Depending on your taste, you might describe Sáo as the hottest restaurant in town or, alternatively, as an overpriced pan-Asian eatery serving takeout food with little to show for the hype. Whichever side you're on, the fact is that Sáo operates at capacity every night of the week. Sure, €9 for a simple plate of fried rice with a few morsels of beef is excessive by Budapest standards, but there’s more to Sáo than food. For example, a tropical decor complete with lush greenery and bamboo bird cages hanging from the ceiling. Given that one of Sáo's owners is a fashion designer, local celebrities from the creative industries often show up here, in turn drawing scene-chasers eager to rub shoulders with the chic crowd. So, if you enjoy a hopping spot with loud music piping through the speakers and being right in the center of Budapest’s party district, Sáo is your kind of place.
The menu is a collection of uncomplicated but reliably prepared Vietnamese (pho, bun bo nam bo), Chinese (dumplings, fried rice, sticky rice cakes), Thai (green papaya salad, curries), and Japanese (moji) classics. I most enjoy here the steamed tapioca dumplings with minced pork and shrimp (€6), the caramelized pork belly (thịt kho tàu; €10), and the stir-fried rice cakes with bits of chicken (€9). Cash only!
To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. But this also means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation.