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23 authentic Asian restaurants beloved by Budapest locals

Asian cuisine is extraordinarily diverse, revolving around an array of spices and unique ingredients – but many misconceptions swirl around the gastronomical treasures of the Orient. Most Hungarians grew up associating Asian food with cheap buffets serving microwaved meals in plastic containers, and thus may naively say that they don’t like Chinese cuisine. However, we think that everyone should give genuine Asian flavors a try at authentic Far Eastern restaurants before judging too harshly. We collected our favorite eateries in Budapest where it’s safe to experiment with exotic tastes.

1/6

Chinese

Wang Mester’s Chinese Kitchen

When talking about Chinese cuisine in Budapest, we can’t avoid mentioning Wang Qiang’s restaurant on Gizella Street, where we can become acquainted with the regional flavors of Sichuan and Beijing. Wang far surpasses the chicken and beef duo of mediocre Chinese buffets, and offer plenty of innards and meats that you wouldn’t expect to be prepared this deliciously. It’s best to arrive with a large group, so that you can order a wide variety of appetizers and main courses, and taste as many foods as possible. Instead of well-known dishes, it’s better to pay attention to specialties, such as the guinea fowl soup with mountain mushrooms, the trotters in soy sauce, the golden needle mushrooms with cucumber, the five-color baby cuttlefish, the seasonal Chinese vegetables, and the century egg. Their Peking duck is famous as well, although it has to be ordered a day in advance. As a side note, it’s important to ask the waiters how spicy our chosen dish is, because Sichuan-Beijing cuisine is known to be rather fiery, even among Asians.

Price category: 4/5

Taiwan Restaurant

One of the capital’s largest and most traditional elegant Chinese restaurants has been operating on Gyáli Road since 1991. We recommend this for larger companies as well, as meals can become a real experience around the circular rotating table. The prices are high, but the huge selection and exceptional freshness is also included in the price: most of the seafood swims around in seawater aquariums right before the orders are placed. Taiwan offers a wide range of dim sum, and prepares meats and fish masterfully, among which we can also try some extreme specialties: chicken feet, jellyfish, spicy tripe salad, or rolled ear of pork, among others. The gung-bao chicken and Sichuan pork is nowhere near fast-food buffet “replicas”, and are definitely worth trying. The restaurant offers tasting plates, including seafood versions. We’d like to point out that in addition to Chinese drink specialties, their wine selection is quite extensive, as well.

Price category: 4/5

We also recommend:

In addition to our two favorite Chinese restaurants, there are many other eateries to discover thanks to the Chinese community of Budapest, mainly in the Chinatown at Kőbánya Road, at the former Ganz-Mávag site, and at the Monori Center, as well. These units are usually frequented by Chinese workers in the area, so we can be sure that everything tastes authentic. We might not always be able to find a Hungarian or English menu, let alone waiters at these places, but the service is friendly and helpful, so it’s worthwhile to give it a shot – especially for those who are already fans of Asian gastronomy. These restaurants should be visited on weekdays, preferably in the afternoon.

2/6

Japanese

Fuji

One of the most reliable Japanese restaurants of Budapest is Fuji, not only because it has been operating for 25 years, but also because members of the local Japanese community also like to visit this District II restaurant. In the Far Eastern designed building, we can either dine in European style, or in authentic Asian style in tatami rooms with low tables. Here we can try authentic Japanese dishes, including shiitake mushroom cooked in soy sauce, fried tuna bites with a lemon-onion vinegar marinade, or steamed spinach with sesame seeds. A mixed sushi plate is the best choice for trying a variety of sushi types, while Washoku Ajimi Funamori is recommended for a larger company, as it includes a complete menu with 20 different dishes: the food arrives on a wooden boat, and has a bit of almost everything. For dessert, we order yogurt pudding (Fuji dessert), and drink calpis (yogurt drink). On weekdays, we can also get a three-course lunch menu at Fuji for 2,290 forints. The restaurant’s management requires that the extremely helpful waiters know the names of the dishes in three languages (Hungarian, Japanese, and English), which is rather impressive. The tatami rooms, available for booking, guarantee a relaxed meal.

Price category: 4/5

Okuyama

We can find this small restaurant with only a few tables, where Okuyama-san prepares everything right in front of us, on the ground floor of a shopping center at Kolosy Square. The Japanese chef was born on the island of Hachijō-jima, with a population of approximately 8,000 people, and then pursued his career in Tokyo and Vienna, to finally wind up in Budapest. He’s a very sympathetic person, who works quietly in the restaurant’s “open kitchen”. His motto prevails in the flavors of the kitchen, representing a traditional line: “Live well, laugh much, and love truly!” For starters, we order shiitake mushrooms, shellfish and sardines braised in soy sauce, and for the main dish, we taste a wonderful sushi selection. The pickled sardines, called “dona dona”, is worth a try as well. The seafood is brought to the restaurant from Vienna, and we can assure you that Okuyama adds an authentic taste to everything.

Price category: 4/5

We also recommend:

Itoshii works with an “all-you-can-eat” system, which is rather popular in Budapest, since we can eat sushi and Japanese grilled foods for a fixed price for 2.5 hours. La-Guna Sushi Bar on Üllői Road might be located in the suburbs, but their sukiyaki soup, temaki sushi, and tempura maki are worth the trip. The world-class franchise restaurant Nobu, housed in the Kempinski Hotel, represents elegance and luxury, and offers rich bento boxes.

3/6

Thai

Tom Yum Thai Restaurant
Address: Budapest 1061, Andrássy Avenue 2
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We can find this restaurant chain on Andrássy Avenue and at many other locations. The meals are prepared by Thai chefs in front of our eyes. From the soups, we recommend the tom khaa with coconut milk and prawns, the spicier kaena ped with chili, or the classic tom yum, which we can order with various types of meat – the price changes accordingly. We have plenty of choices regarding the salads, as well: we can choose a “simple” pad Thai, a spicier panang, or a pla lat pik with fish and chili-garlic sauce. Among the desserts, we recommend the khao niaw ma muang, which is sweet, sticky rice with coconut and fresh mango. In accordance with Thai eating habits, these dishes are usually served at the same time, and interestingly, they don’t use a knife, either – naturally, we can be exempted from this rule.

Price category: 3/5

Bangkok Thai Restaurant
Address: Budapest 1056, Só Street 3
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Bangkok Restaurant, located on Só Street, is popular not only because of its wide selection and reasonable prices, but also because of its authentic flavors. Even the Thai Embassy recommends this restaurant to tourists, which is a pretty big deal. The most iconic dishes of Thai cuisine, using lots of coconut, lemongrass, Thai basil, coriander, fish sauce, garlic, and chili, as well as crunchy vegetables and coconut oil. It’s worth visiting them even for a simple pad thai dish, although their soups are rich and filling, as well. In addition, their dishes with whole fish are rather exciting, and we have never been disappointed by their crumbled chicken in tamarind sauce, either. Bangkok also offers a two-course lunch menu on weekdays, from noon to 4pm, for 1,500 forints – we recommend adding a tapioca pudding with coconut milk for dessert, too!

Price category: 3/5

We also recommend:

One of our urban favorites is Parázs Thai Restaurant, with three units – including street-food place and a “classic” restaurant. Their noodle dishes and tom yum soup are very nice. We also like the curries of Green Thai, as well as their coconut custard with pineapple.

4/6

Korean

K-Point
Address: Budapest 1071, Bethlen Gábor Street 31
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K-Point is an excellent place with an authentic Korean kitchen in a relatively distant corner of District VII, in a single-story corner building onn Bethlen Gábor Street. Their shrimp soup (Hong Hap Tang) is spicy, hearty, and delicious, while the sweet-and-sour pork (Tangsuyuk) is less intense, although this can be easily remedied with soy-pepper sauce. Naturally, there is also tteokbokki, made of rice, rice noodles, and chili paste, and also kimchi. The prices vary greatly, but the dishes are more ideal for larger groups, anyway. As a specialty, the drink list features soju, a sweet alcoholic beverage made from rice with a 19% alcohol content, which is usually poured into beer.

Price category: 4/5

5/6

Vietnamese

Funky Pho

After traveling around half of the world, Hungarian husband-and-wife team Éva and András opened a place in Budapest that doesn’t want to seem authentic in any way, and yet still offers excellent South Vietnamese cuisine. The palette of the restaurant, located on Mozsár Street, features dishes like pho, cold tripe bites with ginger and chili, noodle salad, summer rolls, and mochi (Japanese rice cake). According to many, this street-food place has the best pho soup in the city. Their secret lies in their use of quality meat, while neglecting flavor enhancers and ingredients of uncertain origin – a policy that doesn’t necessarily characterize most Asian buffets. The restaurant itself is rather packed at lunchtime. Their cookbook published last year (in Hungarian only) is an exciting “gastro startup book”, describing how they built their enterprise, with personal stories and recipes. Interestingly, the restaurant’s first guest was one of our colleagues, Nick Robertson, as proven by an old photo below.

Price category: 3/5

Vietnami Speciális Melegkonyha

We can find Vietnami Speciális Melegkonyha in Kőbánya, attracting people to the suburbs not only with flashy interior design, but also with good prices, authentic flavors, and friendly service. Their menu is divided into two parts, something that characterizes many Asian restaurants; the dishes with Hungarian names and illustrated with pictures are for local guests, while the other half of the menu is more interesting for Vietnamese guests. Naturally, if we ask the waiters to recommend something from this section, they’ll gladly help. The portions are huge, so we recommend ordering just a small pho and tom yum soup. It’s a nice gesture that when someone orders a soup at our tables, the others will get a small bowl of taster. The meats sizzling on the iron plate, garnished with vegetables, are all super; we recommend the duck and the prawn in particular, but the curry prawn ragout can be a good choice, as well.

Price category: 2/5

We also recommend:

Our suburban favorite, Hoa Sen Quán, awaits guests with huge portions and friendly service in the Sárkány Center on Gyömrői Road. Among their specialties served in a skillet, we would most highly recommend the duck dishes. Hanoi in Buda is also a great choice if we desire Vietnamese flavors.

6/6

Fusion

Due to the complexity of Asian gastronomy, there’s plenty of room for fusion, and as illustrated by this compilation, some dishes are present in multiple types of cuisines, often differing by only one or two ingredients. There are many restaurants/eateries in the city that offer “fusion cuisine”, but these are some reliable favorites:

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