Daohuaxiang (Aranytál Étterem)
Daohuaxiang Restaurant fuses two 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, the communal cooking experience where people sit around a boiling broth and cook for themselves an array of meats and vegetables. Daohuaxiang is a 10-minute cab ride from Budapest's city center, located on the ground floor of an oversized, not-exactly-inviting dining room.
This is the drill: you need to select 5-10 raw ingredients from the huge fridge anchoring the space. Mutton, a signature hot-pot meat, is served 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, 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, another hot-pot favorite in China. Unless specified differently, the staff will bring you a split pot for the broths, one a mild chicken stock, the other, teeming with chili, the opposite.
Daohuaxiang isn't cheap—if you get too excited about all that’s to try, you can easy rack up a bill of €35 per person (pay attention to the color of the bowls as they denote price categories). It's most economical to go with a larger group. Also, as with other Chinese restaurants, try to go on the earlier side, around 6:30 p.m., before the restaurant clears out.