Yan Jiang Nan Restaurant / 燕江南 (Fecskék Étterem)
A landlocked country isn’t kind to chefs with seafood ambitions. Particularly one where the fish and seafood consumption is the lowest in the EU. Yet a Chinese couple originally from Wenzhou, the port city along the East China Sea coast, set out to open 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 customers. Yan Jiang Nan (Fecskék) imports the crustaceans by air from Italy and Greece.
It's easy to get lost in the menu that includes more than 200 dishes as varied as slow-cooked carp, steamed salmon heads, and braised pork trotters. Here's my advice if you're with a small group: get a couple of light starters like dumplings, the shrimp soup, and the steamed Chinese yam, and complement them with one of the prized crustaceans - either the fried crab with ginger and onions (€30) or the whole steamed lobster (€70). After your order, to add to the suspense, a cook will appear by the exposed tank sitting in the dining area and fish out the live crab/lobster that soon you will be devouring. But if a whole carp is more your speed, use little seasonings only a simple soy-based sauce drizzled with shredded scallions.
The unpretentious ground floor of Yan Jiang Nan Restaurant (Fecskék) is deceptive - there are several swanky private dining rooms upstairs ideal for larger groups and rowdy birthday parties. The restaurant is among the pricier Chinese spots but they also serve wallet-friendly (€5) dishes every day of the week that are smaller portions of the a la carte plates.