Hange Chinese Restaurant

There are many theories about why it was China's Sichuan Province of all places where the gastronomic use of 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 chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Apart from the places in Chinatown, Hange Restaurant serves some of the best Sichuan dishes in Budapest (Hange is also a bit outside the city center in District 9, but it's not as far as Chinatown).

Hange's two Chinese chefs make excellent vegetarian mapo tofu—soft and silky cubes of white tofu inside a sea of mildly spicy chili paste (€8). Many local Chinese order the laziji (€11), a 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 versions elsewhere. 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 mixed crowd: for lunch, bureaucrats come here from the neighboring office park for the €7 two-course lunch prix fixe, while in the evenings well-heeled Chinese customers show up for the pricier a la carte menu.