Ricsi’s Jewish Street Food – there is life beyond pastrami and bagels

Photo : Ricsi's
Continental Hotel Zara ****Superior Budapest, terasz

All is not kosher that is Jewish, and vice versa. But it is not an easy task to find a place in Budapest’s Jewish quarter where we can get Jewish street food on the go. Here is our recommendation.

In the summer nights of 2014, we were still reluctant to buy hamburgers at the back of Dob Street’s Rácskert. However, the place realised that mediocre burgers are not worth selling, and the small bodega remained empty. Until now that is. Just a few weeks ago, a hotshot moved in to the hut with lots of baking trays, pots and even more ideas and enthusiasm. He is Ricsi – the creative, world-travelling chef, who can finally work in his favourite genre: Jewish street food.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
What was once a white bodega has received a makeover with a nice pallet cover, and herbs and appetising photos decorating it. The booth itself was also brought forward, so we can see the unit and its enthusiastic chef at the very entrance of Rácskert. Ricsi breaks away from typical Jewish meals so we can’t order goose leg and red cabbage; the focus is on dishes that we wouldn’t find in restaurants like Macesz or Hanna; Ricsi’s aim is to remain faithful to the street food theme.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
We were the most excited about the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) knish, so we started with that. It is a puff-pastry-looking pocket, which is stuffed with a range of delicious fillings. We tasted a plain potato version (750 HUF), but Ricsi has knish with lamb ragout (850 HUF) as well. It is a compact food, easy to eat, and really tasty. However, due to its handful size, we would have to eat at least two for a hearty lunch. The dough itself is also made in the surprisingly spacious, wheel-less food truck, just like the “World’s Best Sandwich” (1350 HUF). Let’s face it, the name might be a bit ambitious, but it is true that this burger is ways more than a stock-standard beef sandwich. The super juicy beef, cooked in rosemary red wine for hours, comes in a modest, milk loaf-like bun. Ricsi even showed us the beef’s “bath.”
In the kitchen, we also saw a large, black iron pot as well – this is what the cholent (1450 HUF) comes in every Friday and Saturday, after all, the beany one-course dish is a great favourite of Hungarian Jews, so it cannot be left out of the repertoire. Furthermore, they have tabbouleh every day(750 HUF or 1 350 HUF with lamb), which is a parsley-centric specialty made with bulgur and seasoned with coriander and mint.
Photo: László Balkányi / WLB
As for the desserts, we can eat poppy seed noodles (650 HUF) and barátfüle (“friend’s ear”) with dried plums (650 HUF), which is like a sweet, fruit-filled version of pelmeni. Ricsi’s is delicious, innovative and very friendly, and thus is strongly recommended for lovers of Jewish street food.

Address: 1072 Budapest, Dob Street 40.
Opening hours: Monday: 12pm – 4pm, Tuesday-Sunday: 12pm – 10pm
Telephone: +36 30 536 0082