Lángos (lahn-gosh) is a traditional Hungarian deep-fried dough, a popular street food choice among locals and tourists alike. Despite its heaviness – let’s be honest here, it’s a deep-fried flat bread dripping of oil and, more often than not, packed with an excessive amount of toppings – lángos is strongly associated across the country with the summer, and summer-time activities, such as going to the beach and/or cracking open a few cold ones. Why, though, you ask? Because it’s amazing.
Eating lángos in Hungary dates all the way back to the 15th century according to ancient records. Originally, lángos was baked in brick ovens close to the flames (hence the name: “láng” is Hungarian for “flame”), and it used to have two variants: sweet and savory. Although many nations surrounding Hungary cast their vote for the former, Hungarians stuck with savory lángos. The choice of toppings is subject to taste: the most popular variation is probably the so-called “sajtos-tejfölös” (cheese and sour cream), but many people prefer eating it plain, brushed with garlic sauce and/or sprinkled with salt. In extreme cases, a lángos can bear a shocking volume and variety of toppings, including cottage cheese and dill, Bolognese sauce, or even beef stew. Yes, you read that right – we’ll come back to that later.
Craving some lángos on the go? We’ve collected the top 5 lángos places in the city where you can indulge in this staple Hungarian goodness. Most of these locations are either in or close to the city center, so you won’t have to travel a lot to visit them, either!
Located only a few minutes of walk away from Budapest’s beating heart, Retró Lángos Büfé has an extensive menu that favors both the experienced and the rookie lángos eater. It features the classic flavors and toppings like cheese and sour cream, as well as extreme variations such as Mexican, tzatziki, 4-cheese and even sweet lángos. A huge plus for Retró is that the dough itself is tasty, big, not dripping of oil and generously packed with the buyer’s choice of toppings.
Visit if you: want to choose from a huge variety of toppings in a central location.
Don’t visit if you: don’t like eating close to a busy road or are planning to come to Budapest in 2020 – it’s temporarily closed due to construction works.
11:00 – 22:00
Retró Lángos Zsiráf is the recently opened little brother of the abovementioned Retró Lángos Büfé, located at Eiffel tér right next door to Nyugati Railway Station, meaning it’s a bit further out from the city center, but still quickly and easily accessible from just about anywhere. A huge advantage of the Zsiráf unit is, as the name suggests, that it’s on the premises of Zsiráf, one of the coolest outdoor bars in the city. Delish lángos? Check. Yummy cocktails? Check. Pretty green area? Check. If these don’t convince you, we don’t know what will.
Visit if you: want to have a lángos at a cool outdoor bar with nice surroundings.
Don’t visit if you: don’t like crowded venues. The place is pretty popular, so even though it’s out in the open, there are usually a lot of people around, especially in the evenings.
15:00 – 23:30
Situated in one of the busiest spots of the city, close to St. Stephen’s Basilica, Lángosh is a fantastic little lángos joint frequented by both locals and tourists. The dough itself represents the old-school of lángos making, like grandmas used to prepare it for their families decades ago. As for toppings, whatever you choose, you’ll get quality ingredients and fantastic flavors. Although it’s not for the faint-hearted, their flagship lángos called Budapest is definitely worth mentioning: it’s basically the carefully crafted, mouthwatering culinary equivalent of all stereotypes regarding Hungarian cuisine: apart from the compulsory cheese and sour cream, it packs every type of meat Magyars are known for eating without limits including sausage, ham, fried lard, and more.
Visit if you: want to have an authentic lángos close to many attractions in the middle of Budapest.
Don’t visit if you: want to have your first encounter with this staple Hungarian food far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Based behind the famous Buda-side shopping mall, Mammut, Lángos Land is the Mecca of those who want to get a taste of a real traditional lángos. Reinforcing this approach is the fact that Lángos Land does not put on airs with special toppings or extravagant, new wave lángos creations. The variants you can choose from are limited to plain, garlic, sour cream, cheese and sour cream, and cabbage, like in the good old days. As for price, this place is one of, if not the cheapest lángos joints in the city, especially if you take into account how flavorful it is.
Visit if you: want to get a real traditional lángos experience with no extra fuss.
Don’t visit if you: want to have the chance to go for a wilder lángos approach.
Lángos papa combines the good ol’ lángos with a traditional restaurant experience, resulting in a place that’s not strictly a lángos joint, but a Hungarian-style restaurant specialized in lángos. As such, it significantly ups the ante topping-wise, extending the list of regular flavors with chicken paprikash, beef stew, goose liver and more. For dessert, one may go for a lángos topped with Nutella and banana slices or a famous Hungarian dessert, Rákóczi cottage cheese cake.
Visit if you: are in for an over-the-top, all-in lángos experience in a central location.
Don’t visit if you: prefer to keep things simpler and more genuine. There are better and cheaper alternatives if you crave a good sajtos-tejfölös.
Think you have what it takes to ace the number 1 Hungarian street food in your kitchen? You just might, as it’s really not that complicated. If you’ve ever handled pizza dough in your life, chances are you’ll get lángos right, too, as it’s basically the same thing. Combine flour, water, yeast, and salt thoroughly and work the dough until it becomes smooth, then leave it to rest until it has doubled in size. Then, transfer the dough to a floured surface, stretch it out and cut out about 10 cm (3,93 inch) round shapes with a big glass. Stretch each piece with your fingers into a round shape and make it so that the center is thinner than the edges. Let the pieces rest for another 30 minutes, then place them in hot oil and fry them until they’re golden brown on both sides. Like in any lángos joints, eat it while it’s hot, and add any toppings you fancy. If you want to keep it classy, you can’t go wrong with garlic sauce, sour cream, and cheese.
Why don’t you try all staple Hungarian foods on an informative food tour in downtown Budapest? Click here for more info.
- What is langos?
- Lángos is a traditional Hungarian deep-fried dough, often consumed as street food by locals and tourists alike.
- Can I make langos at home?
- Making lángos at home is fairly easy. All you need to do is prepare pizza-like dough and deep-fry it in oil.
- What is the best langos topping?
- The most popular lángos topping is probably sour cream and cheese, or just one of these two. Other sought-after toppings include sheep milk cheese, beef stew, or even plain lángos sprinkled with some garlic sauce.