The 15 Best Chinese Restaurants in Budapest

Budapest's Chinese restaurants offer more than meets the eye. While the inner city is teeming with low-priced takeouts that adjust flavors to local Hungarian tastes, there's a nondescript Chinatown (Monori Center) a bit outside the city center where you can sample everything from Sichuan food to northern noodle soups, hot pot, dumplings, seafood, and Chinese barbecue. Note that Chinese people eat dinner on the earlier side, around 6 p.m., so plan accordingly if you prefer a lively ambiance to empty tables around you.

#1 Spicy Fish Budapest (沸腾鱼乡)

It’s usually a good sign when a Chinese restaurant is buried deep within Chinatown and this is exactly the case with Spicy Fish, one of the top Chinese restaurants in Budapest — to get to it, you'll need to journey out to Monori Center, a 15-minute cab ride from downtown. Spicy Fish's menu features dishes from all parts of China, but especially prominent are seafood and the hot plates from Sichuan (the head chef is from there).

#2 Hange Chinese Restaurant

There exist many theories why it was China's Sichuan Province of all places where chili peppers have reached an absurd level of intensity. Whatever the reason, Sichuan food has become synonymous with spicy and mouth-numbing flavors thanks to the generous use of chilis and Sichuan peppercorns. In Budapest, if you don't feel like trekking out to the city's Chinatown, Hange Restaurant will satisfy your cravings for red pepper-laden dishes. Hange too is a bit outside downtown, occupying the ground floor of a modern office building in District 9.

#3 HeHe Chinese Restaurant (和和美食)

If you’re looking for tasty and affordable Chinese food in Budapest, HeHe is one of your best bets. The restaurant serves an array of excellent Chinese dishes from a modest, undecorated space in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center), reachable in 25 minutes from the city center by public transport.

#4 Milky Way Kínai Étterem (Chinese Seafood Restaurant / 唐人街大酒楼)

Wenzhou-born owner of Milky Way Seafood Restaurant knows a thing or two about crustaceans. Not only because any self-respecting man from this seaside Chinese city can make a decent fish soup, but also because he worked at a fish market for 15 years before venturing into the restaurant business. Accordingly, Milky Way specializes in what he knows best: whole steamed lobsters, crabs, tiger prawns, shrimps, and carps. The restaurant cooks live animals and uses little seasoning to let the ingredients speak for themselves.

#5 Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája

Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája is a Sichuan restaurants in the residential Zugló neighborhood, a bit outside the city center. The Chinese owner, Wang Qiang, was among the first restaurateurs in the early '90s to introduce unadjusted Chinese food to Budapest locals. He is also a savvy businessman and self-promoter who adopted "Maestro" as his stage name, earning him more legitimacy than any stellar resume could — to this day, his name is synonymous with top Chinese food in Budapest.

#6 Taiwan Restaurant

Taiwan, which opened in 1991, was one of the first Chinese restaurants in Budapest to serve unadultered Chinese food and nearly three decades hence it's still going strong. Since most customers here are Hungarians, the dishes are slightly adjusted to local tastes but not distractingly so.

#7 Shandong Chinese Restaurant (山东饭店)

Budapest’s Chinatown (Monori Center) isn’t the most fashionable place, after all, who gets excited about decor-deprived rows of warehouses far outside the city center? The obvious answer: fans of Chinese food. Shandong Restaurant is located on a particularly rundown section, but I urge you not to turn your back on it. Similar to HeHe, this unpretentious space serves up some of the best Chinese fare in Budapest.

#8 Monori Center Hong Kong Büfé (港式茶餐厅)

Hong Kong Büfé is a small, decor-deprived eatery within Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center) best known for its Chinese breakfast foods like cong you bing, congee, and youtiao, but they also serve excellent and wallet-friendly lunch dishes, too.

#9 Dabao Jiaozi (大宝饺子)

There's consensus within the local Chinese community that Dabao Jiaozi is the place to head to for home-style dumplings in Budapest — quite a statement in a city with more than 30,000 Chinese people. Dabao makes Shandong-style dumplings, which means the wrappers are a bit thicker and chewier. There's only two versions; both with a base filling of ground pork and shrimp, one packing napa cabbage, the other shredded Chinese chives. I'm slightly in favor of the chive-version, but there isn't much of a flavor difference and they're both very good.

#10 Momotaro Restaurant

In case you've never been to a Chinese restaurant designed as a hunting lodge, here is your chance. Momotaro's former occupant decorated the space with taxidermy and animal antlers and the current owner seems to find it a fitting theme to accent their Chinese cuisine as well. Momotaro is among the top-tier Chinese restaurants in Budapest, serving traditional pan-Chinese dishes with a focus on dim sums.

#11 Mandarin Grill and Hotpot

Mandarin Grill and Hotpot is a DIY Chinese restaurant in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center). The restaurant specializes in the food of Dongbei, a region in northeastern China, reflecting Chinese, Mongolian, and Russian influences and a cold climate. The restaurant is split into two: the right-hand side booths are for hot potting, the left section is for self-made barbecue.

#12 Daohuaxiang (Aranytál Hotpot)

Aranytál restaurant fuses two contemporary Chinese food trends: spicy food and hot potting. The restaurant draws inspiration from the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, known as the birthplace of spicy hotpot, the communal cooking experience where people sit around a boiling broth and cook for themselves an array of meats and vegetables. Daohuaxiang is a 10-minute cab ride away from Budapest's city center, located on the ground floor of an drab, oversized dining room.

#13 Jin Yi Shu Shi (金毅熟食)

If you like Chinese pancake and are curious about an offbeat part of the city, head to this tiny takeout shop buried deep within the Kőbányai Piac, one of Budapest’s two Chinatowns. Known as jianbing and originating in northern China, these savory crepes are a beloved street food across China. Here, a Chinese lady will help you customize your order and freshly prepare it on a cast iron griddle before you. Many versions exist but eggs, fried crackers, hoisin sauce, and a drizzle of cilantro and scallions are standard ingredients. I also like to add pork floss and sausage for a protein boost. The result is a crispy bundle of flavor bomb (eat it while it's hot).

#14 Happy Panda

Happy Panda is a takeout shop a bit outside the city center specializing in jianbing, a popular northern Chinese savory crêpe. Usually eaten for breakfast, it's packing sweet bean paste, meat, a fried cracker, scallion, cilantro, and a scrambled egg. It's cheap, filling, and tasty. Happy Panda offers five versions, including a vegetarian, all of them made to order on a cast-iron griddle before you. There's also dumplings, a couple of soups, and noodle dishes, but you're here for the jianbing. Happy Panda can get a little overwhelmed during peak lunch hours, but the owner-couple does its best to get to your order quickly.

#15 Wang Fu (Mimóza) Chinese Restaurant

For a communal dining experience in Budapest, consider visiting Wang Fu (Mimóza), a long-standing Chinese hot pot restaurant a bit outside the city center. First, you'll need to choose the ingredients from two oversized fridges located by the entrance and containing a countless variety of raw meats and vegetables. In the meantime, servers will prepare the cooking broths at your table. The fun begins when you start dipping the ingredients into the hot liquid for anywhere from a few seconds (raw beef) to several minutes (noodles).

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I also never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a one-time payment (PayPal) or becoming an Offbeat Patron.