San Guo Zhi (Dongbei Barbecue Budapest / 三国炙)

San Guo Zhi is a Dongbei-style barbecue restaurant that opened in 2017 in the increasingly diverse food paradise of Budapest's Chinatown in Monori Center. Dongbei is the northeastern part of China, formerly known as Manchuria. The region's food reflects Chinese, Mongolian, and Russian influences, as well as the cold climate - it's heavy on lamb, hearty warm soups, and corn and wheat instead of rice.

The system at San Guo Zhi works like this: after you enter, servers will point you to an oversized fridge packed with all sorts of raw meat and vegetable skewers. The choices range from familiar options to Western eyes like chicken thighs and lamb ribs to more exotic cuts including chicken gizzard, pork offal, and bull’s penis (it tastes like a gelatinous rice cake; in China they believe in its libido-enhancing powers). Anywhere from six to eight skewers will usually fill the average appetite. Choose whatever you like but I suggest including the pork ribs, the beef tripe, and the eggplants. Be sure to also order a bowl of geda tang soup. It’s a traditional northern Chinese thick vegetable soup with dumplings that’s amazingly reviving during the cold months.

Once you're seated, they will bring sizzling charcoals and a tray filled with the grillable goods so that the DIY grilling experience can begin in earnest. For the best outcome, coat the cooked foods in spicy peanut crumbs before wolfing them down. Grilling is a communal experience and most enjoyable with larger groups, alllowing you to sample a whole variety of foods (each booth at San Guo Zhi seats a maximum of 6 people).