San Guo Zhi (Dongbei Barbecue Budapest / 三国炙)

San Guo Zhi is a DIY barbecue restaurant in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center) inspired by northeastern China. The dishes of Dongbei, the name of the region, reflect Chinese, Mongolian, and Russian influences, and also the cold climate. The restaurant's interior is split into two. On the right side are dining booths for hot pot, while the left section is reserved for barbecue, where you cook skewers of raw ingredients over hot charcoal.

If you decide to do barcbecue, which I recommend, you'll first need to select the raw meats and vegetables on a computer tablet. The items appear only in Chinese, but the images will help, and you can also ask an English-speaking server for assistance. The choices range from familiar options to Westerners like chicken thighs, pork ribs, and lamb chops to things that are less so: chicken gizzard, pork offals, and bull’s penis (the latter tastes like a gelatinous rice cake; in China they believe in its libido-enhancing powers). It pays off the go with a mixed assortment.

Each skewer costs around €1, and anywhere from seven to nine pieces are sufficient. I especially recommend the pork ribs, the beef tripe, and the eggplants. Be sure to also order a bowl of geda tang soup (€1.5), an amazingly reviving traditional northern Chinese thick vegetable soup studded with pinched wheat dumplings.

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