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 the ingredients and decides the dishes. Marika's home-style Hungarian classics are tasty and cheap (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 sour cream and grated cheese (€2). The daily dishes may include borsós tokány, a stew with a thicker sauce and less paprika than regular stews, stuffed cabbage, and goulash soup. In fact, Marika's goulash soup, 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 (they're even better when combined).
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.