Vegan Hungary

Travel and location information for vegans, restaurant, hotel, B&B etc reviews. If you want to meet people from some area, post here.

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Vegan Hungary

Postby stateofflux » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:56 pm

JP and I are visiting Hungary in late December, well Budapest and Hévíz to be precise and I was wondering if people here have any experiences of how easy it is to get vegan food?

Budapest seems to have at least a couple of fully vegan restaurants according to Happy Cow, but I'm curious about stuff like bread and how easy it is to get soymilk for example.

One place we are staying in Hévíz, claims they can cater vegan for us, so that should be interesting!
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Postby XkillerX » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:11 pm

my sister studies there, PM me for her details, i think she'll be glad to be finally visited by some *vegans* and give you a tour around. (khm, most hungarian veg*s hang out in sushi bars and complain ohh how tough it is to be vegan these days...). hint: no people from hungary on this board should be a clue enough.

food is a piece of cake to come by in budapest because of the bunch of turkish fast foods everywhere. besides that, a lot of supermarkets are stocked with alpro products.

and while there, you can hop on a bus which travels ~6 hours to belgrade and pay my lonely ass a visit. although i'll have to find a significantly larger bed than mine if jp decides to stick around :P
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Postby stateofflux » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:44 am

I completely forgot that you are Hungarian! Thanks for the offer, I will PM you.

If I had planned this better we could have included a visit to Serbia, but we have limited time. Damn. Maybe we can work something out.
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Postby Oak » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:12 am

I have a friend who's Dad is Hungarian. He said there was a vegetarian restuarant in the city that had little apples on the street leading you to it. Sounds so cute. Hope that it's still there

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Postby XkillerX » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:15 am

hung(a)ry vegan 101!

vegan:

liszt - flour
cukor - sugar
viz - water
kukorica - corn
buza - wheat
szoja - soy
növény - plant
növényi eredetű - of plant origin

non vegan:
hús - meat
zsir - fat (as in, fat, in general. if not specified, they probably mean fat of animal origin)
állat - animal
állati eredetű - of animal origin
tej - milk
tojás - eggs
háj (not to be confused with haj) - animal fat


general:
szénhidrát - carbs
fehérje - proteins
zsir or zsiradék - fats
adalék - aditives


that's just of the top of my head. i'll add more as i get ideas.
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Postby XkillerX » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:43 am

are you looking for vegan restaurants because you're obsessed with food or are you looking for a way to try out local vegan specialties? personally people say i'm obsessed with food ( :?: ) but in unknown places i'll eat the first or worst vegan thing i can get my hands on. no matter what language i'm quite sure peanuts (worst case scenario) will always be vegan. and potato chips/crisps (ugh).

my opinion is that especially hungarian and especially serbian restaurants are worthless. til aprox 50 years ago, i doubt they were all about meat this, meat that. nowadays, they are all about meat and nothing else. western lifestyle eh? happens to all foreigners who open up a joint here. the asian kitchen is mostly vegan - but if you go out to eat chinese most of the menu will be stuffed with meat (which is quite a long shot from regular chinese food).

anyways, i'm pissed because both hungary and serbia have a long list and tradition of vegan food, due to: 1. land characterists, 2. general wartime/poverty (lots of it), 3. religious fasting.

but, try walking into a normal restaurant and ordering potato stew, they'll look at you as if you're a martian. same goes for: cabbages with nuts, stuffed paprika, a hundred various veggie rolls/pies, various bean concotions, and at least a ton of various vegan cakes/deserts.

i have a great problem with "vegetarian" restaurants here and there, because they are all macroteleshop ^H^H^H^H khm, "macrobiotic", who serve vegan food with fish, small portions, overinflated prices.

they create a very bad image of veg*s, that veg food is tough to come by, it is very expensive and the portions are miserably small. also, they spread the lie that *there is no native/domestic veg*n food in this country*. i judge them guilty for making a killing by exploting people's fear of dying and ruining all attempts of us trying to spread veganism as a NORMAL way of life.
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Postby XkillerX » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:15 pm

[quote=".flux"]If I had planned this better we could have included a visit to Serbia, but we have limited time. Damn. Maybe we can work something out.

there's always Szabadka / Subotica. it'd be sort of a halfway thing. it's quite pretty and very laid back. mmmm nice.
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Postby XkillerX » Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:54 pm

1337 sistah answers rhetoric questions and solves insoluble puzzles! :o


soy milk, products, etc - should be available in most large supermarkets, esp. places like Tesco, Auchan and Cora (more common than you'd think; available in most shopping malls, which, again, more common than you'd expect). So, if you're in the vicinity of a shopping mall, head on in and start hunting for either a "health food store" (you'll know 'em when you see 'em), a Tesco/Auchan, or one of the well-stocked drogeries/ parfumeries (DM's are usually better at soy products than most health food stores, don't ask me why), and you're set.

Depending on which part of the city you'll be exploring/staying in, fast food places can be a good source of a medium priced meal. Avoid any and all Chinese fast food places - this includes the stalls in the food courts of malls as well! - as they'll tell you whatever you want to hear about the food. ("You want no meat? I take out meat. Spring rolls have eggs? No, no eggs, no milk, no meat." - In reality, they're all not-vegan, as they use grease, fat and meat soup/gravy as base for most dishes, and eggs for the rest. The only thing safe is white rice, and a salad if you're feeling adventurous.) Most "gyros" places have excellent falafels, though; opt out of the gravy/sauces and you're safe. (Yes, even the hot - red - sauce; I mentioned the gravy part for a reason.) In other fast food places/food court stalls the names of the dishes are usually labeled in English as well, but just in case: around steamed vegetables (including potatoes with parsley) watch out for the term "vajas" (=> made with butter; vaj=butter). Oh, and don't get fooled if they say that the food is made with "plant (based) cheese" - the logic of kazein as a by-product of a cow's suffering is completely foreign to the general (Hungarian) public. There are no "vegan cheeses" in Hungary; tofu is tofu, anything else is the product of cow rape, one way or another. Oh, while at the food court topic - unless you luck out and find a "natúra/vega" stall (the absence of meat is a dead giveaway), anything breaded and fried has also been covered in eggs somewhere during the breading process. Yes, even the mushrooms. What else... well, pizza places are usually a lottery - they might make vegan pizza bread, and then again, they might not. Places that don't have a complete fast food look are usually more amenable to preparing you a vegan pizza.

Oh, bread and bakery products in Hungary: I have yet to find bread that looks homemade and doesn't have a list of additives as long as my arm. Even worse for freshly baked products; stick to stuff that has a products list, and either memorize basic stuff like 'tej', 'zsír', 'vaj', 'tojás' and 'tejsavó' or just 'savó' - the last two are whey (powder) - in Hungarian, or hope to find a product that has its ingredients list in English, which isn't that uncommon. (You could also polish up your knowledge of German not-vegan ingredients, as it may come in handy.) Most breads have whey powder in them (as do most veg-looking sweets of the chocolates and cookies type) so read the fine print carefully.

Also, scratch was Kee-lah said - most big name snacks (Lays, Chio's Chips/crisps, etc.) are also rich with whey powder, even the 'natur'/classic ones. Read the fine print carefully, or buy brands you know are safe. Nuts, raisins, dried fruits and such are usually safe, as they come from the same places UK gets them from, I'd wager (i.e. China, Middle East, South America, etc.). Canned goods the same; 'Bonduelle', a Hungarian brand, while pricier than the others, has excellent canned vegetables which are edible straight from the can. One of the Hungarian insta-foods is 'lecsó' which is basically plain tomato sauce with red or yellow pepper slices cooked together; it's cheap, comes in a (big glass) jar, and makes a good dip for salty junk food.

Last but not least, if you want to try and meet up in Bp, what dates are you going to be there, and whereabouts will you be staying?


That be all, I think.

Almost forgot: for veg restaurants I can check around, since as I don’t tend to eat out much, and most of the ones I know tend to get renamed and/or relocated about once a year. (Except the couple of ones which are macrobiotic “haven” for the in-crowd and cost a pretty penny, but might be worth for you to check out if you’d like a real eating out experience while in Bp.)


Byeee!

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Postby stateofflux » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:57 pm

Thanks for this Killer, just PM'd you with details.
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Postby Kathryn » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:02 am

This is a veggie/vegan holiday let in Budapest:

http://www.budaveg.com/

That has a useful list of places to eat..

http://www.budaveg.com/veggie.htm

We thought about going there for our honeymoon but changed our plans in the end.
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Postby XkillerX » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:57 am

bugger me if any of the places listed there are truly vegan. sure they'll have some vegan stuff on the menu, but you gotta understand that it's an *in* thing in hungary to be vega. what exactly is a vega?

depends on you current mood, lifestyle trends and shoesize divided by the global warming invariable!

on monday you're macroteleshopic, tuesday you can be lacto-ovo, throw in some fish on wednesday but leave out the milk on thursday, etc... yeeey!!! :evil:
(and honey is never, ever a product of animal torture. bees exist to feed humans honey, didnt you know that?! :x )

in serbia, it's easier. there's macrobiotics, who eat everything, and vegetarians, who dont eat "red" meat. :shock:
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Postby valene » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:24 pm

I can recommend Vegetarium - the food there was really nice, the vegan options clearly marked, good choice and pretty cheap compared to prices in western europe. Can still taste the coconut rice pudding I had almost a year later :D
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Postby stateofflux » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:21 pm

At the end of December I spent 5 days in Hungary and thought it might be useful to others to share my experiences of eating vegan in Budapest and Heviz.

I found three restaurants in Budapest that catered well for vegans, two are almost vegan (honey is used in one) and one had an extensive vegan menu. Two of them (Vegetarium and Napfényes Ízek) offered meals that are probably reasonably priced for many tourists but I can imagine that they are pricey for locals, and one: Eden offered very cheap vegan food but was a bit out of the way. Eden and Napfényes Ízek are clearly religious restaurants, while Vegetarium appeared to have no religious propaganda. There's also a place called Le Bar which is fully vegan but it was closed and looked like it was going to move location.

Napfényes Ízek served the best vegan pizza's I have ever eaten and they didn't skimp on ingredients, the pizza was loaded with seitan, smoked tofu, sausage and cheeze. The menu appears to be vegan versions of traditional Hungarian meat-based foods, lots of fake meats and Redwoods cheezly and no lentil dhal here (thankfully, it's refreshing not to have to eat chickpeas and lentils all the time when visiting veg and vegan places). The food wasn't subtle or sophisticated, but was very satisfying. The chestnut cream dessert (some sort of sweet grated chestnut puree layered with Soyatoo cream) was also really exceptional.

Vegetarium served more sophisticated cuisine. I had a really funky porcini risotto with green asparagus and the starter of Mushroom Goulash was so generous it could have fed 4 people. Food in all three places came in really generous portions. JP had a lentil moussaka as mains and a split pea soup with smoked tofu for a starter.

At Eden the food is buffet-style- you choose half or full plates of about 2 mains and lots of side dishes, the almond potatoes and the spaghetti bolognese really stood out, but the menu changes daily so you never know what to expect. The staff were exceptionally friendly and proud of their vegan food and spoke English.

Aside from this, it was really difficult finding vegan food that wasn't fruit, nuts and seeds (and I'm no raw-foodist, when I'm in a cold country I need warm meals). It's nigh impossible understanding the ingredients listed on the labels, even though I had a list of animal ingredients to watch out for.

The health food shop we visited was extortionate with soy yoghurt costing like £3 a tub. There seem to be a lot of fake meats, but who knows what they contained. It would be great if someone could just compile a list for perplexed tourists. I did taste some really nice local 'white' chocolate though, and according to the label it was clearly vegan.

Also spent a couple of nights in Heviz, which is home to a large thermal lake and lots of 'health' spas. We found that very few people spoke English, though most people were skilled in German and/or Russian. We had specified a vegan breakfast, when we didn't get anything (even the muesli had chocolate in it) we couldn't explain it to the staff as they didn't understand English. So we made do with what we could find in local supermarkets, which ended up being stuff like rice cakes, pumpernickel bread and veg pate. I found decent fruit hard to come by, and it was often really not fresh, though this may just be down to the holiday period where distribution slows down.

Coffee in Hungary was great, always nice and strong so a big thumbs up for that!

Here's a pic of JP's stupendous pizza

Image

My breaded seitan-sesame schitzel with roasted potatoes and salad
Image

Biggest portion of soup ever

Image
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Postby dublin dave » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:44 pm

Image

I want that pizza, now! Please...!
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Re: Vegan Hungary

Postby XkillerX » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:39 pm

the cultists have a new cake shop!

It might be a bit tricky to find if you're not confident with Budapest and or hungarian. So here's the downlow: use the subway (metro, ubahn, tbana, tube) to get to the BATTHANY TER station. That's in Buda overlooking the parliament across the danube. Hop on the Szentendre HEV train and get off at Arpad hid (arpad bridge, that's the northernmost one). Cross under the bridge and walk 500 meters away from the river. Stray left to a parking lot and some social-realistic housing projects and use your nose. It's really a little hole (dump) that has tons of great vegan cakes. 1 euro each. xkillerx certified! Knock yourself out!
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