The Chinese food scene in Budapest is more than meets the eye. The inner city is teeming with uninviting but economical buffet-style Chinese restaurants. There do exist, however, outstanding Chinese restaurants. Many are in Monori Center, one of Budapest’s two Chinatowns. Be it Sichuan cuisine, hot potting, Dongbei-style barbecue or some other recent Chinese food trend you're after, you will find it in Budapest. Here you can learn more about the city's Chinese community and its rich food scene. And a note of caution: Chinese dinners generally start on the earlier side (around 6 PM), so plan accordingly if you prefer a lively ambiance rather than empty tables around you.
It’s always a good sign when a Chinese restaurant is buried deep within the city’s Chinatown, and Budapest is no exception. You will need to trek out to the far-flung neighborhood of Kőbánya to find Spicy Fish, one of the best ambassadors of Chinese cuisine in Budapest, with a culinary focus divided between Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces. (The seemingly random gastronomic combination of two distant provinces is because much of the Budapest Chinese community hails from Zhejiang, and Sichuan food is simply very popular)..
The farther from downtown, the better - this is the rule of thumb in Budapest when it comes to finding good Chinese restaurants. When Taiwan Restaurant opened in 1991 it was one of the first places in the city that served authentic Chinese flavors. Taiwan has remained among the best Chinese restaurants in Budapest in its third decade of existence, so don't be discouraged by the odd location, this destination restaurant is worth leaving the city center for and it's easy to get to by subway (take the M3 train to Nagyvárad tér). .
Wenzhou-born owner of Milky Way restaurant knows seafood. Not just because any self-respecting man from this seaside city in China is expected to be able to make a decent plate of fish soup, it’s also that he ran a fish market for 15 years in Budapest’s Chinatown. Accordingly, Milky Way specializes in what he knows best: whole steamed lobsters, crabs, tiger prawns, shrimps, carps, and more. They cook live animals and use little seasoning so that the ingredients can speak for themselves (Sichuan spices haven’t crept up here).
In the likely event that you've never frequented a Chinese restaurant designed as a hunting lodge, here is your chance to do so. The former occupant of the space infused it with the atmosphere of Hungarian countryside estates with taxidermy and animal antlers adorning the walls. Surprisingly, the current owners seem to find it a comfortable theme to accent their Asian cuisine as well..
If you’re craving good Chinese food at affordable prices, make your way to Hehe. This type of no-frills, pan-Chinese fare is hard to come by in Budapest, because the handful of higher-end Chinese restaurants are pricey by local standards, and the take-outs you’re better off avoiding altogether. Located in Monori Center, Budapest's Chinatown, Hehe is a 20 minute tram ride from the city center (a quick trip that provides a unique glimpse into the lives of everyday working class Hungarians in the city’s outer boroughs). .
If you get the impression that Budapest is full of alarmingly cheap, Chinese take-out places with crappy food, your premonitions are correct. This is why Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája, one of the best Chinese restaurants in Budapest, is such a nice surprise. The owner, Wang Qiang, was a pioneer in the early 1990s to introduce real Chinese food to a local audience in Budapest that so far had been accustomed to cheap, unrecognizably toned-down dishes at the dime a dozen neighborhood take-out joints. This, along with a penchant for self-promotion, has rendered Mr.
San Guo Zhi, a Dongbei-style barbecue restaurant is the 2017 newcomer to the increasingly diverse food landscape of Budapest's Chinatown. Dongbei is the northeastern part of China, formerly known as Manchuria. The region's food reflects Chinese, Mongolian, and Russian culinary influences, and a cold climate; it's heavy on lamb, hearty warm soups, as well as corn and wheat (instead of rice)..
If you ever wondered what Chinese breakfast was like, here is your chance to find out. For less than HUF1,500 (€5) one gets to taste an array of classic Chinese breakfast staples from jianbing to congee and youtiao. The congee, this hot bowl of rice soup similar to rice porridge is often used to treat a cold or a hangover in China, but one doesn’t need to be suffering from either to experience the soothing and warming effect of this comfort soup, which comes with minced pork, mushrooms, and a scallion-punch at Hong Kong Büfé. The breakfast crowds here usually pair it with freshly fried breadsticks (youtiao), as is customary in China, and it pays off to follow them.
Many theories exist as to why it was Sichuan Province of all places within China that adopted chili peppers in its local cuisine in the 16th century. Whatever the reason may be, some of the finest dishes have come out of this unlikely alliance of flavors between Old and New World..
Of the top Chinese restaurants in Budapest, Chinatown Restaurant is one of the closest to the city center. It’s still some ways away, and it’s located on the not-exactly-inviting Népszínház Street, but at least you don’t need to trek out to one of the two Chinatowns of Budapest, an additional 20 minutes by tram, for a proper plate of laziji (spicy chicken). .
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. But against the odds, a Chinese couple from Wenzhou, the port city along the East China Sea coast, decided to open a restaurant in Budapest specialized in saltwater fish. Their goal is to bring the flavors of their native land to Budapest’s sizeable Wenzhounese community and the occasional Hungarian patrons, who are few and far between.
Those looking for an interactive, communal dining experience should consider Wang Fu (Mimóza), a longstanding Chinese hot pot restaurant in Budapest, around since 2006. Upon entry, fridges packed with countless varieties of meat, fish, vegetables, and noodles are tastefully displayed for visitors, who need to pick out the raw ingredients they will shortly be cooking in the boiling broths awaiting at their tables..
Kilenc Sárkány Étterem (“Nine Dragons Restaurant”) is a long-established Chinese restaurant in Budapest, opened over two decades ago. They carry two sets of menus, so make sure the waitstaff hands you the one for the Chinese patrons, otherwise you’re in for watered-down dishes adjusted to “European tastes”. Most items on the long menu originate from China’s Zhejiang province, more specifically Wenzhou, the home to many Chinese immigrants in Hungary. .
Chongqing-inspired Daohuaxiang restaurant fuses two widely popular contemporary Chinese gastronomic trends: spicy food and hotpotting. The inside of the plain, oversized dining room is devoid of design elements, as if to ascertain that all attention is paid to the fridge, where rows of plates with raw ingredients await their ultimate fate inside the simmering broths on the tables. .
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito.