The 5th edition of the Budapest Fish Festival (Budapesti Halfesztivál) is one of the most important foodie events of the month in the Hungarian capital, after the highly anticipated Mangalica Festival, which celebrates a Hungarian heritage breed of pig, developed by local farmers in the mid-19th century.
The Budapest Fish Festival takes place at the iconic Vajdahunyad Castle at the end of the week, from Friday, February 10, to Sunday, February 12, 2017. It promises to be an interesting event for pescatarians who want to sample the cuisine of the region, as well as fish from different Hungarian lakes, like Lake Balaton, Lake Tisza, Lake Neusiedl (Fertő), and Lake Velence. Fish from the Danube and the River Tisza will be on the menu as well.
Besides Hungarian fish, the festival offers participants the occasion to sample other specialties, like exotic sushi, Pad Thai noodles, Russian caviar, British fish & chips, and many other interesting street-food style plates. A lot of the local fish will be prepared on-site, using traditional techniques, like roasting on a spit, grilling, and broiling. Visitors can also observe traditional goulash-making in a cauldron and a fish soup cooking competition.
Although it introduces international specialties made with fish, the main goal of the festival is to encourage the consumption of fish from local waters (carp, bream, crucian carp, catfish) and to strengthen the culture of the Hungarian gastronomy. The festival will also present the local lakes and rivers, with a strong focus on the Danube and programs that are supposed to maintain water purity and to protect flora and fauna in the riverbed.
The main actor of the festival is the gray catfish – visitors will learn about the different methods of preparing and cooking the fish.
Live entertainment – like cooking demos and musical performances – are also in the program, although according to reviews from the past years, there’s not enough to satisfy little visitors, so the festival is not recommended for families with children. Also, the food prices are reportedly too high for an event of this kind by the locals.