegan Etterem. Everything was Vegan – Vegan heaven. I had a Smokey Vegan Bean Burger – with Smokey Vegan Cheese, Potato Wedges, loads of Salad & I had a side of Sauerkraut – which is a big deal in Budapest. Unfortunately they didn’t have a wide range of Gluten-Free options – so I decided I would deal with the stomach ache later because the meal sounded amazing – & it really was. My chums had the Veggie burgers & they insured me it was one of the best burgers they had ever had. Better still my massive meal cost only £4. Budapest is extremely cheap. Everyone was happy. So again we celebrated by heading to a few bars – Ruin Bars are popular in Budapest. They are old warehouses that have been converted into bars & I had a couple of Vegan friendly Pina Coladas. Day Two- Vegan success.
8th March – Day Three.
I did wake up with a gluten bulge & stomach ache – it was worth it because that burger was amazing. I did go to breakfast because I became a little bit addicted to the plum tea that was on offer & I thought I may as well get a glass of apple juice. I also needed to steal a bowl & spoon. Why this thieving? The day before I purchased Soya Milk & Gluten-Free Strawberry Muesli – this with my Crunchy Peanut Butter went down a treat. – much more enjoyable than what the hotel was serving. That day we decided to explore the Pest side of the city. We found exciting food markets, vintage stores & lots of pretty sites. Lunch was the same as the day before Peanut Butter sandwiches with Peanut Snack crisps – like I said. These are the best things I have ever tasted & at 41 pence a pack I couldn’t get enough – I wonder why I put on half a stone in a weekend… On the evening my friends & I went on a river cruise & experienced the beautiful sites of Budapest had to offer at night. It truly was magical. After all the walking, shopping, exploring & pretty sites we were yet again starving. Between Happy Cow & Trip Advisor we found a very popular local Vegan restaurant. Another one? Yes! Budapest is full of them. Napfenyes Etterem was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel. I started off with Ginger Lemonade – because it’s a well-known fact that ginger settles an upset stomach & I wanted all the help I could get. I had an amazing Gluten-Free Vegan ‘Coal Burner Pizza’ – this was topped with Smoked Tofu, Faux Sausage, Pepper, Onion, Vegan Cheddar & Smoked Cheese. With a giant side of Steak Chips – again this meal came to under £5. This was such a good pizza – it’s not very often you get a good Vegan Pizza that has fake cheese. I was ecstatic. My chums also ate vegan – as they didn’t really have any other choice but also they are very open minded. Gee had a pizza & Babette had falafels with pita bread. Everything looked delicious. I was stuffed & couldn’t finish my last two slices of pizza – however they wrapped it up so I could take it away for lunch tomorrow. I also took away a Pogacsa for breakfast the following day & a Islers for dessert. Which I tucked into that night with a glass of milk. Isler translates into Tent – it doesn’t look or taste like a tent… It tasted great. I was like a cakey biscuit sandwich filled with apricot jam & covered in dark chocolate. It was great. Day three – Gluten-Free & Vegan success!
BIRTHDAY – Day Four.
Day four was my Birthday. 25 was a great year – I did a lot of amazing things. So 26 has a lot to live up to – I had woken up in the beautiful city of Budapest so we were already off to a good start. Plus I prefer an even number. Breakfast was luxury – the Pogacsa I purchased last night from Napfenyes Etterem. Pogacsa translates to Cake. I wouldn’t say this was a cake – it was more like a savoury scone. It was good. So good – I layered it with Peanut Butter & Apricot Jam. Yum. We spent the day at the Baths. The Baths are gorgeous – if you ever go to Budapest I would highly recommended you check out the Baths. My friends & I spent the whole day in them – I was like a prune – a hot, wet, sweaty prune. The only time I got out was to eat. Annoying you can’t eat in the Baths. Probably for the best really. You don’t to be relaxing surrounded by crumbs & bits of crisps. Lunch was left over pizza from the night before & of course my new addiction Bamba Peanut Snack Crisps. The pizza was still good next day & cold. I can honestly put my hands up & say this is one of the best Vegan pizzas I’ve ever had. That evening – to celebrate my turning of age we headed to another Vegan Restaurant – thanks again to Trip Advisor & Happy Cow. This one was slightly further out of town – only a 15 minute walk & when you’re exploring new streets 15 minutes almost isn’t enough. This place was called Macska which translate into Cat & it was full of cat photos & trinkets. It was so quirky & I pretty much fell in love with it straight away. Macska had a simple Vegan/Vegetarian & Gluten-Free menu. I had a stack of Carrot Sticks with a big pot of Houmous. It was so tasty. The Houmous was so good – very homemade. One of my chums had Pita Bread with dips & the other chum had a Vegetarian Quesadilla. Both told me their dishes were great. We also enjoyed out meals with a double vodka & locally made fruit juice. My drink & meal came to just under £4.50. Such a great place to visit. After we finished our meals we headed to a few bars for more Birthday drinks. One of the places we drank in was the Mini Bar. Not a tiny bar – as in a BMW mini bar. My parents are quite big fans of Minis – so I knew if I didn’t go I’d be disowned. One of my favourite things about this bar was it was the most expensive bar we went to. It had proper fancy cocktails too. However the cocktail I had was £3.76 – still so cheap for a nice cocktail. Plus it was delicious. It was called The Jam & contained a variety of sprits, strawberry jam & almond milk. Sometimes when you find something that has something vegany in that you have every day (like almond milk) you still have to have it when you’re out & about because it almost never happens. It’s like a treat. Day Four – Gluten-Free & Veagn Success!
10th March – Day Five.
Our final day – our flight home was at 3.30pm. Once I had tucked into my breakfast – more Strawberry Granola, Soya milk & Peanut Butter we were packed up & ready for our final trip around Budapest. This time we took it a lot easier. Looked around the local vintage shops, made sure I went to the food store & bought as many Bamba Peanut Snacks as I could fit into my hand luggage. Then we headed to the markets. This is where I purchased my last Hungarian food treat. Paprika Potato Chips on a Stick. You heard correctly. Crisps on a stick. They were pretty good. I very rarely eat crisps & here I was with a bag full of them & a stick covered in them. Living the dream.
My trip to Budapest was officially over. It is a beautiful city. Amazing backstreet to get lost in. Great bars to get drunk in. Fabulous food to stuff into the whole found around the bottom centre of your face. Do it. Go. Being Gluten-Free Vegan was so easy there. When you do go there if you can just check on my heart. That little city stole it.