2007/02/12

Új LANZHOU - PROBABLY THE BEST CHINESE MEAL


New Lanzhou restaurant as recommended by Chew and Caboodle is also my top pick for best Chinese in Budapest. This is the now the 5th occasion in a relatively short span of time that we visit this establishment and never stop raving about our meals in between visits.

This weekend, it was a family and friends affair, a Sunday lunch. The one and only waiter who seems to be the beating heart of this restaurant served us again and - although he has a pretty strong stutter - we had to conclude that he should be a role-model to the wannabe waiters out there. It's not only his welcoming style, but also the fact that he seems to be extremely knowledgeable on Chinese cuisine and the preparation of dishes. A refreshing difference from all those losers, who can only take down numbers and haven't the faintest idea of what they're serving up. The only problem with our stuttering friend is that he always seems to be alone in the establishment taking care of 6-8 tables. And that proves to be too much for him at times.

I will waste little time on talking about the decor. Suffice to say that my father thinks that there is one person designing and selling the same Chinese interior design for all of the European chinese restaurants out there. So everything looks the same as in all other Chinese restaurants. Except maybe for one very mysterious, large, lacquered red door with Chinese initials, which we found out leads nowhere except into the wall behind it.

After drowning a measure of Kung Fu or Confucius palinka we were onto the appetizers in no time. Lanzhou shines with a wide assortment of dishes that you are unable to find elsewehere in Budapest. Just to name a few: Cabbage Po Tzai, Duck gizzards with garlic, 100 day eggs with tofu and spring onions as starters. Each one an explosion of taste in your mouth. The duck gizzards are perhaps the most unique and top choice with small slivers of gizzards and garlic piled on top of eachother. Soups are closer to regular chinese fare with egg and sweetcorn soup and hot and sour soup - good, but not great.

Then came the main courses: diced and breaded chicken legs with spring onions, chili and peanuts called Ge-Shan. The fact that it is made from legs rather than breasts make the meat very tender and juicy even after cooking. A wholly cooked sole in soy sauce with ginger and spring onion strips. The fish is so delicious, soft and tasty that my mother - who never ate seafood her whole life - considers this her favourite dish. Our waiter recommends a duck cooked in soy and chinese cooking wine and then deep fried on a bed of bean sprouts. Simply delicious, unlike the chewy and dry ducks that you find in most Chinese retaurants. Next up are two types of prawns - one cooked peeled in a vegetable sauce and the other stir fried whole with a spicy, gingery sauce. This last one, called Sudden-fried prawns had to be the best and freshest prawns I had lately. I ended sucking the juices and spices out of every little cavity of the prawns' head after eating the meat in the tail.

We rounded off lunch with toffee apples and bananas expertly served up by our waiter with a bowl of cold water to create the candy around the hot fruit snacks.

Price for 6 including loads of beers and Palinka? 36 000 HUF. A bargain if you ask me.

Overall 7/10

Új Lanzhou étterem
www.lanzhou.hu/
1027 Fő u. 71

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