Although grocery stores put a chokehold on the good old markets for some time, the traditional form of shopping has been making a huge comeback, thanks to a greener and more health-conscious approach. These markets are worth visiting not only to purchase your fruit and vegetables but also because they are social hubs for local communities. You will also definitely appreciate a little break from the rush and the rat race.
Markets in Hungary have roots running centuries deep, and it is no coincidence that the Hungarian word for Sunday literally translates as “market day.” The etymology of the word commemorates the fact that King Saint Stephen ordered weekly fairs and markets to be held on Sunday, making it a holiday. Certain Hungarian settlement names also reflect their own weekly fairs and markets in their names, the prime example being the town of Szombathely (Szombat translates to Saturday, the day of the weekly fair and market held in the town). Incidentally, the marketplaces were not only venues for shopping but also served as the setting of a vibrant community life where people could hear the local news. Despite the proliferation of shopping malls and supermarkets today, traditional marketplaces and flea markets are now back in vogue, with more and more people returning to the high-quality goods offered by local farmers and producers. Here is our list of four reasons you might want to join the market-goers’ camp.
While in malls and hypermarkets, you will see new faces behind the counter and at the checkout every time, the same vendors at the markets each time will greet you as long-term friends. This shopping experience can be a perfect break from mundane everyday life because, in addition to being greeted at the stalls with friendly smiles, you will know exactly where the fresh fruits and vegetables that will end up on your plate actually come from. Mostly you’ll be walking outdoors instead of under too-bright neon lights.
Authentic market gastronomy
It is not only the kind people but also the finest odors of wonderful food that make a visit to the market such an exquisite experience for everyone. An essential part of shopping at a marketplace is grabbing a bite in a local eatery: a pair of fried sausages with a slice of fresh bread, a homemade lángos (a deep-fried flatbread) with cheese and sour cream on top, or some delicious flammekueche.
Although most people go to markets primarily to get fruits and vegetables, you can also buy flowers – and in some places, even small livestock (such as poultry). Although markets have represented the “traditional” way of shopping, there has been a definite shift to the more modern range of goods they offer. The traditional products are still there, but now you can also buy clothes, second-hand books and electrical appliances at reasonable prices.