Milky Way Kínai Étterem (Chinese Seafood Restaurant / 唐人街大酒楼)

Wenzhou-born owner of Milky Way Seafood Restaurant knows a thing or two about crustaceans. Not only because any self-respecting man from this seaside Chinese city is expected to make a decent fish soup, it’s also that he worked at a fish market for 15 years before venturing into the restaurant business. Accordingly, Milky Way specializes in what he knows best: whole steamed lobsters, crabs, tiger prawns, shrimps, carps, and much more. They cook live animals and use little seasoning so that the ingredients can speak for themselves (Sichuan spices haven’t crept up here). And they do.

The standout dish at Milky Way is the whole steamed lobster, that is, if you're willing to shell out HUF28,000 or €90 for one (remember, Hungary is a landlocked country, so it's expensive to deliver seafood here from Western Europe and Italy). Another popular dish is the steamed pike perch, which arrives with a just a light sprinkle of fresh leeks and scallions, leaving the center stage for the fish. Of the wallet-friendlier options, the fish soup comes with pieces of octopus and surimi crab inside a rich chicken broth boosted by noodles, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms. The sizzling squid salad is paired with cucumber, celery, chilies, and a generous portion of meat.

Even among the under-the-radar Chinese restaurants in Budapest's Chinatown, Milky Way has taken secrecy to the next level. To access the restaurant, guests need to weave their way through a courtyard parking lot, then climb the stairs to the secod floor to reach the banquet hall adorned with ribbons and karaoke equipment. Chinese patrons can often be seen fumbling out from one of the six private rooms during some alcohol-fueled feasts.