Daohuaxiang (Aranytál Étterem)

Daohuaxiang Restaurant fuses two popular contemporary Chinese food trends: spicy food and hot potting. The restaurant draws inspiration from the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, known as the birthplace of spicy hotpot. Daohuaxiang is a 10-minute cab ride from Budapest's city center, located inside an oversized, utilitarian dining room devoid of design elements.

First, you need to walk up to the oversized fridge standing in the center of the space and select 5-10 raw ingredients you'd like to cook for yourself. My favorite was the mutton, the signature hot-pot meat, which at Daohuaxiang comes in paper-thin slices that need only a quick dunk in the hot liquid before turning light grey and are ready to dissolve in the mouth. Otherwise, shrimp, mixed meatballs, tofu, and some vegetables like bok choy and mushrooms are all you need. If you don't mind offals, try also the spicy beef tripe.

Unless specified differently, the staff will bring a split pot for the broths. One is a mild chicken stock, the other, teeming with chili, is quite the opposite. The “medium” chili heat at Daohuaxiang would knock most Westerners off their feet, so I recommend that you stick to “low" level. When you think you're finished with your meal, take a few sips, if not more, of the deeply flavorful broth, which by this point has absorbed the flavors from the foods cooking in it.

Daohuaxiang isn't cheap. If you get too excited about all that’s to try here, it’s easy to rack up a bill of over €30 per person (watch the colors of the bowls of the raw ingredients - they denote price categories). It's more economical to go with a larger group and share the price of the broths. Also, as with other Chinese restaurants, try go on the earlier side (before 7 p.m.) before the restaurant clears out.