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TOP 5+1 markets in Budapest

Writers

4/12/2012 2:00 AM

Merchants; goods rule once again “Markets, in a broader sense, are places where livestock is exchanged for money. In order for said exchange to take place, there need to be sellers and customers. Markets, in a traditional sense, are exact places where certain goods are traded on a regular basis.” Now, off with the accurate but uninteresting definition, which no doubt fails to evoke a desire to set off to a market. Though you might want to as sometimes such trips are not unlike visitations to another, unknown realm.  

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

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You can refuse the things your parents or even your grandparents try to force you to have all you want but the thing is that tradition as such is not something to take lightly. After all, these things have had great impact on their life. Tradition can be something to lean on even in the most desperate of situations. You don’t have to but it’s there for you and will not disappoint, should you decide to call on it.

The market or going to the market is such a tradition, too – a sport for the masses and no one’s an amateur. Ancient Greeks were very cunning that they created all this with their agora. Cunning and rightly so! They designated a square which later became the social and trade center of cities. A meeting place, if you would. It might not even come into our minds today that this was the reason for their creation in the first place. But no doubt it was. And it might be a good reason for re-exploring markets of today, provided you have yet to do it. ‘Cause markets can be all sort of fun. A real boost of adrenaline. Sure, there’s the tedious task of maneuvering among the crowds of people but it’s not exclusive to markets, is it, now?

Markets are a little like traveling abroad. First you can’t help but stare around and try to make something of the multitude of novel stimuli and information. Then you start to step closer and closer, making contact finally. And then you can even feel as if you lived there since forever. For markets are such inclusive places. Probably because there is such a great variety of people there that starting from the moment you entered you are left with the feeling that you became a part of a gigantic kaleidoscope.

So visiting markets is cool and exciting. Thus, we set out to explore the differences between the markets in Budapest and to see their unique allure. We compiled a selection but are also eager to read your experiences or markets of choice still waiting to be discovered.

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Lehel Csarnok

2/4

1134 Budapest, Váci út 9-15.

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The controversial… Fény Street Market was an instant favorite, whereas Lehel still brings emotions to the surface, or at least it’s less easy to comprehend. Though the building itself looks like a mere merchant ship, that once served as a significant tool of transporting goods on the Danube. It could be defined as avant-garde. Now, the same art is nowhere to be found inside. Was practicality a more relevant factor? Perhaps, especially if you think of markets as pragmatic repositories of everything needed. After all, this is their original function. Lehel is a kind of odd-one-out, a serious emotional matter – if you have grown an attachment to it, you won’t be able to let go of it. But if you hesitated for the first time, you probably won’t get to like it ever. Still, it can be good as it never lets you without any feelings towards it.

Rákóczi Square Market Hall

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In the communist regime its location had a dubious reputation at best. The world has changed a lot since, though, and with it the neighborhood. However, the market hall stayed as it was. The building erected in the 1890s has become a monument and its walls surround a pleasant feeling of calmness. The practicality and intent, which are harder to find in the case of Lehel Market, are much more clear-cut here. As Hungarians are primarily meat-lovers (maybe more so than they’re supposed to), it’s important to point out that you can find a fine variety of meat products at Rákóczi Square. And should you feel like having some Far-Eastern delicacies, come and visit one of the best Chinese groceries in town left of the main entrance, where you can buy both the fresh ingredients and the kitchen tools to prepare them with.

Ázsia Bt.

4/4

1053 Budapest, Vámház körút 5.

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As long as it was in the basement of the Great Market Hall, it was regarded as pilgrimage site by gastro-fans and curiosity-lovers. It didn’t really change but since October 2011 Ázsia Bt. moved to live an autonomous life a few steps down the street. The circumstances are better and the otherwise commendable selection grew to even larger extents. They are a sort of exotic island, where anyone can go and they will be treated as they deserve to be. Sure, it’s a bit different because it’s a shop, and, thus, operates differently. Yet, it summons the essence of a market in a more concentrated way: it’s the gathering and shopping place of people who like venturing from the everyday reality for as little as a course or a special ingredient.

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