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 in 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 customers. They import the crustaceans by air from Italy and Greece.
It's easy to get lost in Yan Jiang Nan's menu, which includes more than 200 dishes as varied as slow-cooked carp, steamed salmon heads, and braised pork trotters. Here's my advice: get a couple of light starters like dumplings (€6), shrimp soup, and steamed Chinese yam (€6), and add to that one of the prized crustaceans - either the fried crab with ginger and onions (€30) or the whole steamed lobster (€70). After your order, a cook will appear in the dining area, and swoop out from the exposed fish tank the live crab/lobster 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 Budapest's Chinatown, but at lunchtime they serve wallet-friendly (€5) dishes that are smaller versions of the a la carte plates.