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Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) is one of the very few touristy area that we both enjoyed. Why? Because it is touristy, yet retaining its local traits at the same time. The market has had a long history - built in 1897 to improve food supply and food quality to residents in Budapest, then underwent damage a few times before a total renovation in 1994 to possess current's look. In present day, locals come here to do groceries shopping, while tourists flex their camera, satisfy the must do Budapest check-list or purchase Hungarian specialties as gift back to their hometown. 

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

How to Go to Budapest Central Market Hall

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary
Budapest Tram System

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary
Liberty Bridge

The market is located right beside Danube River and Liberty Bridge. Public transport is the best way to get here. Take either metro M4 or tram 47 and 49, then stop at "Fővám tér".

You can use Liberty Bridge as a landmark to confirm you have reached the right place. Once you get out from the metro station or get off the tram, you should be able to see Liberty Bridge directly opposite Central Market Hall. 

Those hardcore travelers that decided not to spend any money on transportation can walk here in fact. It is about 2km walking distance from Deak Ferenc ter, a major central square in downtown Budapest.

Quick Guide of Budapest Central Market Hall

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary
Hungarian Salami

Budapest Central Market Hall opens daily from 6am to 6pm, with the exception on Monday (till 5pm) and Saturday (till 3pm). It is closed on Sunday.

Having said that, you can come anytime as long as the big door still open. As a general thumb of rule, avoid evening as some vendors might start to cease operation early. We arrived here around 2pm and most vendors were operational with a reasonable number of visitors.

There are 3 floors in Budapest Central Market:
Basement - pickles, butchers
Ground Floor - Hungarian specialties such as paprika, salami, pastries, cheese (we spent most of our time her)
First Floor - restaurants and souvenirs stores (not our favourite, there are better food out there)

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

On the right side of the market (if you enter via the main door) is a row of vendors selling Hungarian specialties - paprika. Forget about buying the paprika garlands hanging gloriously at the shop, as it was never their true culture of hanging these garlands in their kitchen or house. The paprika in various packaging seems promising though but we are unsure whether it is being sold in a more expensive price tag here. 

Here is a useful tip if you intend to buy paprika here. Check the words "edes" or "edos", which means sweet and hot respectively. 

Anyway, I did not see many people with Hungarian feature shopping at the right row. Most people here were with a backpack or a camera in hand, while on the other side of market we saw more people with plastic bags of various sizes. You should be able to tell the differences between these two group of people, right?

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

So on the left side are fruits and vegetables stalls which tourists did not fancy, but you can see the number of locals congregated there. If you are staying in Airbnb with a kitchen, why not purchase some fresh produces here and prepare your own dishes? It will definitely be one of a kind experience that leave you with mesmerizing memory! 

Butchers and cheese vendors are scattered along the market but it is not hard to locate them. Certain vendors are selling truffles, which could be useful in your kitchen for your luxury dining.

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Although there are a few restaurants on the first floor but the price tag put us off. Moreover, various articles over the Internet did not recommend eating there, saying it is tourist rip-off. 

In case you are hungry, look for this snack shop in the centre aisle on the ground floor that reads "kézzel nyújtott rétes recept" which means homemade strudels. 

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

You can go safe with the classic strudels flavour such as apple, sour-cherry, curd cheese etc, but the poppy seed strudels intrigued us the most. It is totally legal to sell poppy seeds in fruit, and we did not feel the "excitement" arises after consuming the whole poppy seed strudels. Each strudel cost 280 HUF when we visited here in mid-2019.

There are other seemingly interesting strudels too, such as cabbage and potatoes. The vendor has an English menu to ease you during ordering. 

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

We are in awe over the taste, and in fact went back there for second times to try their potato and cheese scones. 

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) @ Hungary

Other than paprika, another Hungarian specialties are pickles especially kovászos uborka” (pickled gerkhins) and the savanyú káposzta (sauerkraut), which you can find in abundance at the basement floor. This is the first times we have seen such impressive array of pickles, nicely arranged in their jars with some smiley face pointing to the customers. 

Also at the basement are some butchers and fish stalls.

Taking the escalator up to first floor will land you into a large number of shops selling souvenirs, apart from the few restaurants. The alley is packed with T-shirts, dolls, scarves, key chains and etc.

I do not know about you, but none of these appear to be interest me. Once these items are bought back to home, it ended up collecting dust at cabinet, or worst - in friend's cabinet after I gave them. 

Nevertheless, spend follow your heart and just buy it if any of the souvenirs interest you.

Well, that sums up what we experienced within 2 hours at Budapest Central Market Hall. We kind of enjoyed here, and in fact it tops our list as one of the must go in Budapest instead of those areas flooded with tourists buses and crowd.

Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) 
Operation hours: 6am - 5pm (Monday)
                                    6am - 6pm (Tues - Friday)
                            6am - 3pm (Saturday)
                      Closed on Sunday
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