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Budapest’s Japanese and Turkish Delights

Japanese Gardens
Japanese Gardens
Amy Carothers

Strolling through Budapest, travelers will find a blend of cultures and cuisines. The Tomb of Gul Baba and the Japanese Gardens reflect an international flair to an already diverse city.

The Turkish tomb is dedicated to Gul Baba, the Father of Roses. Baba was a Turkish poet and the tomb was built in the 1500’s by the Ottomans. Throughout its history it's been a place of worship but was converted to St. Joseph’s by the Jesuits. The mosque was restored in 1960 and is the northernmost holy place of Islam.

For a Japanese flavor, Margaret Island’s Japanese Gardens is a horticultural retreat. The gardens are filled with water lilies, koi ponds, bridges, meditation stones, musical towers and waterfalls. Located nearby Arpad hid, it’s hard to believe that while in the tranquil setting, the bustling Budapest streets are just outside its foliage.

To add a touch of sweetness to the day, a mouth-watering Transylvanian treat is the Kurtoskalacs. The flame-kissed fried dough rolled in cinnamon, coconut, chocolate, vanilla or walnuts is a finger-licking snack. Although the popular dessert is available throughout Budapest, here's an inside scoop. Stopping by a stand offering made to order kolacs will serve a still-warm stack right off the spit as well as providing a feast for the eyes in watching the pastry dough turn golden brown and ready for tasting.

In the mood for a hearty dish, the Turkish kebabs or gyros are popular fixings. The tantalizing smell of cooked chicken or beef waiting to be carved proves too tempting to resist. Loaded with vegetables or other fixings, the bulging pitas or wraps provide a taste of the old country with a modern twist.

Like New York City, Budapest is a melting pot of cuisines and cultures; tourists willing to venture off the beaten path will find some tasty discoveries.

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