Ever toasted with pálinka and tucked into chicken paprikash in a Hungarian home? Hungry for Hungary offers this experience: you can not only indulge in homemade traditional meals but also step inside a typical panel flat within the József Attila Housing Estate. Chat with your hosts about local history, art, and music – your call. Read our review for a sneak peek.

When exploring a new country, the natural instinct to tick off the must-sees instantly kicks in. And while marvelling at the Parliament and the Buda Castle in Budapest is important, it's the experiences that stick the most – the most personalised, the better. That's why Airbnb experiences are gaining popularity, providing a new and unique way to discover a city. If you flick through what you can get up to in Budapest, you will find an array of private photoshoots, cooking classes, sightseeing tours, and pub crawls led by enthusiastic locals.

You'll also bump into Hungry for Hungary's apartment restaurant – hosted by a local couple who cook up traditional homemade dishes and provide loads of stories for your dinner. What makes this experience truly special is the opportunity to explore an area that is the opposite of touristy. You are invited to nibble on homemade salami in one of the country's very first panel buildings nestled in the 9th district. The József Attila Housing Estate, completed between 1957 and 1980, was the communist government's answer to the housing shortage of the 1950s. Today, its small flats primarily house elderly residents and young couples.

What does the experience entail?

Book your spot online and let the fun begin! Your first big task will be getting there. To do that, hop on metro line 3 and get off at Ecseri út station, then set off on a walk through the maze of the panel buildings. Once you reach the right house number, your hosts, Andrea and Zoltán, will meet you, offering a brief neighbourhood tour. Then you'll go upstairs to the apartment and will be offered a shot of pálinka – the Hungarian spirit made of plum, apricot, cherry – any kind of fruit, really. Better not to think twice, just down it quickly – as in Hungary, it's considered rude to refuse this sacred drink.

You'll be shown around in the flat, the conversation starts to flow, and you'll also get some explanation on the Soviet relics dotting the living room. If you are curious about this era, here's the good news – Andrea and Zoltán spent their teenage years in the socialism of the 80s, and will have a myriad of juicy stories to share. However, the topics aren't restricted to history; ask them about music, fashion, Hungarian inventions, or even stereotypes.

From liver pâté to chicken paprikash

Meanwhile, your starters will begin to arrive: rural specialities like ham, homemade salami, liver pâté (or Hungarian ratatouille if you are vegetarian) will be laid on the table, which you can pile atop slices of homemade sourdough bread. They are super delicious - we couldn't stop eating the pâté, and it's worth pairing them with local wine – trust your hosts on this.

After the appetizers, golden chicken soup is served, followed by chicken paprikash (vegetarian options are also available). Although we didn't sample the mains during our visit, we can vouch for these dishes being one of the most traditional ones – not to be missed. And then comes the grand finale – dessert.

A surprising dessert

While one might expect strudel, chimney cake or Somló sponge cake as the final course, a simpler but much more authentic treat appears – one that is a more common delicacy in Hungarian households than anything else: pancakes. These thin crepes are made on the spot, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at flipping them. Following tradition, they get filled with cocoa powder, homemade apricot or strawberry jam, and maybe cinnamon, before being rolled up. For advanced pancake consumers, there's also an extra version filled with melted Túró Rudi – the Hungarian sweet cottage cheese snack covered with chocolate.

There is so much to taste and chat about that you won't even notice four hours passing by. Andrea and Zoltán are experienced and professional yet easygoing and friendly hosts and will warmly welcome you alongside your friends or partner. The whole experience is like popping over to a local friend's dinner party, and you won't be sorry for leaving downtown behind.


Hungry for Hungary