Chinatown Restaurant (Kínai Negyed Étterem)

Chinatown Restaurant, which opened in 1991, was one of the first Chinese restaurants in Budapest. Although not in the city center, it's closer to downtown than other authentic Chinese places (the restaurant's name is misleading, because it isn't in Budapest's Chinatown). Be sure to take the main entrance, else you might end up in the takeout section, where cheaper, but watered-down dishes cater to local tastes and wallets.

Much of the long menu consists of fiery Sichuanese dishes, which are prepared reliably and well. I enjoyed the lazi ji (€7) and the Yuxiang shredded pork (€7) in particular. The other plates are an arbitrary collection of dishes that have proven to be the most popular over the restaurant’s long history—two of the best ones are the Yangzhou-style “lion’s head” meatballs (€8) and the "Dongpo" braised pork belly (€6 for two pieces).

Chinatown's interior hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, when curved-roof ornaments were the obligatory design elements in Chinese restaurants across Hungary and Austria. Note that Chinatown Restaurant is almost always packed with large Chinese tourist groups, who seem to be in constant motion, which can detract from the dining experience. Cash only!