The 18 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 Yu Man Tang (渝满堂)

Be it New York, Shanghai, or Budapest, Sichuan food is all the rage these days. The dishes are best known for their prodigious use of chilis and tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, but don't despair, not everything will set your mouth on fire at Yu Man Tang, a recently opened restaurant in Budapest’s Chinatown.

#2 Hange Chinese Restaurant

There are many theories as to 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. Note that Hange is also a bit outside downtown, occupying the ground floor of a modern office building in District 9.

#3 Spicy Fish Budapest (沸腾鱼乡)

It’s usually a good sign when a Chinese restaurant is buried deep within Chinatown. 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 spicy and mouth-numbing plates from Sichuan (the head chef is from there).

#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. And they do.

#5 HeHe Chinese Restaurant (和和美食)

If you’re looking for tasty and wallet-friendly 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.

#6 Momotaro Restaurant

In the likely event that you've never been to a Chinese restaurant designed as a hunting lodge, here is your chance to do it. Momotaro Ramen's former occupant decorated the space with taxidermy and animal antlers redolent of a countryside estate's interior, and the current owner seems to find it a fitting theme to accent their Chinese cuisine as well.

#7 Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája

Wang Mester Kínai Konyhája is an authentic 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.

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

If you've ever wondered what a Chinese breakfast was like, head to Hong Kong Büfé in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center). For less than €5, you can try classic Chinese breakfast staples here including cong you bing, congee, and youtiao.

#9 Shandong Chinese Restaurant (山东饭店)

Budapest’s Chinatown (Monori Center) isn’t the most fashionable of places; 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 of the area, but I urge you not to turn your back on it. Similar to HeHe, this unpretentious space serves up some of the best and lowest-priced Chinese fare in Budapest.

#10 Dabao Jiaozi (大宝饺子)

There's near-universal 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 where more than 30,000 Chinese people live. Before moving into Budapest's Chinatown, Dabao was a takeout-only venue hidden in a beaten-down commerical building.

#11 Taiwan Restaurant

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

#12 Yan Jiang Nan Restaurant / 燕江南 (Fecskék Étterem)

A landlocked country like Hungary isn’t kind to chefs with seafood ambitions, especially one where the fish and seafood consumption is the lowest within the EU. But instead of the seafood-resistant Hungarians, Yan Jiang Nan (Fecskék), which is located in Budapest's Chinatown, draws local Chinese people, who can better appreciate the bounties of the sea. The restaurants imports the crustaceans by air from Italy and Greece.

#13 Daohuaxiang (Aranytál Étterem)

Daohuaxiang 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 from Budapest's city center, located on the ground floor of an oversized, not-exactly-inviting dining room.

#14 Jin Yi Shu Shi (金毅熟食)

If you’re serious about your Chinese pancake, head straight 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 then proceed to freshly prepare it on a cast iron griddle before you. There are myriad variations 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 (be sure to eat it while it's hot).

#15 Happy Panda

Good news! Regional Chinese restaurants are opening in Budapest at an increasing rate. Instead of the bland sameness of Chinese takeouts, you can now taste dishes that would hold their own even in their places of origin. The la zi ji chicken, a Sichuan classic, at Yu Man Tang, and the steamed dumplings at Dabao come to mind first.

#16 San Guo Zhi (Dongbei Barbecue Budapest / 三国炙)

San Guo Zhi is a DIY barbecue restaurant in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center) inspired by northeastern China. The dishes of Dongbei, the name of the region, reflect Chinese, Mongolian, and Russian influences, and also the cold climate. The restaurant's interior is split into two. On the right side are dining booths for hot pot, while the left section is reserved for barbecue, where you cook skewers of raw ingredients over hot charcoal.

#17 Chinatown Restaurant (Kínai Negyed Étterem)

Chinatown Restaurant, which opened in 1991, was one of the first Chinese restaurants in Budapest. Although not in the city center, it's one of the few places near downtown that serves authentic Chinese food (Chinatown's moniker is misleading, because the restaurant isn't actually located in Budapest's Chinatown). Be sure to take the main entrance, else you will end up in the takeout section, where cheaper but watered-down dishes cater to local tastes and wallets.

#18 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 need to choose the ingredients from the 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. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.