Missing Marmite? Craving Pop-Tarts? Are you Pocky or Pepero? Expats in Budapest, Brit, American or Asian, can now stop pestering incoming acquaintances to stuff their luggage with tea bags or Twinkies and find their favourite treats around town thanks to this handy little guide!
The British Store
The British Store is a tiny shop on Tátra utca brimming with countless Cadbury’s and Mars goodies, but also Harry Potter chocolate bars, Walkers crisps, Ritz Crackers and McVitie’s digestives. Tea, miraculously, is not limited to classy Twinings but includes standard PG and Tetley. Here, ta-da!, is where you find Marmite in two sizes, its Aussie counterpart Vegemite, Heinz beans and HP Sauce. Come December, you can stock up on mince pies, Christmas cake and puddings, even luxury-brand Christmas crackers.
Asian sweets are distant cousins from their European counterparts, but like American ones, a peculiar subculture has been created around them. Aficionados even order subscription boxes, ie packages that arrive every month, thinking it impossible to buy similar products in Budapest. Not so! DunaPanda is a supermarket in distant Kőbánya that basically serves the needs of local Asian communities, happy to welcome newcomers. All kinds of different dishes and ingredients can be found here, and the snack section overwhelming. More recognisable products include Japanese mochi rice cakes in different flavours, and those iconic Pocky chocolate sticks. Uninitiates can go on a veritable treasure hunt, none the wiser as to what might be inside the many packets written with Asian characters. Packaging is cute rather than informative, but should help you recognise the essential ingredients. Surprisingly numerous crustaceans are to be found, but rice, sweet potatoes, algae, soy sauce, honey and chili are also frequently recurring items. In addition, they sell a wide variety of egg-based, thick puddings and fruity jellies, and the selection of instant soups and pastas is almost endless.
Tip! After shopping, you might want to head to one of the restaurants opposite for an authentic Asian meal.
At K-mart, there's a similar but much smaller selection than at DunaPanda (see above), but the big advantage is that you don't have to go all the way down to Kőbánya, as it is tucked away in the city centre, close to the Grand Boulevard. Despite its size, you find a huge variety of instant ramen and other noodles, as well as Pepero and Pocky sticks, crab sticks, rice cakes, biscuits and all kinds of snacks.
MiniMarket is a 24-hour grocery on downtown Dorottya utca near the major hotels, handy for guests who’ve exhausted their minibar. At first glance, it seems little different from the average non-stop on any major street in Pest but look closer and you’ll spot surprising treasure on the shelves. The range of soft drinks, for example, is spectacular.
Tej Pékáru Kávé Tea Grocery
The ‘Milk Bakery Coffee Tea’ Grocery is a small shop tucked away on Damjanich utca where owner Gergely Csiszár is happy to answer all questions and requests. Gergely never wanted to open an American store specifically, he was simply looking for interesting products that he found primarily in the market there. His outlet offers iconic brands that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else in Hungary: Pop-Tarts, Reese’s Chocolate, Sour Patch Kids chewy candy, Tostitos Tortilla Chips and varieties of candy corn to name but a few. In addition, you’ll find a whole world of M&M’s, Pringles and Monster Energy drink.
USA Candy/London Gourmet
Less homely in its approach, but equally important on the international snack front. They have two outlets: USA Candy on Királyi Pál utca focuses more on America, London Gourmet in the Arena mall on the UK, but there are overlaps in the selection. Among the American products, the stock is similar but a little less reliable than at Tej, Pékárú… on Damjanich utca. The British side is dominated mainly by chocolate made by Cadbury’s, Mars and Nestlé, with Galaxies, Lion bars and Malteser’s on the shelves, but you might also find Japanese sweets such as specially flavoured Kit Kat slices or chocolate-coated sticks called Pocky. Each store does a nice line in themed selection boxes, with birthday, film-focused, sour, extra spicy, American, British and Japanese varieties.