Marika Lángos Sütője

For a journey back in time, stop by at this hole-in-the-wall food stall on the upper deck of the Klauzal Market Hall in Budapest's old Jewish Quarter. Marika Lángos Sütője is hidden from plain sight, meaning that most visitors to the market, tourists and locals alike, remain unaware of its existence. Marika is the driving force behind the kitchen, while her husband, Csaba, sources ingredients and decides the daily specials. Marika's home-style Hungarian classics are tasty and sold at bizarrely low prices (the two-course daily special runs €3).

The lángos, a popular, deep-fried flatbread boasts a crispy crust and a chewy, soft interior. I usually get it with the classic sour cream and grated cheese toppings (€2). In addition to lángos, they serve a rotating set of reliable, traditional dishes like borsós tokány, a stew with a thicker sauce and less paprika seasonings than the regular stews, stuffed cabbage, or goulash soup.

In fact, Marika's goulash soup, which is made with pork rather than beef to keep the price down, is among the best in Budapest - it sports a deep-red hue and delivers a pleasant paprika-induced pungency. The palacsinta (a Hungarian crepe) is also good, especially if you kindly remind Marika to use a liberal hand with the fillings, of which the sweet cottage cheese and the chocolate cream are my favorites.

Part of the fun of eating at Marika Lángos Sütője is to observe the peculiar teamwork between Marika and Csaba. They command each another with brusque, half-uttered words - sure sign of a decades-long marriage.