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Decent chinese food in paris?


eatingwitheddie
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I've never had a really good Chinese meal in Paris or in France. This is not to say they don't exist, but that I haven't been tempted to find them and have only used Chinese food as a familiar snack or quick lunch. The residential neighborhoods of Paris are filled with traiteurs asiatiques. These are mostly take out places although some of them have a few tables and chairs for on premises consumption. For the most part they are neither very good nor terrible although that's a personal opinion based more on how the food looks than how it tastes. I don't have much experience actually eating it. My most recent experience was in Chartres when I stopped, half out of curioisty and half out of hunger and had a quiche chinoise which was reheated in a microwave for me. It was a cross between egg foo yung and a Spanish tortilla/Italian fritatta and not half bad although indefensible. It was round in plan and a flat oval in cross section. I took it into the street where I ate in out of the bag. It's not very French to eat in public like that, but I love eating street food, even where it doesn't exist.

There was a thread I believe, in the France board about Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in Paris. They both exist and there are supposed to be some really good Vietnamese restaurants, which should not be a surprise. On the whole however, the sentiment I most recall being expressed was why would a tourist in Paris want to eat anything but French food. I suppose it depends on many times you've been to Paris and how often you return as well as your interest in that particular foreign food. The best answer to your question might come from a native, or at least someone living in Paris. Loufood is there now. As I recall, she's studying French cooking and she recently said her uncle had a chop suey joint in Chicago. That would suggest she had some qualification in the area. Maybe we'll hear from her.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Ed Schoenfeld recently asked about recommendable Chinese restaurants in Paris over in the Chinese cooking board. If any of our Paris visitors or residents have some good information on the subject, they may want to post it in that thread.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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.....On the whole however, the sentiment I most recall being expressed was why would a tourist in Paris want to eat anything but French food. I suppose it depends on many times you've been to Paris and how often you return as well as your interest in that particular foreign food. The best answer to your question might come from a native, or at least someone living in Paris. Loufood is there now. As I recall, she's studying French cooking and she recently said her uncle had a chop suey joint in Chicago. That would suggest she had some qualification in the area. Maybe we'll hear from her.

Our centric world view tends to focus on us being tourists in Paris, while not realising why the same should not hold true for NYC ?? Just because most of the folks who started this site are NYC centric ?? :smile::smile:

Chinese in Paris, according to distracted and fussy faculty of a particular University ,we know and with whom many similar places we frequent; Chinese takes a back-seat to Vietnamese, has done so and continues to do so, since early '50s. You'll find many chinese restaurants in 6,7,8&5 to have dishes that are from Vietnam,Thailand & Laos. This OfCourse is a very personal and narrow understanding of the dining scene.

anil

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Our centric world view tends to focus on us being tourists in Paris, while not realising why the same should not hold true for NYC ?? Just because most of the folks who started this site are NYC centric ??  :smile:  :smile:

Now we're getting into an area that's less relevant here and probably should be discussed elsewhere, but here goes, :biggrin:

NYC is not Paris and vice versa. French food is celebrated the world over and Paris is the captial of French food in many people's minds. NYC is celebrated for it's many residents of different ethnicities and for it's diverseness particularly in restaurant fare. Traditionally, Parisians have not asked their spouses, SO's and dates if they'ed like to eat Chinese food, Italian food, or deli tonight. Most of the restaurants in Paris have been French restaurants. The best ones have almost always been French restaurants. The best restaurants and the most interesting restaurants in NYC have not been American restaurants for a great stretch of time. Today, American restaurants make a better showing in NYC than they ever have in my lifetime, but what proportion of your interesting meals out are in American restaurants? It's not that I'm a tourist in France and a resident in NYC. When I meet and entertain Frenchmen or other Europeans visiting NYC, I almost always want to take them to a Chinese restaurant. When I've met residents of Paris, I don't recall any of them suggesting we go to a Chinese restaurant.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Although not specifically Chinese food, Foc Lys in Neuilly is certainly upmarket Asian food.

I think it's more Vietnamese but there's a large variety of dishes which I cannot put into one local.

The restaurant is on Blvd. Grande Army / Ave.Gen. De Gaulle or whatever it's called after L'etoile. It's on the other side of the peripherique near the headquarters of the Herald Tribune.

The customers are mostly French. The restaurant is very bright, clean, and very stylish. I've eaten there about a dozen times and the food was always excellent and service impeccable.

BlackDuff

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Loufood is there now. As I recall, she's studying French cooking and she recently said her uncle had a chop suey joint in Chicago. That would suggest she had some qualification in the area. Maybe we'll hear from her.

Have not yet found a truly Chinese restaurant - much less a really good one - here in Paris. And yes, I'm looking - desperately - along with a few other Chinese-, Malaysian- and Singaporean-Chinese Cordon Bleu friends. Tried a few in the Chinatown in the 13th - which interestingly to me is called "Chinatown" and not "La Ville de Chine" or something like that in French. The Chinese-Parisians I've met tell me there aren't any good Chinese restaurants here but I just can't accept that. Will check out the Belleville Chinatown soon too.

And Bux, you're right that the neighborhood traiteurs are not bad at all - and they're a fascinating breed to me in that they're so different from their American cousins/the chop suey joints where I grew up. For those unfamiliar with them, all the food's premade - fresh throughout the day - displayed on platters in a refrigerated case. You cannot order anything made to order. It's sold by weight - or that French favourite by "menu"/set meals. Pick what you want and how much of it and it's reheated by microwave - which just kills the fried items. And no such thing as a takeout box but a plastic tray heat-film-sealed instead. And the food's pan-Asian - like most of the restaurants - with nems, samosas and lacquered duck, etc. - portions small, overly sweet but served in extremely clean settings - exceptionally clean.

I'll keep you posted on my Chinese restaurant quest.

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  • 11 months later...

I'll be in Paris for six days around the New Year's holiday. I was hoping to get suggestions for one great french meal (perhaps up to 60 euros pp) as well as a variety of other affordable options. I'd love some traditional french fare as well as ideas for good ethnic eats - asian, north african, mediterrain etc. We'll be staying in the 8e, but are happy to travel for great eats. We're young and rather casual, but the focus is on the food, not the ambiance. Merci!

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I think you can do very well at Aux Lyonnais in the 2nd arr. near the Bourse for under 60 euros. It's good Lyonnais food. Hearty, but very well prepared. Alain Ducasse is part owner of the restaurant.

Chez Michel is an excellent little place in the 10th near the 9th and near the gare du Nord. You should be able to eat there for much less and eat well.

Paris is relatively easy to get around and I wouldn't limit myself to the right bank when looking for restaurants.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The Marais has a plethora of Middle Eastern restaurants. If you go to the corner of rue de Vielle du Temple and turn right onto rue des Rosiers, you will encounter one after another. A traditional Moroccan on the right, with food served in a Tajine; on the left, one of the best middle easterns, Chez Marianne, with a "buffet" where you point to the dish and they pile it on a plate for you-- you select 4, 5, or 6 choices! (Very reasonably priced)

Also, for a snack, you can get a "Schwarma" that is huge, something like a gyro, but much better, at many little stands in the area.

Also Jo Goldenberg, with NY-style hot pastrami, corned beef, and matzo-ball soup is on the rue des Rosiers.

Take the métro to Hotel-de-Ville or St. Paul, and it is about a 3 block walk. (Don't miss the Louvre metro station on this route-- it is full of museum-quality sculptures and artwork-- unbelieveable to see that in a subway!!)

Edited by menton1 (log)
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  • 10 months later...

and i'm not even looking for great...just something that is more authentic than tepid duck dishes that are more french than anything ...with a cheese course on the menu....

i have been fortunate (as has everyone who lives here) to have found great and real vietnamese food...from all different regions; but i miss true chinese food. this is no slag on paris...i haven't found good chinese anywhere in continental europe. but if anyone knows of some tiny place,

i would be greatful. (and a loyal customer)

thanks.

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Except for Tang and Chen, both rated one star, and heavily reliant on French cooking techniques and produce, I would say no as well...But Tong Yen is very tasty...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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What about la Mer de Chine, in the 13th? Havn't been there for years, but I remember eating some great stuff (and a bit weird, too, like the duck tongues :blink: ).

"Mais moi non plus, j'ai pas faim! En v'là, une excuse!..."

(Jean-Pierre Marielle)

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Some Chinese restaurants in Paris are quite decent, though as a rule not to the level of some Cantonese places in London. By all means stick to the Paris "Chinatowns", i.e. the XIIIth in a triangle between rue Nationale, the Boulevards extérieurs and avenue d'Italie, and the Asian part of Belleville. As is often the case with Asian restaurants, looks can be misleading.

Go for the cheap and medium-priced places preferrably. Avoid expensive places in the XVIe or VIIe. However, Mandarin Elysées on rue de Berri is pretty good, a Chinese friend of mine even organized his wedding dinner there a few years ago and it was delicious.

In the XIIIth (which is THE place anyway for Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian food), there is a few good Cantonese places. Li Ka Fo on the lower part of avenue de Choisy is one of my favorites, with most of the interesting items not on the menu but taped to the walls in Chinese. Go with someone Chinese if you can. Nouveau Village Tao Tao on boulevard Vincent-Auriol is also nice and has a good choice of dishes. Some fried dim sum like the shrimp toast are delicious. Tricotin on avenue de Choisy (still lower South than Li Ka Fo) looks like a low-grade eating factory but the food is actually quite good (and the place is always full). Some friends of mine hold Sinorama and Chinatown Olympiades highly, but I have a less complete experience of those restaurants.

I am less familiar with the Belleville restaurants but everyone I know is very enthusiastic about the Nioulaville (sorry, I don't have the address).

All those places are good. But it's true that, generallly speaking, Paris is better at Southeast Asian restaurants than Chinese.

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What about la Mer de Chine, in the 13th? Havn't been there for years, but I remember eating some great stuff (and a bit weird, too, like the duck tongues :blink: ).

Could it be the one on avenue de Choisy, at the corner of a street that leads to the avenue d'Ivry, last street before the Porte de Choisy? If so, I wanted to add it to my list but I didn't remember the name. It is really good indeed.

I'm sure there are some more good Chinese restaurants in the Belleville-XIIIe maze of streets, big food markets and small, unenticing shop fronts. These areas do need a lot of individual exploring, word-of-mouth, entering restaurants at random, etc. I must say it is less frequent to find bad food than good food there. But this is especially true for Vietnamese and Laotian restaurants.

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I don't know what all the fuss about "Mer de Chine" is... I've eaten there, found it ok, but not worth Steingarten's glowing review, certainly...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Ptipois...thank you very much for such a good assortment of suggestions...

i'll be trying them, and enjoying it. ...and by the way, if you happen to know of a good chiu chow

place in london...i would love that...

cheers,

tanya

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Ptipois...thank you very much for such a good assortment of suggestions...

i'll be trying them, and enjoying it.  ...and by the way, if you happen to know of a good chiu chow

place in london...i would love that...

cheers,

tanya

Tanya,

I had great Cantonese food in London but that was a long time ago and I forgot where it was (in Chinatown, of course, but where?).

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Well, nothing here really reflects the real Chinese food. And especially I just came back from a vacation in Hong Kong. This just reminded me of the diversity of food vs the standardized boring menus you found in all Chinese restaurants here. I bought myself some Chinese cook books from the trip though.

Ok, if I am missing Chinese food terribly, I will probably go to one of these places:

-Restaurant Asiapalace (Olympiades, 13e) + the other big one in the shopping mall is alrighty

-Mirama (17, rue Saint Jacques, 5e)

-Restaurant XO (192 Ave Victor Hugo, 16e), a bit pricely, cooking a bit more delicate than usual place (I read in a Hong Kong magazine that it is the same people behind La Mer de Chine who are behind this one)

I heard La Mer de Chine is serving authentic Cantonese food, I never tried it yet. (159, rue Château des Rentiers. 13e, 01 45 84 22 49)

There is a small, nice Taiwanese home cooking style restaurant in 14e, 77 rue Didot, called Dofa. (01 45 40 52 50) It serves simple food like noodles with preserved meat, preserved egg, and some type of seaweed. Quite different from the usual stuff you usually see. Since the restaurant is small and it can be easily filled up with some Taiwanese, maybe it is better try to call before going.

I hope you found these tips useful.

Edited by naf (log)
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Hello naf !

(To other e-gulleters: naf is the kind person who introduced me to this place, so I'm bowing to her!)

I also like Mirama. I think their duck is tops.

Someday we should go to Li Ka Fo together, if you've never been there yet, I'm curious to know your opinion of it. I was introduced to it by a friend from Fujian who likes it a lot.

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And for Thai,, in Belleville...Krung Thiep

Edited by fresh_a (log)

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Could it be the one on avenue de Choisy, at the corner of a street that leads to the avenue d'Ivry, last street before the Porte de Choisy? If so, I wanted to add it to my list but I didn't remember the name. It is really good indeed.

Nope! I've heard about that one too, but never found the name of the place... :sad: But I've tried another one, rue Philibert Lucot, not far away, called la Tonkinoise. The had these quite strange snails (is that what they called them?) I really, really loved.

"Mais moi non plus, j'ai pas faim! En v'là, une excuse!..."

(Jean-Pierre Marielle)

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      I strongly recommend NOT buying Sichuan peppercorns in supermarkets outside China. They lose their scent, flavour and numbing quality very rapidly. There are much better examples available on sale online. I have heard good things about The Mala Market in the USA, for example.

      I buy mine in small 30 gram / 1oz bags from a high turnover vendor. And that might last me a week. It’s better for me to restock regularly than to use stale peppercorns.

      Both red and green peppercorns are used in the preparation of flavouring oils, often labelled in English as 'Prickly Ash Oil'. 花椒油 (huā jiāo yóu) or 藤椒油 (téng jiāo yóu).
       

       
      The tree's leaves are also used in some dishes in Sichuan, but I've never seen them out of the provinces where they grow.
       
      A note on my use of ‘Sichuan’ rather than ‘Szechuan’.
       
      If you ever find yourself in Sichuan, don’t refer to the place as ‘Szechuan’. No one will have any idea what you mean!

      ‘Szechuan’ is the almost prehistoric transliteration of 四川, using the long discredited Wade-Giles romanization system. Thomas Wade was a British diplomat who spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. After retiring as a diplomat, he was elected to the post of professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, becoming the first to hold that post. He had, however, no training in theoretical linguistics. Herbert Giles was his replacement. He (also a diplomat rather than an academic) completed a romanization system begun by Wade. This became popular in the late 19th century, mainly, I suggest, because there was no other!

      Unfortunately, both seem to have been a little hard of hearing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked why the Chinese changed the name of their capital from Peking to Beijing. In fact, the name didn’t change at all. It had always been pronounced with /b/ rather than /p/ and /ʤ/ rather than /k/. The only thing which changed was the writing system.

      In 1958, China adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization, not to help dumb foreigners like me, but to help lower China’s historically high illiteracy rate. It worked very well indeed, Today, it is used in primary schools and in some shop or road signs etc., although street signs seldom, if ever, include the necessary tone markers without which it isn't very helpful.
       

      A local shopping mall. The correct pinyin (with tone markers) is 'dōng dū bǎi huò'.
       
      But pinyin's main use today is as the most popular input system for writing Chinese characters on computers and cell-phones. I use it in this way every day, as do most people. It is simpler and more accurate than older romanizations. I learned it in one afternoon.  I doubt anyone could have done that with Wade-Giles.
       
      Pinyin has been recognised for over 30 years as the official romanization by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations and, believe it or not, The United States of America, along with many others. Despite this recognition, old romanizations linger on, especially in America. Very few people in China know any other than pinyin. 四川 is  'sì chuān' in pinyin.
    • By liuzhou
      An eG member recently asked me by private message about mushrooms in China, so I thought I'd share some information here.

      This is what available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. I'll update as the year goes by.
       
      FRESH FUNGI
       
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
       

       
      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.
       

       
      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.
       

       
      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
       
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.
       

       
      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū, Infundibulicybe gibba. These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
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