My Mate Marmite
I've been living in Hungary for quite a long time now. But while I've got my favourite foods and snacks from Hungary (turo rudi for instance), I still get a craving every now and then for a taste of home.
I weaned myself off the standard English expat fare mainly by not knowing a lot of other English expats when I first came here and also not going back and forth between the two countries that often.
For some reason, I've been getting the odd pang of hunger for some quintessential British culinary items. I think the blame can be placed squarely on the heads of two people at my work who now visit the UK every few weeks and always ask if I want something brought back.
This means that I'm stocked up on Marmite and Cheddar cheese along with Computer Shopper and Top Gear magazines. Sadly I don't think I could get away with asking for several barrels of John Smiths.
For those that have an even stronger slavering for a slice of home food there's always some small specialty shops that deal in these rare goods. The downside is of course the price you pay.
The most well known of the shops in Budapest I think has to be Culinaris. There's one in the 6th district on Hunyadi tér and another in Buda's 3rd district at Perc utca, though strangely, I've never been in either of them. Although the shops have been at the back of my mind for a while, they were brought to my attention recently by the lovely lady who surprised me with a packet of my coveted salt and vinegar Walkers crisps.
There's a few other shops where the trade in these UK treasures can be found. Quite often, shops that deal with special spices will have a small section dedicated to the expat community. I popped into an Indian shop the other week on Wesselenyi utca, where upstairs was full of Indian furnishings while downstairs was a small supermarket, which as well as normal Indian flavourful food, also had PG Tips, ginger beer and export strength Guinness.
Then again, sometimes you don't have to wander far at all to find these things. Just the other day at my local, standard yet tin CBA shop I noticed that they were selling promotional packets of Tetley Tea. 100 bags + a "free" mug for just under 1,000 Forints. A bit pricey but if you're desperate for decent tea, you might just pay it. It's all a matter of taste.
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