Barrio Chino boasts a score of Chinese restaurants, many with waitstaff in traditional costumes. Most are concentrated along Calle Cuchillo and offer both indoor and patio dining. However, this isn’t Hong Kong or San Francisco, so temper your expectations.
Restaurante Tien-Tan (Cuchillo #17, tel. 07/861-5478, taoqi [at] net [dot] cu, daily 11 a.m.–midnight) is the best of a dozen options on Cuchillo. Chef Tao Qi hails from Shanghai. The extensive menu includes such tantalizing offerings as sweet-and-sour fried fish balls with vinegar and soy, and pot-stewed liver with seasoning. The budget-minded will find many dishes for around CUC2; but dishes run to CUC18 (medium and large portions are offered). Wash everything down with a chilled Xing Tao. A 20 percent service fee is charged.
One of the best bargains in town is Flor de Loto (Salud #313, e/ Gervasio y Escobar, tel. 07/860-8501, daily noon–midnight). Though the staff dress in Chinese robes, about the only Asian item on the menu is maripositas (fried wontons). However, the criollo fare, such as spicy shrimp (CUC6.50) and grilled lobster (CUC7.50), is tasty and filling.
Casa Abuelo Lung Kong Cun Sol (Dragones #364, e/ Manrique y San Nicolás, tel. 07/862-5388, daily noon–midnight) has a restaurant upstairs serving classics such as maripositas chinas (fried wontons) and chop suey (CUC0.40–2.70). This is the real McCoy: Chinese staff, Chinese ambience, and Chinese patrons.
Likewise, Sociedad Chang Weng Chung Tong (San Nicolás #517, e/ Zanja y Dragones, tel. 07/862-1490, Mon.–Fri. 6 p.m.–midnight, Sat.–Sun. 12:30–5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.–midnight) has an all-you-can-eat buffet (CUC12).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition