Lángos, a disc-shaped and deep-fried dough served with various toppings, is a beach food favourite for Hungarians. And a must-try if you are on the hunt for local delicacies. So what a lucky coincidence that we have recently stumbled upon a new spot. Near the Opera House, at UFO Lángos, no one can resist the golden-brown, crusty, crispy, 28-centimetre dough of the fiery Mamma from Szolnok.

I have a meet-up close to the Opera House, but they’re late. It is also pouring, making this elegant neighbourhood look gloomy and my coat soaking wet. I notice a new shop by accident on the street next to the lovely building, so I pop in and ask what they sell – more out of habit than curiosity. I don’t feel like having a lángos right now until the two shopkeepers start talking, almost simultaneously, about how they make the king of Hungarian beach food. Okay, I’ll have one with cheese and cream, please.

While the food is being prepared, I find out the details of the new place. Timi and her son Zoli have been in the catering sector for a long time, Timi has been a chef for 28 years, and Zoli followed her mum into the business 10 years ago. The place’s name is a joke because mother and son work together with such intensity that people at their previous workplace said they must have been brought here by aliens. That is how their lángos place was named ‘UFO.’ It was almost by chance, thanks to an acquaintance, that they got the premises at the Opera, so Timi now commutes from Szolnok, spending 16 hours a day travelling and working to achieve the quality she wants.

My profession as a journalist is not revealed, but Timi az Zoli are still happy to have me. They ask me to check the dough, now dotted with nice big bubbles. I smell the baked result – not greasy at all. They are so enthusiastic that I am almost anxious for the food to be good. 

Once I bite into the lángos, the rain-induced gloom is finally a thing of the past. The dough is both crispy and soft. Despite its large portion (about 28 centimetres in diameter), it is light as a feather. I only believe in the classics: the garlic (HUF 1,200) and the cheese and cream (HUF 2,000) flavoured ones are my favourites, but there are all sorts of delicacies for the hungry and curious. For HUF 3,200, you can have a UFO lángos with lecsó (the Hungarian version of ratatouille), pulled pork, cheese, and bacon, but they also offer a stuffed version (HUF 2,300) and a kid’s menu (HUF 850 for the basic and the garlic flavoured).

The environment will be further improved, with a new sign soon to be installed above the shop and a terrace. But that doesn't change the essence: good people make good lángos with quality ingredients next to the Opera. And sincerity is a winning trait that pleases a stag partygoer in flip-flops as much as a sophisticated music buff heading for a three-act Wagner opera. One could say that beach vibes have come to Andrássy Avenue: the sense of chilling on a towel after a swim and almost feeling the soft water wash away the worries of school or work. As if sent by divine providence, a lovingly prepared lángos always comes at the right time.



UFO Lángos Budapest 1065 Budapest, Hajós utca 7.