Review: Street Food Karavan, Budapest Hungary

When we arrived in Budapest and checked into our accommodation, our Airbnb host spent a bit of time with us explaining where to eat. “Don’t eat anywhere in the city,” she said. “It’s so expensive, you pay at least 3000 Forint per person for anything. I like a buffet around the corner from this apartment, only 1000 Forint per person for all you can eat.”

She’s not wrong as many of the restaurants are quite overpriced by the standards of most local Hungarians. They seem reasonable to us as tourists with a higher income, but are quite out of reach for most others. So where do people eat when in the city then, if not in restaurants? Surely they don’t all go to 1000 Forint all-you-can-eat buffets?


Answer – they head to the Jewish Quarter. Formerly the rundown Jewish ghetto, this part of Budapest is undergoing gentrification, and revival by the younger generations. It’s now a very cool enclave of hipster shops, cool cafes, vegetarian and vegan takeaway joints, ‘ruin bars’ in rundown buildings, independent designer shops and much much more.

With young hipsters and cool locations comes cheap street food. Street Food Karavan is where you can go for a variety of local Budapestian food trucks in one permanent location. K and I headed there one day for lunch before joining one of the free walking tours around the city.


Our first stop was at Nyakleves which can also be found with a proper shopfront at 27 Budafoki Utca elsewhere in the city. Soups are their specialty with up to half a dozen different soups available every day. The menu does change depending on what’s in season, so ask the guy behind the counter to tell you all the options if you can’t read Hungarian!

Corn and crayfish soup, 600 Hungarian Forint
Corn and crayfish soup, 600 Hungarian Forint

I chose a Corn and Crayfish Soup which only cost us about $2.80 Aussie Dollars. While there were no large discernible chunks of crayfish in the soup, there was a strong lingering crustacean flavour and aroma which went particularly well with the creamy corn soup. I’d definitely order this soup again – hopefully next time with some crusty bread on the side.


Our next stop was at Paneer who can also be found elsewhere in the Jewish Quarter at 53 Kiraly Utca. They brand themselves as the ‘real cheeseburger’ specialists, because rather than offering meat patties in their burgers, they offer fried slabs of different cheeses. Yes, you heard me right! Cheddar, emmental, camembert…they have it all.

Camembert Cheeseburger, 1550 Hungarian Forint
Camembert Cheeseburger, 1550 Hungarian Forint

We had the Camembert Cheeseburger for $7.28 Aussie Dollars. This may seem a little bit steep for a single burger with no fries or drinks, but let me remind you that it’s a whole slab of camembert cheese, deep-fried to oozy goodness! Served with a slice of smokey grilled eggplant and sweet blueberry jam and beetroot salad, this burger really hit the spot. It hit the right note of pungent camembert tempered with creamy eggplant, sweet jam, and fresh beetroot. Delicious!


Our last stop was at The Street Buffet, which doesn’t have any other locations around Budapest. I wasn’t sure about them as they didn’t seem particularly well patronised by other customers in comparison to other stores, but K was keen to give them a try.

Chicken and bacon pirog, 700 Hungarian Forint
Chicken and bacon pirog, 700 Hungarian Forint

We ordered one of their Chicken and Bacon Pirogs (also available in a tortilla) for $3.29 Aussie Dollars and I’m afraid to say that it didn’t do much for me. The awkward shape of the pirog meant that every time you took a bite, bits of it would fall out making it quite a messy meal. The salad was also much too oniony, and the uneven distribution of mayonnaise made parts of the pirog too bland and other parts too strong in flavour. There’s a lot to be improved here, in the meantime take your chances with one of the other stands!

Street Food Karavan is the place to go for a cheap meal out in Budapest. With half a dozen or more different stands to choose from with vegetarian and vegan friendly options available too (you are in the hipster Jewish Quarter after all!), there’s something for everyone. Just make sure to follow the locals to the stands with the best food!

Street Food Karavan is located at 18 Kazinczy utca in Budapest, Hungary.

Review: Shake Shack, London England

Yes we had Shake Shack, one of the great four American burger joints, while we were in London. Forget the English fish and chips or the pies and mash, once we walked past Shake Shack near Tottenham Court Road, our hearts were set on trying it out. After all, who knows when we’ll get a chance to go to America given that we’ll be virtually broke after this European trip?


The Shake Shack on New Oxford Street looks very new – and indeed, once I looked it up, Google informed me that it had only opened up two months earlier. Despite its novelty, the restaurant was surprisingly quiet when we went. Of course, we were there quite early for a pre-theatre meal which may explain it. I certainly hope that it’s not a sign of how successful Shake Shack will be in its international endeavours!


From what I can tell, the menu seems to be fairly consistent across different countries. There are some nods to its new location with the use of Scottish Aberdeen beef, some English sausages in its hotdogs, and a “New Oxford Street” concrete drink with proceeds to a local charity. For the most part however, the basic burger recipes remain unchanged from the American originals – the signature ShackSauce is still widely used.


Between the two of us, we ordered a basic single ShackBurger, a vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger, one serve of the fries, a Fifty/Fifty lemonade and iced tea blend, and Creamsicle float using Shake Shack’s signature ‘Frozen Custard’.

The fries were tasty but nothing on the fries we’d tried at Five Guys in Belfast. The Fifty/Fifty drink included the fizzy sweetness of lemonade and the strong flavour of pure iced tea which was a surprisingly excellent combination. Enjoying my Creamsicle float was like being a child all over again – mixing the ice-cream into the lemonade to create a fizzy volcano-esque mix that spilled over the top of the cup.


The burgers are where it’s at though. The ShackBurger essentially defines a good simple cheeseburger. Kids these days are all about the monster stacked burgers with fifteen different ingredients that defy gravity but there’s something to be said about a nicely grilled beef patty, some healthy green lettuce and a slice of tomato, and a soft toasted brioche bun. Simple. Tasty. Winning.

The vegetarian ‘Shroom Burger was surprisingly tasty with a thick and juicy breaded and deep-fried portobello mushroom that perfectly mimicked the juiciness of a beef patty. I guarantee that even non-vegetarians will find the ‘shroom burger to their liking.

Having now tasted both Shake Shack and Five Guys, I have to say that Shake Shack wins it in the burger stakes. Simple is best. Shake Shack does simple well, while Five Guys tries to impress with an overload of ingredients. Please come to Australia Shake Shack!

At the time of writing, there are three Shake Shacks in London. We went Shake Shack at 80 New Oxford Street, London.

Review: Roti D’Or, Marrakech Morocco

Fast food has its time and place – and when you’re down to your final hundred Moroccan Dirhams on your last day in Marrakech and need one more meal, you really can’t beat cheap fast food for its price and convenience! There’s no need to go in search of another ATM to withdraw more money for yet another chicken tajine dinner when 100 Dirhams ($13.80 AUD) can get you an incredibly filling meal for two people at Roti D’Or off the main square.

rotidor-01It is absolutely nothing to look at from the outside – a small little cafe with outdoor seating on a side street off the main square. Somehow though, it is consistently rated in the top five restaurants in Marrakech on TripAdvisor, usually only beat out by much more expensive and fancier restaurants located in five star hotels.

Falafel, 25 Moroccan Dirhams
Falafel, 25 Moroccan Dirhams

The menu is uncomplicated and consists of either burgers with fries, or fried meat served with rice, flatbread and salad. We started with the Falafel served with the aforementioned sides – I didn’t even bother touching the flatbread, but did gobble up the delicious herbed rice with the falafel. I thought the falafel was a bit over-fried actually – definitely not a patch on the amazing falafel we had in Ohrid in Macedonia.

Crunchy Chicken, 25 Moroccan Dirhams
Crunchy Chicken, 25 Moroccan Dirhams

We went on to order the Crunchy Chicken, which I had hoped would be deep-fried chicken drumsticks or wings. It turns out that you’ll need to go to KFC for those though – Roti D’Or’s crunchy chicken is essentially just processed chicken fillets like frozen Birds Eye chicken strips. This is the type of dish you won’t need to bribe a young child to eat – and indeed, there was an English family sitting next to us where both of the young children were munching away on these chicken strips!

Tex Mex Burger, 35 Moroccan Dirhams
Tex Mex Burger, 35 Moroccan Dirhams

We finished off our meal by sharing the Tex Mex Burger, which was very interestingly if impractically presented with the burger bun skewered upright on the top of the burger. This is no Roslund Finnish burger unfortunately, and barely rates against a Burger King offering. At least it comes with a side of crunchy French fries.


As a general ordering guide – one meal per person is more than sufficient. We definitely over-ordered as evidenced by the fact that we left all the flatbread and most of the rice on the plate – I also ended up leaving most of the bun from my half of the burger as there was simply too much food!

I’m surprised that Roti D’Or is rated as highly as it is as it certainly doesn’t offer a particularly noteworthy menu or amazingly unique food. What it does offer is an incredibly cheap menu which barely challenges the budget, so I suspect that its many highly positive reviews are based on price rather than quality. Come here if you’re down to your last hundred Dirhams, but don’t go out of your way to visit!

Roti D’Or is located at 17 Rue Kennaria in Marrakech, Morocco.