BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. If there was a city that we went to during our Europe tour last December that best exemplified the magic and joy that a Christmas market brings, it would definitely be Budapest. I was already told before our trip that we might not have the chance to see a Christmas market that was still buzzing the moment we arrive in Europe and this is for the reason that Christmas markets in Europe, in general, close down and pack up before Christmas eve. Despite the relentless researching I had done to verify the claim and finding out in the process that the claim was really true, I still never lost hope. I just knew in my heart that I would be seeing one whatever the case may be.
We arrived in Budapest a day before New Year's Eve commenced; way after Christmas Day if you ask me, but I got the news of my life when our tour guide told us that the Christmas market in Vörösmarty Square was still open. We disregarded the tiredness we had garnered from our trip coming from Bratislava and headed on to the square without further ado. Yes, it may also had been a cold night but all the fatigue we were feeling went away the moment we saw the square adorned by wooden markets and lit by colorful, ball-like lanterns hanging from the leafless branches of the trees. My heart immediately warmed up and melted from the sight. It was truly magical. We all ran towards the platform excited to peek one by one at the stores. Everything looked appetizing and delicious. Everything looked interesting. It was really every foodie's dream. There were dishes that we already know but most were something I have not even heard of yet. From dishes as simple as a Hungarian sausage to more exotic ones like Rooster Testicles stew, we definitely found ourselves changing reactions and giggling instantaneously when we were doing our rounds.
After much probing, we settled for a plate of the Rooster Testicles stew and Pork Steamed in Beer because how can we not? They undeniably tickled some curiosity in us! Though the Pork Steamed in Beer was already delicious and juicy and has that hint of sweetness that we like, the Rooster Testicles Stew was the one that really got to us. It was hot and saucy and there was not a single time that we felt we were eating something exotic. It was simply amazing.
Accompanying our food intake were these two cups of hot alcohol that we just shared with one another. Glühwein or mulled wine (on the left) as they call it is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and raisins while the Meleg meggysör or hot sour cherry beer (on the right) is so nice in its own right. Nonetheless, these two had been the best companions on that cold, winter night.
After finishing the first batch of food that we got, we again went back to the stalls to do another round to satisfy our not-yet fulfilled bellies. In the process, we found this stall offering a burger bun filled not with burger patties but with a thick pile of potatoes, strips of pork, onions, tomatoes and green chilli. I already forgot the name but the satisfaction we got from it was unforgettable.
After downing the last bits of the dishes we got, we then headed on for dessert! Again did we found a stall selling our beloved chimney cake which we had the opportunity to taste when we were in Prague. My mom could not resist not getting it, so we ordered a tall one for all of us. Eating this sweet yeast dough topped with cinnamon powder was already an experience on itself. I just loved how there was steam coming out from the truncated cake replicating how a chimney blows off smoke to the atmosphere! We found the perfect cozy, little corner to sit down on while we finish the cake. It was just the perfect spot to take in the surroundings once again before calling it a day.
We had arrived in the city just hours earlier but in that short span of time, we already felt at home in Budapest. The city has that kind of vibe that is neither intimidating nor complicated. It was hip and young, much like the atmosphere in Madrid if you ask me. They had the best pork meals that even my carnivorous brothers loved and the best hot wines and hot beers that made us warm inside. I had been looking forward to seeing a Christmas market during our trip in Europe but Budapest gave me more than what I had expected to experience.