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101Tigris – An Asian canteen that serves better and cheaper than wok chains

101Tigris, the latest release of popular Taiwanese bistro 101Bistro, opened recently. The location is Újlipótváros, a family-friendly neighbourhood close to Jászai Mari tér on the Pest side of the Danube. The shop has been the prep kitchen for 101Bistro for a while, but from now on, you can also grab a quick lunch or dinner at the home of reasonably priced and varied noodles, soups, and other Chinese specialities.

101Bistro has become a hit in Széll Kálmán tér: opening in the middle of the pandemic, they were the first to offer delivery, along with their own Taiwanese sauces, spice pastes, and golden kimchi. It was a pleasure to order from a place with a new concept, both sophisticated and exotic, yet quickly relatable. Asian cuisine obsessives were thrilled when they could physically visit the modern Taiwanese cuisine, and they can be even more thrilled now that there is a sister location on the other side of the river, with just a tiny different concept.

There have been whispers for a while that the 101 team is opening a new place with a completely different business model. We had to wait until early September for 101Tigris to make its debut. It’s located in bohemian Újlipótváros, the pride and joy of the Pest side, about halfway between the Danube and Lehel Market, on Hegedűs Gyula utca. The new design comes with a relaxed canteen feel, a bit like a journey to Hungary in the 60s. Although it’s nice to move around in the place, as well as to just sit and eat, they created a completely functional space. You can see that

101Tigris was designed for faster meals.

101Tigris was designed for faster meals.

The kitchen is relatively large, visible from the guest area through a big round window. This is where the base of 101’s saucy pastas and soups have been made for some time. The brand’s chef, Marci Keve, has shared the ‘secret’ ingredient that makes Chinese food Hungarian: they simply use the iconic Hungarian Gyermelyi flour to make the pasta. They also serve Kőbányai (a popular Hungarian Lager beer) on tap, so we wouldn’t be surprised if they used Erős Pista (the ultimate Hungarian chili sauce), but there’s a limit to everything. They’re more likely to go for gochujang or hoisin sauce instead of the Hungarian stuff.

A QR-coded, easy-to-use solution allows you to order your nourishment, and the menu will not force you to make long, agonising decisions. It features a few starters, some soups and pasta, and a dessert.

It’s been tailored for simplicity, speed, and no shilly-shallying.

It’s been tailored for simplicity, speed, and no shilly-shallying.

There’s nothing over the top at Tigris, the food itself is stripped down to simplicity, and the guys are happy to take credit for that. The way they put it is that they want to keep it simple and good, so that it doesn’t get boring and remains affordable. Let’s just say that based on what we’ve seen so far, ‘boring’ would be the last expression we’d use to describe 101’s philosophy.

We tried the garlic chives and pork dumpling, which was absolutely outstanding in its category. We’re talking about 5 dumplings, with a filling made from a pork and prawn mixture, in a bowl with a soy-vinegar-chilli oil sauce. Moments later, we were staring at the bottom of the snow-white plate. With chicken wings crunching next to us, we jumped on the steamed broccoli, complete with fermented tofu dressing and ginger-spring onion oil; a great option for a side dish or a vegan starter. Be sure to dig into the bottom of the veggie pile for a refreshing sauce!

Although the soy pork soup sounded mouthwatering, we opted for two of the hot soups, the place’s specialty. We had the spicy sesame soup, which is really a spicy, steaming elixir like nothing else with some minced meat and lots of sesame, and then we also sampled the spicy kimchi fish soup. Tempura prawns, naruto (a fabulous Japanese ramen topping), and two giant mussels topped the intensely fishy soup. On a gloomy, chilly, rainy day, we can’t imagine a better heart-warming treat! We liked that it was bold and assertive with an intense fishy/seafood flavour.

They specifically make ‘multi-coloured’ pastas: yellow, red, and brown.

They specifically make ‘multi-coloured’ pastas: yellow, red, and brown.

After the heady sesame and seafood flavours, we finally tapped on the spring onion and soy noodles on the screen. A Beijing favourite, this dish is heavy on soy and spring onion, less overpowering than the specials we’d tasted earlier. Beware: picking bite after bite on a chopstick will make a mess. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles... Or in this case, the cheesecake: to finish, we spooned in a light, slightly citrusy delicacy – we needed this refreshment after all the characteristic flavours and spices.

We definitely liked the canteen feel, and it’s nice that a starter doesn’t go above HUF 1,990 for now, a very substantial soup comes out at HUF 2,990-3,290, and we can get a bowl of sauce pasta for HUF 2,490. If you look at the prices of any standardised wok cuisine in the past few months, these are very good offers, plus creativity rather than repetition is a key asset at 101Tigris.

This new Asian eatery is a good example of how to make a simple fast food concept young, cool, and (at current horror prices) affordable.


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