Chinatown Restaurant (Kínai Negyed Étterem)

Of the top Chinese restaurants in Budapest, Chinatown Restaurant is one of the closest to the city center. It’s still some ways away, and it’s located on the not-exactly-inviting Népszínház Street, but at least you don’t need to trek out to one of the two Chinatowns of Budapest, an additional 20 minutes by tram, for a proper plate of laziji (spicy chicken).

Or spicy pork, and spicy sizzling vegetables with pork belly for that matter, as much of the long menu consists of fiery Sichuanese fare. Other plates are an arbitrary collection of dishes that have proven to be the most enduring over the restaurant’s long history (it opened in 1991, as one of Budapest’s first Chinese restaurants). Two of the best ones are the Yangzhou-style “lion’s head” meatballs and the Dongpo pork.

The interior hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, when striking curved-roof ornaments were the obligatory design elements of Chinese restaurants across Hungary and Austria. Make sure to take the main entrance, else you might end up in the takeout section, where cheaper, but watered-down dishes cater to Hungarian tastes. Before entering, take a step back and appreciate this cute one-story building, the last of its kind on the street, flanked by taller constructions from later periods. Cash only!

Similar to Kilenc Sárkány, Chinatown Restaurant is a favorite for large groups of Asian tourists, which can detract from the dining experience as they come and go in haste just to be replaced by the next batch already lined outside.