I’m a pretty annoying eater apparently. I eat slowly, in really small amounts, and I can never finish my food unless it’s a fancy restaurant with tiny portions and weird sauces. I am also pretty cheap so needless to say, especially when solo-traveling, I rarely eat ‘meals.’
Instead, I prefer to travel to Eastern Europe during the winter months for authentic, regional street food sold at Holiday markets. For under three dollars a meal, you are guaranteed to get some portable, filling, and tasty fuel to keep you warm and on the go
Pro-tip: Many markets close after New Year’s Day but Prague’s Christmas markets, for example, are open until January 13th. Do your research so you won’t be disappointed.
Below are my top six favorite things to eat (and drink) from European Holiday markets:
1. Grilled or ‘fried’ cheese (Prague)- either Edam or Hermelin cheese that is lightly breaded, then either fried or grilled. They put the salty, oozy cheese on a slice of rye bread and you can choose to top it with a dark berry marmalade. WOA. BEST FOOD EVER.
2. Liquid lunch (Europe)- All around the world, no matter the city, you will see vats of mulled wine (hot, spiced wine) that is sold for take-away so you can browse the Christmas markets.
Pro-tip: If you are in Budapest, you will notice there is very little plastic waste unlike the rest of Europe or in America. At Holiday markets there, you buy hot wine and put a separate deposit down on the ceramic mug that they put your wine in. You are free to either keep the mug and leave the deposit, or return the mug and get your deposit back.
3. Langos (Budapest)- Also referred to as Hungarian Pizza, this delectable treat is always fried potato dough, covered with sour cream and cheese, then up to you (or the region) as to what else you can add. Try it with garlic sauce, onions and mushrooms.
Pro-Tip- for the BEST langos in Budapest, you don’t have to wait for winter. You can get it all year round at the central market upstairs. This is where you will get the freshest langos with more options for toppings than you can get at Christmas markets. You will also see this in other countries throughout Europe, but it is authentically Hungarian (and better there).
4. Grilled Sausage (Europe)- Grilled sausage is just about the best lunch you can get. It comes crackling off the grill and is placed on a large bun, where you can fill it with sauerkraut and mustard. Seriously good, seriously cheap.
5. ’Chimney Cakes’ (Transylvanian Origin) – These are popular in Eastern Europe where the dough is rolled in cinnamon and sugar, wrapped around iron rods and placed over hot coals to cook. They are a great breakfast snack; like a superior cinnamon toast.
6. Medovina (Central and Eastern Europe)- Medovina is mead, or fermented honey. If you remember your Old English Epics, you will recall that Beowulf and his retinue drank heaps of mead at Herot. It’s not great (it’s REALLY sweet), but it’s fun to drink and think about when men were warriors.