After a grueling 24 hours of working, commuting to the airport in what looked to be early Thanksgiving traveling traffic, taking an overnight flight from New York to Helsinki, then a connecting flight from Helsinki to Budapest, and finally spending our Wednesday (six hours ahead of New York time) exploring mostly the Buda side of Budapest, we decided we wanted to have dinner at a restaurant close to our hotel. We walked in two different directions to try to find a place, and somehow, we failed. The only spots we seemed to find were cafes (with no real food), bars (with no real food), takeout spots, Burger King, and McDonald’s. We finally settled on a Turkish takeout spot. They were a typical takeout food place that had different dishes in big metal trays behind a glass wall. We chose a moussaka and Turkish fried rice, and brought it back to our hotel.
When we brought it back, we realized immediately that it was all cold. Those metal trays that are set up that we are used to knowing there are burners beneath — well, those clearly do not exist here. I brought the food back to the takeout spot and asked the guy to warm it for us. “You didn’t tell me to warm, so I didn’t warm!” he said, half apologetically, half defensively. He warmed each for about less than a minute and gave it back to me. It was still cold; I was annoyed but didn’t feel like asking him to warm it again. So I asked our hotel, which warmed our food adequately.
What I’ve learned during our short time here is that not only will takeout food spots not warm your food unless you either tell them you are eating it immediately or explicitly ask, but restaurants do not serve your food piping hot like I am used to back home or in other countries. When we have eaten out here, I’ve noticed that the food is a comfortable temperature for eating, but as I am eating, it’s getting colder far faster than anywhere else I’ve been to. It’s not the best situation, but I’m fine with it since we’re only here for 2.5 days.