Hange Chinese Restaurant
There are many theories about why it was Sichuan Province in China of all places where cooking with chili peppers was taken to a whole new level. Whatever the reason, Sichuan food has become synonymous with spicy and mouth-numbing flavors thanks to both chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Apart from the places in Budapest's Chinatown, Hange Restaurant serves some of the best Sichuan dishes in the city (Hange is also situated a bit outside the city center in District 9, but it's not as far as Chinatown).
The two Chinese chefs in charge of Hange's kitchen make excellent vegetarian mapo tofu - soft cubes of white tofu inside a sea of mildly spicy, creamy chili paste (€8). Many local Chinese order the laziji (€11), another Sichuan favorite of stir-fried chicken smothered in dried chilies. The kung pao chicken (€10) and the yuxiang pork (€10) will be a special treat for local Hungarians who're used to their unrecognizably glutinous version found at Chinese takeouts. The spice levels in most plates are manageable (if you're feeling brave, you can ask that the chef turn up the heat).
Hange draws a different crowd throughout the day: for lunch, bureaucrats come here from the neighboring office park for the €7 two-course lunch prix fixe; in the evenings, well-heeled Chinese customers show up for the pricier a la carte menu.