Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Culinary Transformation

A few months ago I blogged about how my friend and I tried out a
Norwegian restaurant just east of Worker's Stadium on Gongti Dong Lu.

The salmon dishes were wonderful, using fresh ingredients, but it was
a bit annoying having to sit and listen to a documentary promoting
Norway as we ate.

So a few weeks ago I took the trolley bus home that passes by the
second floor restaurant and I looked up and saw that it had changed to
Budapest, a Hungarian eatery instead.

I texted my friend about the change and he was disappointed because he
had wanted more of the smoked salmon appetizer.

The change had happened at the beginning of this month and from my
tracking of the restaurant scene, there was no news or explanation for
the switch in national cuisine.

Nevertheless, tonight we and another friend decided to give Hungarian
food a shot.

The decor was basically the same, with the plain wood tables, wooden
chairs covered with purple cushions and even the empty wine bottles
with candles on for a slightly romantic touch.

The new owner greeted us and explained he would give us two free
starters, an eggplant, avocado dip, the other made with pork pate.

They came with a supply of toasted bread. What was interesting was
that the pork pate didn't taste like pate at all which was a bit
strange, but good.

After, servers brought small samples of goulash to our table, served
in small metal buckets complete with mini handles which was a nice

Although a bit oily and salty, the soup was delicious, with cubes of
beef, carrots and celery spiced with cumin seeds.

While it was only supposed to be a small sample of the soup, it was
just enough to satiate our taste buds.

I ordered "knuckle with ham and cabbage", which was a big portion of
pork and (fat), but no knuckle. The meat was tender, but there was a
higher ratio of fat than meat. Also on the plate was a generous
portion of boiled red cabbage and a delightful scoop of mashed potato
seasoned with herbs and spices.

My friends ordered the roast carp that was deemed excellent, save for
the numerous bones, and the paprika chicken that was accompanied with
twisted pasta pieces that were filling. We also had the side of
cucumber salad that the owner suggested went well with the chicken and
my other friend agreed, but couldn't finish it all.

We were too full to order dessert, so the owner gave us a small treat
instead. They were chocolate covered cheese in a cylindrical shape. We
were confused because he had told us the dessert was Hungarian, but
the packaging had "Tuli Kiity" on it with a Japanese anime-looking cat
and then Chinese characters that said "piece of cheese chocolate" that
was produced in China.

The taste? For me it was strange eating chocolate with a kind of
cottage cheese middle. One of my friends, who loves chocolate and
cheese thought it was the best thing ever; the other begged to differ.

In the end the meal came to 265 RMB for three, which gave us a good
taste of Hungary and we may come back again for more...

2/F, Tower 6, China View
Across from the east gate of Worker's Stadium
8587 1028

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