Once you established where to stay in Budapest, you need to start thinking about the most important thing in Hungary: food. When it comes to finding the best langos in Budapest, you want to avoid the tourist traps and go straight for the best places which are guaranteed to sell traditional, well-made, well shaped and perfectly fried langos.
We met with one of our Hungarian friends, who showed us the secret places where we could go and finally enjoy the best langos in Budapest. As langos is becoming an international sensation, the traditional practices are being replaced by innovation and new techniques, unusual toppings. We were, however, hunting for the original, Hungarian langos, packed with sour cream and cheese.
For Hungarians, langos is what scones are for the Brits. There is only one traditional, authentic way of making and eating it - and like the Brits, the Hungarians also have difficulties agreeing on which one is the correct one.
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What is Langos?
Langos (Lángos - Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈlaːŋɡoʃ]) is a Hungarian food speciality, a deep-fried dough, made into a round, flat shape. The name comes from láng, the Hungarian word for flame/fire. The modern langos, despite its name, is deep fried and not done in open flame.
Traditionally, langos was baked in a brick oven close to the flames (láng). Nowadays, as people no longer have brick ovens and do not bake bread at home, langos is always fried in oil.
The mighty langos is also made in Serbia, where it was introduced by Hungarians. You can purchase langos in various places in Romania, especially in Transylvania.
The Turkish name for langos is "Lalanga," which has been present in both Byzantine and Ottoman cuisines. "Lalanga" remains a part of Turkish cuisine, while in Greek cuisine, langos is referred to as "Lalagia."
How langos is made
The dough for langos is made of water or milk, flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Typically, you will find that langos in Budapest is made with water. Some people also add mashed potatoes to the dough, but that's called "potato langos" (krumplis lángos in Hungarian).
To achieve the desired texture, the dough is fried in hot oil for a few minutes until it turns a golden brown colour. During frying, the middle of the dough becomes crispy, while the edges turn out light and fluffy.
Traditional toppings on a langos
Traditional langos has sour cream and grated cheese on top. The dough is made with water and the fried langos is not too thick - maybe about 1-1.5 cm - thicker around the edges, thin - sometimes paper thin in the middle. The edges are soft, fluffy, the middle is a bit harder, crispy, so it can hold the topping.
The langos should be eaten fresh, as soon as you get it from the vendor. Don't be shy to ask for a fresh one if you see the langos has been standing there for a while. Nothing is worse than a cold langos.
Unusual toppings on a langos
In recent years, langos in Budapest become more of a pizza base, with all sort of great ingredients being added to it: ham, sausages, mushrooms, aubergine (eggplant), eggs, etc. Because it's so versatile, langos can also be a sweet desert, as the fried bread resembles the taste of a doughnut. Just add sugar and jam on top.
Best Langos in Budapest
Langos is popular all year long. It's an affordable Hungarian street food and simple to make. A simple langos with no extra toppings costs around £1.80, €2.00 (650 HUF).
Here is a list of the best places where you can by langos in Budapest. (Last updated in July 2023)
1. Retró Lángos (Our Recommendation)
For the best langos in Budapest, we recommend that you head over to Retró Lángos. It started as a small stall just across the road to their current shop, but they have now expanded and moved to a bigger location.
They have seats, a toilet for customers and they even have their own bar. Besides, they now introduced gluten-free langos as well as plant-based langos which is awesome. It shows that the owner is forward-thinking.
Honestly, Retró Lángos makes the best langos in Budapest. It's popular among locals and recently tourists, so expect a queue. There is an English menu. If you don't have dietary requirements, we recommend you try traditional langos: topped with sour cream and grated cheese.
Opening Times: Every day, 11am - 10pm
Prices: from 1400 HUF, £3.20, €4.00, to 3800 HUF £9.00, €10.00
Address: Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 25 (Opens in Google Maps)
Menu: Retro Langos Menu (Opens in a new window)
2. Street Food Karavan
Head over to the Street Food Karavan Budapest in District VII. This is a unique place with about 10 food trucks selling all sorts of Hungarian (and international) street food. They also sell local craft beers, cocktails and other drinks.
At the Street Food Karavan you can try langos with special toppings like paprika, speciality meets, etc. Another fascinating invention is the "Langos Burger" which as far as we know can only be purchased here. The "Langos Burger" is basically burger meat, salad, cheese between two langos.
This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Budapest, so expect crowds, especially on sunny days.
Opening Times: Every day, 11:30am - Midnight. (might change during winter)
Prices: from 1600 HUF, £3.70, €4.30
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 (Opens in Google Maps)
3. Zsiraf Budapest
Right next door to the Nyugati Train Station in a laid-back beer garden and music venue. Zsiraf offers many variations to the traditional langos.
The langos here is more square shaped than round and there is an overwhelming array of toppings including meat, vegetables, and vegan.
Opening Times: Every day, 12pm - 4am (Zsiraf is closed during the winter, reopening in March)
Prices: from 1000 HUF, £2.30, €2.70
Address: Budapest, Teréz krt. 53, 1062 (Opens in Google Maps)
Drinks Menu: Zsiraf Menu (Opens in a new window)
Vegan langos in Budapest
Don't worry, vegan friends, we've got you covered. We love langos and ever since we became plant-based, we were convinced it's going to be impossible to eat this amazing Hungarian speciality. I mean, fried bread with delicious toppings? Yes, please!
When our friend took us to the Retró Lángos Büfé, we were convinced we were only going to order a simple langos with no toppings. To our surprise, the shop had so many options for vegans, including mushrooms, jalapeno pepper, olives, peppers and more.
In fact, they even had a filled vegan langos with all plant goodies in it. Pretty incredible, right? Although we are quite vehement about healthy eating, we now know we can have a cheeky vegan langos any time. And the good news? With all the toppings, the langos is no more than £2.50. That's lunch sorted, on a lovely sunny day.
Your turn now. Tell me about your Budapest langos experience, and where did you find the best langos in the city? Leave a comment below to tell us your story.