I spotted this. It struck me as something I wanted to tell you about. What a genius and eco friendly idea. Herbs and spices in simple paper bags.
I only had one week in the city. I did not get to try everything vegan that is on offer. Vega City (it was Le Bar..and has now moved to larger premises just a few steps from its first incarnation) was one of those I missed this time. A friend told me the food there was good. Served canteen style with some traditional Hungarian dishes. Smoothies, juices and desserts. It can be a bit hit and miss, depending on the time of day you arrive as to the range of choice available.
The fisherman’s bastion is a must see on the Buda side. So called as an honour to the guild of fishermen who defended this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages.
Dynamo Bake is a cute and friendly little cafe just off of the busy Muzeum Konut road . It is a bike rental shop coupled with a bake shop. The owner, Bea (pronounced like bear) returned from a time living in Portugal where she had grown accustomed to the Portuguese way and missed eating baked treats and pastries for breakfast. She is singlehandedly attempting to bring the Hungarians around to her way of thinking. Bea opened Dymano Bake once she decided to merge her two passions of biking and pastries.
She had a small selection of vegan offerings. I was excited to find a gluten free and vegan black bean brownie (this is my recipe from way back for fudgy black bean brownies). The one I ate at Dynamo Bake had a crumblier consistency and a thick chocolate shell. It was not overly sweet and her pastry school credentials shone through. I was very happy, sipping my tea, nibbling on my brownie and enjoying the peaceful space.
Research also uncovered an ice cream parlour that was offering a selection of dairy, egg and gluten free ice cream. Levendula (lavender) has two locations in Budapest. I went along to the one on the Pest side which is located on the fringe of a large shopping centre. I had a scoop of the red berry, coupled with the dark chocolate and chilli. They even had gluten free cones. I got very messy with it (very hot day) and looked like a (happy) chocolate covered toddler by the end of it. Delicious.
Mid week I heard about a salt cave underneath a juice bar (Zold Turmix..green smoothie) in Pest. I had to go and experience that. It is a natural treatment said to treat respiratory and skin conditions, used to treat since ancient Greeks saw the benefits of the anti microbial action of salt. There was only two of us in there. It was a strange air and when you breathed you got a slight sensation up your nose similar to when you get water up your nose. It was very relaxing being down in the cave and the music they fed in in the hour I lay in my reclining massage chair was very chilled. Chilled as in relaxing. Not chilled as in cold.
Edes Elet Cukraszda (vegan cake shop and candy store) is not far from the bridge that crosses the danube and also takes you to Margaret Island (a small island where joggers, beach bums, tourists and locals escape the city for a bit of green space). There are three vegan eateries in this small area. So visit hungry! It is totally vegan and has lots of cakes, bakes and slices on display. Sadly, they did not have any gluten free cakes on the day I visited. I was reliably informed by a fellow traveler that they were super tasty.
I found this hipster coffee shop, Madal Cafe just on the next street. They had some raw treats so I ordered a specialist green tea to go with a sweet macha morsel, took and seat and watched people come and go. It was a popular spot.
The spas with medicinal waters are very popular in Budapest. The Turkish occupation of the city in the 16th century saw many spas to enjoy the thermal waters. Whilst the Hungarians then built several spas of their own, a few of the original Turkish bathing houses remain. I choose to visit a lesser known and the oldest in the city Veli Bej (and therefore far quieter) spa which has a hospital built around it. I bathed in the 38 degree waters, had a blissful massage, sweated and steamed many times in the infra red sauna and the steam room. Throwing handfuls of ice on my body in between the two. A total of 3 hours and I emerged the cleanest person in Budapest, and the most chilled. Recently refurbished to a very high standard it was total luxury. Bliss for around £20!
A cute house. One of many photos of buildings I took. I will share one.
Edeni. A totally vegan, canteen style eatery situated in a buzzing intersection of restaurants on the hilly Buda side. Inexpensive and simple food. My Mexican chilli was very good. My eating companions declared their choices were tasty too. They had authentic gylash (it is often thought, incorrectly, that goulash is their national dish but it is not, theirs is a soup style medley of ingredients, with a different spelling). Lots of gluten free choices for dessert. The double decker style of cake popular in many of the vegan places I visited, was tasty and surprisingly light..not so for my friends chocolate torte, which though rich and delicious, had them beat!
Mid way through my stay I decided to get out of the city and see what the Hungarian landscape looks like free of concrete, brick and steel. Under an hour, the train skirted the Danube and stopped at Visegrad a small town beside the Danube in an area dubbed by the locals The Bend. The nearby quaint villages are popular with tourists but I wanted to visit the lush green vistas I’d seen in my Google searches. There is a castle built after the Mongol invasion in 1240 to protect royalty against invaders atop a hill. I had to take a little ferry boat that runs once an hour to the other side of the river and then climb up, quickly as the rumbling thunder was growing more threatening by the minute.
The climb was worth it. Ah, how serene.
The cool white stone of the Parliament Building.
The Shoes, honour the Jews killed by fascist militia in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to remove their shoes prior to being shot at the edge of the water. The river consumed their bodies and carried them away. The memorial was conceived by a Hungarian film director in honour of those who lost their lives.
She even has launched her own range of vegan supplements!
Balamber cafe is located in the area west of the Royal Palace, down a zig zag of steps. It’s cutesy interior is bright and welcoming. Owned by two friends, Rita & Panni, with no previous restaurant experience just a strong passion for healthy and delicious plant based food. The menu is mostly vegan. Two plates are on offer each day. I chose a raw zucchini and tomato salad with sweetcorn fritters. You do need to ask which is gluten free and vegan if that is your bag, too.
A scene in one of the lovely parks.