Okays, we know. It is officially Spring but the cold and the snow is still raging in some parts of the world. Thankfully though, things have finally 'blossomed' in South and Eastern Europe and nothing makes us happier than the flowers and fresh produce that the season brings.
We usually have this habit of visiting the fresh produce market or supermarket of every locality we go to - depending on what's available (hey - we can't fault that there wasn't a Sunday wet market in Svalbard!) It is a great way to understand the local cuisine as we get to see the ingredients of the land and the whys and hows the dishes were developed. And because food is often the common link to traditions and culture, this is also where we get to observe local cultures and way of life.
The Central Market Hall in Budapest is one of our favourites across Europe as it is actually still serves the locals as a wet market - endearingly known as every Budapest-ian's pantry. A lot of the market experience in major cities these days tend to cater to visitors looking for a quick bite or have turned into a hangout/dining experience (Timeout Market Lisbon anyone? - one of our favourites too!) but Budapest's century-old structure is still a flurry of buying and selling of local goodies.
And because Hungarian food is probably less known internationally than its other European counterparts - this is truly a comprehensive place to see, touch and smell all the different spices, cheeses and meat. Barring a few grumpy but cute elderly shopkeepers who might yell at you - we always recommend approaching with a smile and genuine curiosity to learn - most of the vendors are very friendly and ready to share more about their goodies!
There are a few restaurants on the first floor of the market but the food is not the best that we have tasted. If you are short on time and have to get your fill of local cuisine before you leave Budapest, then perhaps this could be a convenient spot. But we highly recommend just sitting down for a proper Hungarian meal just in any of the simple restaurants a few doors down from the market. This market is just here for what it is - the best of the local produce.
Central Market Hall Nagy Vásárcsarnok Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary