Moving right along on our culinary trail through Budapest with my picks of the local Turkish and Korean culinary scene…
7. Szeráj – An obvious choice. The best Turkish in Budapest. Who cares if it’s cafeteria-style? Open almost all night long (’til 3 or 4 a.m.), this place is so popular it is always busy. But that only means the food keeps coming fresh from the kitchen – it doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait long. Apart from the fantastic gyros (choose couscous-ish kása for your side dish), don’t miss the lentil soup, the spicy tomato sauce-salad called esme, the eggplant-yogurt salad and the baked rice pudding. Foreigners love it because what you see is what you get, just point. No language skills necessary. And everything is good. They don’t have a website. Just a Facebook page with nothing on the wall https://www.facebook.com/SZERAJ?sk=wall#!/SZERAJ?sk=wall. But who cares? They can cook.
8. Koreana – As long as we’re on the topic of good, spicy fast food, a Korean couple whips up noodle soups stacked high with kimchi at Koreana, in District 6 at Dessewffy u. 53. You will be forgiven for thinking it’s your run-of-the-mill Budapestian Chinese gyorsbüfé, but peek inside and you’ll see that there isn’t any food sitting out waiting for you to buy it and eat it – because everything’s made to order here. Try bibimbap, rice topped with heaps of vegetables and pickles and a fried egg, served in a hot bowl that will cook the egg when you stir it all up. Everything comes with sides of kimchi and other goodies. Irresistible. I do plan to try Arirang, which seems to have either moved from Óbuda to District 12 at Istenhegyi út 25, or expanded… when we went to the Óbuda location, the bulgogi cooked at our table was scrumptious and Korean businessmen were eating there, implying authenticity. No website or Facebook page in evidence for either one.
More tomorrow. I gotta sleep off that junior burrito from Arriba I indulged in this evening. Me: “Do I get a discount for writing about you on my blog?” Waiter: “No.” Me: “Not even if I named you the number one non-Hungarian restaurant in Budapest?” Waiter: “Thank you, but no.”
Maybe next time….