There are multiple reasons why someone could opt for a meat-free diet. Religious matters, health issues or personal beliefs – these are just a few of the classic reasons why someone decides to become a vegetarian. Of course curiosity or an open-minded attitude can also be the driving force behind the choice. We wanted to know what kind of vegan places are there in the city and what alternatives does Budapest offer for a meat-free lifestyle.
Govinda restaurants – You brought your friends too? Great! Come on in!
The first Govinda restaurant was opened in 1996 and ever since they expanded their franchise with four other restaurants. These are probably the most popular restaurants that offer fine-quality food for vegetarians. The range of selections is so wide that even vegetarians who thought they tried everything under the sun would be surprised. The restaurants offer special tastes, lacto-vegetarian dishes, traditional Indian foods and dishes that represent the reform cuisine. The fresh ingredients that are used in the restaurants include wheat, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. If someone is hesitating about transferring to vegetarianism this is the place that will help to decide.
Hummus Bar – The tastes of the East in a friendly way
Two out of their four restaurants are entirely vegetarian – one is on the Alkotmány Street the other is on Hollán Ernő Street. The use of quality ingredients enjoys priority here as well; this is combined with professional and friendly service and reasonable prices. We can enjoy the flavours of the Middle-East if we visit one of these restaurants; some of the dishes may be very familiar except for the fact that their tastes are very light and they are really colourful. Some of the dishes may actually give the impression that you are receiving a colour therapy treatment.
Napfényes confectionery – Dolce vita for everyone
Sweets are kind of interesting from vegetarians’ point of view and they are kind of problematic as well. The traditional Hungarian cookies, cakes and sweets usually contain a lot of eggs and dairy products. However there is one confectionery in Óbuda on Kiskoronás Street that offers sweets that are made completely out of vegetarian ingredients. They offer ice-creams that fit into the strictest vegan regulations. Lactose-intolerant people, people with diabetes or food allergies can also consume these special treats. This is good news because this way people with special needs can enjoy the ice-cream dolce vita as well. Back to nature, back to naturalism – these are the main philosophies behind the confectionery and they seem to work very well. No gimmicks, no hanky-panky – we like this place!
Ganga Vega Café, situated on Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street right opposite to the Arany János Street metro station, is the little sister of Gangas restaurant that was opened on Hunyadi square three years ago. Once again, another place where quality is the most important. The seasonal ingredients are provided by farmers who have a long and successful history in agriculture and who are living close to Budapest. This way the freshness and the quality of the ingredients are guaranteed. The menus combine European and Eastern tastes so lovers of these cuisines can lie back happily in their seats after they had their meals. They operate with a fast-food restaurant system so it’s an ideal place for you if you don’t have a lot of time but you would like to have something healthy to eat – for a reasonable price.
Address: 1065 Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street 25. Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 12pm – 7pm Facebook
Vegetarianism in general – find out what it’s all about
According to the most widespread definitions there are six different types of vegetarians by the way. A person who does not consume meat (including poultry, fish and their derivatives) is a vegetarian. There are the ovo-lacto vegetarians, who consume dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians are okay with eggs but they don’t consume dairy products. Vegans don’t eat any kinds of meat or any derivatives; they don’t consume milk, honey or eggs. What is more vegans don’t use or wear anything that is an animal product – no leather, no wool and no silk. The raw-eaters, as their name already suggests only consume raw food (except for raw foods that are poisonous or indigestible obviously) and last but not least there are the fruit eaters, who avoid not only meats but vegetables as well.
Does it all seem complicated? Well, it might but the thing is that belonging to a certain group of vegetarians is not always a matter of choice. There are cases when your body chooses what you can and what you can’t eat. On the other hand of course there are people who make deliberate choices about not consuming meat. Either way, people have to eat something on a daily basis. They need to find the diverse, healthy, nutritious dishes and alternatives if they don’t want to have the boring fried cheese, fried cauliflower, broccoli, aubergine or any other types of vegetables that are suffocated to death in bread crumbs and in hot oil.