Yan Jiang Nan Restaurant / 燕江南 (Fecskék Étterem)

A landlocked country like Hungary isn’t kind to chefs with seafood ambitions. Particularly one where the fish and seafood consumption is the lowest within the EU. Yet a Chinese couple from Wenzhou, the port city along the East China Sea coast, decided to open Yan Jiang Nan (Fecskék), a restaurant in Budapest's Chinatown specializing in saltwater fish. Their goal is to bring the nuanced flavors of their native land to Budapest’s sizeable Wenzhounese community, and the occasional Hungarian patrons. They import crustaceans by air from Italy and Greece.

It's easy to get lost in Yan Jiang Nan's long menu, which includes more than 200 dishes, but here's my advice: get a couple of light starters like dumplings (€6), the shrimp soup, and the steamed Chinese yam (€6), followed by one of the prized seafoods—either the fried crab with ginger and onions (€30) or the whole steamed lobster (€70). After you order, a cook will appear in the dining area, and scoop out from the exposed fish tank the live animal that will soon reappear on your plate.

Yan Jiang Nan's puritan ground floor is deceptive—there are several swanky private dining rooms upstairs ideal for larger groups or rowdy birthday parties. The restaurant is among the pricier Chinese places in Chinatown, but at lunchtime they serve wallet-friendly (€5) dishes from a limited menu.