Dining in Budapest: Lángos, the filling snack
Lángos (say lahn-gosh) is a sort of salty fried dough, usually served with sour cream (tejföl in Hungarian) and grated cheese. It was originally a by-product of making bread. There are all sorts of toppings, including cabbage, mushroom, beef, ham, etc.
Tips: put some garlic sauce, or if you are a garlic fan like we are, rub lots of garlic on top of the lángos, before adding the sour cream & cheese toppings, to make it even tastier. Don’t look at the calories, enjoy the little vice of your taste buds! Lángos is especially great as a beer snack, or an afternoon snack. But you will surely enjoy it without a beer too. 🙂
Warning: if your lángos is not fresh and is too oily, you are at the wrong place! Escape and try one of the following places below (Fény utca should be a good tip).
Price ranges: plain lángos (like the one to the left) is about 140-160 HUF (about half a euro or 0.77 USD) while turbo lángos with extra toppings is about twice as much.
Where can you buy good Lángos in Budapest?
There are not many super-pleasant places in Budapest where you can try lángos, especially not in restaurants and bars – don’t ask why, it would be an excellent idea! Instead, you can try the pleasant market halls in Budapest and some other places. And once you decide to try lángos, don’t start with the plain ones: choose something with loads of toppings. Here’s a photo of the classic Tejfölös-sajtos lángos (lángos with sour cream and grated cheese) made by Eszter:
Here’s a short list to start your Lángos tour with (not in order of quality):
1, Vásárcsarnok, or Central Market Hall (higher prices , smaller sizes) is always inviting
2, Another great place to try lángos is the Market Hall in Fény utca: it is right behind Mammut Shopping Mall on the Buda side (the name is Fény utcai piac, say approx. ‘faign ootsai pee-ats’). Some say that lángos with cabbage here is a great choice, and lángos is less oily in Fény utcai Market, which is important.
3, A lot less touristy, truly rustic place is the Lehel tér piac, another big market hall very much frequented by locals, especially from the less rich strata (oftentimes cheaper than Vásárcsarnok). Beware, the building of Lehel Market Hall is really tasteless, some say it was the revenge of the architect on Budapest. But the main point is lángos, and you will find it there too.
4, If you happen to be in Budapest during the Christmas holidays, try lángos on Vörösmarty tér: usually there is a beautiful folk market on Vörösmarty square, and also great food and drinks, e.g. lángos and mulled wine.
(from now on, I will mainly rely on a great Lángos test, made by Eszter Fűszeres in November 2007 – in Hungarian)
5, Garay utca piac – temporarily moved to Rottenbiller utca (according to locals, the best version is Hungarian lángos with the Greek tzatziki, but many bought Lángos with ham and ketchup).
6, 58-as Lángoskert (Lángos Garden Buffet): great lángos, spacious place for up to 40 people. Only open from spring to autumn and is operating in an old streetcar named desire Lángos.
See the Lángos Locations on the Budapest Tourist Map (click on the yellow basket signs to see detailed info on the food markets):
Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest or the Best Cafes in Budapest.
Did you know?
Most Hungarians associate Lángos with holidays spent at Lake Balaton (the ‘Hungarian sea’ as we call the great Hungarian fresh-water lake). It is great between two dips, and you will surely find lángos makers in almost every town at Lake Balaton, too.
I think, most people in Hungary think of Lángos as a savoury snack (salty not sweet) and Fánk (another deep fried dough or doughnut) is what is eaten sweet. But some people mention eating lángos sweet with sugar, jam, cinnamon, etc. Apparently, Hungarians living in Transylvania eat lángos with fruit spread, sweet.
Lángos (or lángus), is also sold in other neighboring countries, such as Austria, Romania, Serbia, etc.