Part butcher shop, part ready-to-eat meat paradise, Pinczi hús-hentesáru is an iconic sausage shop in Budapest, exhibiting a fast-disappearing side of the city. This low-priced, no-frills lunch destination, which opened in 1991, specializes in meat dishes that have traditionally been dear to Hungarians’ stomachs—sausages, meatballs, pork ribs, and the like.
All of these porcine delicacies are perfectly satisfying, but what sings here is the marinated, roasted pork belly. It’s crispy on the outside, with a layer of soft fat yielding to a tender meat as you bite into it. (Unfortunately, pork belly in Budapest doesn't enjoy the prominence it deserves, unlike in places like Japan or China.) My go-to order at Pinczi is usually a paprika-laced sausage with a slice of said roast pork belly, and a side of raw sauerkraut with a slice of bread. All this rarely comes out to be more than €5.
No matter the time of day—in Hungary, many people, still, start the day with a hearty roasted sausage—Pinczi swarms with customers. They're a cross-section of local residents, both young and old, although there’s a noticeable concentration of middle-aged men with protruding bellies. The icing on the cake is the service, which manages to be both authoritative and kind. Note there is no seating inside, so you'll have to eat by the high-top tables (or sit by the outdoor, flimsy plastic tables that offer a postcard view of the stunning Nyugati Railway Terminal).