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China Restaurant Pavillon

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China Restaurant Pavillon

Augustaanlage 59 68165 Mannheim                              CLOSED

Small matching plates and steamer baskets of hot, delectable delights arrive one after another – radish cakes, rice noodles rolls, delicate dumplings, and fluffy steamed buns.  Fiery chili sauce comes on a saucer.  Hot Chinese tea is delivered in a tiny pot and accompanied by a cute teacup and sugar bowl.  Soon, the once bare table is brimming with mouth-watering excitement.  It’s the experience at China Restaurant Pavillon – one of the few Chinese restaurants in the area offering dim sum on the menu.

China Restaurant Jasmin Tee_SM

Dim sum is a specialty of Chinese cuisine (a Cantonese invention).  Usually eaten during the midday hours as a light snack, it consists of a collection of small dishes intended to be shared amongst family and friends.  Each plate typically includes about three or four small servings; thus, a variety of dishes is generally ordered.  Tea is an integral part of this meal and aids in digestion.  Dim sum is about eating, sharing, and enjoying the company of others.  It’s more than just a meal, it’s an experience.  In frequently visited Chinese restaurants, attendees roll carts carrying hot plates of dim sum and diners pick and choose dishes from the wagons as they pass along.  At other places, dim sum is ordered off a menu and cooked to order.

At China Restaurant Pavillon (German for pavilion) in Mannheim, and basically in all of Germany, the latter approach is taken.  Unfortunately, as there isn’t a large Chinese presence here, dim sum isn’t as popular as it is in the United States or in Asian countries.  Chinatowns are also nonexistent.

 

 

However, China Restaurant Pavillon does an excellent job in capturing the essence of Chinese architecture and décor.  The restaurant’s exterior is something one would typically find in a Chinatown – the arches and lanterns are classic examples.  Inside, the bar area is again decorated with the fine-looking pavilion arches.  Greeting guests upon entrance is a colorful panel impressively depicting beautiful scenery.  Blue is prominently used throughout the dining room, from the light blue colored carpets, to the cushioned armless chairs, the elegant candles, the tiled ceiling panels, and the fine tablecloth covers.  Reaffirming the idea of a relaxing pavilion, the blue color scheme exudes a feeling of calmness, relaxation, and revitalization.

Written in Romanized Chinese, Chinese, and with German descriptions, the dim sum menu here is on a separate laminated folio inside the core menu booklet.  There is an impressive array of dim sum dishes to be had, including dumplings filled with shrimp or pork, both savory and sweet steamed buns, rice noodle rolls containing various fillings, and baked sesame balls for dessert.  Chicken feet – a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world – can also be ordered.  Each dim sum plate averages around 3 to 4 euros, which is grossly overpriced.

The luó bo gāo (radish cakes) are unexpectedly pan-fried crisp.  Although the resulting crunchy outer layer provides a nice texture, the interior is overly gummy and soft, like a paste.  Missing from the radish mixture are the additional ingredients normally found elsewhere, chopped up pieces of dried shrimp in particular.  These radish cakes taste more like hash browns than good Chinese radish cakes.

 

The Cha Shao Hua Cheong Fun (rice noodle rolls with BBQ pork) are too greasy and poorly constructed.  Typically, the rolls would be swimming in sweetened soy sauce; here, they are soaking in oil.  The BBQ pork is also disappointing.  The complex, intense flavor of Chinese barbequed pork is absent in the pieces of meat.  Only hints of it are present.  Adding to the mess are the overcooked rice noodles themselves.  The result is a gooey clutter of rice sheets and bite sized pork pieces in a scant amount of soy sauce that will have you yearning for better days.

 

Fortunately, the items served in bamboo steamer baskets are vast improvements and are well executed.  Shao Mai – a Chinese dumpling with ground pork, shrimp, and mushrooms – is moist and flavorful.

 

The 2 buns – Cha Shao Bau and Nai Huang Bao – are fluffy and irresistible.  The buns themselves are delicately soft and a pleasure to eat alone.  Cha Shao Bau has the BBQ pork filling, which is a lot better than the pork inside the noodle rolls.  It makes you wonder if the same pork is used is both dishes.  This filling is very tasty.  The Nai Huang Bao is filled with sweet yellow custard (made from egg and dried milk) and is a fantastic finish to a dim sum meal.

The standard menu here is well-conceived.  Boasting over a hundred different items, China Restaurant Pavillon has a menu that offers many house specialties, from roasted duck to hot pots.  Multi-course items can be ordered for entire families or groups of two.  The weekday lunch menu is a good value, as is the daily lunch buffet.  The list of drinks is fairly impressive, with many teas, wines, and alcoholic beverages.  Unexpected is the large number of wines from around Europe, from Spain, France, and Germany.

 

Waitresses are soft-spoken, but very accommodating.  The service is smooth and prompt.

Despite the mixed bag of flavors and the dim sum’s steep prices, China Restaurant Pavillon deserves credit for even putting dim sum on the menu.  In this Rhein-Neckar region, you will be hard pressed merely finding a Chinese restaurant serving up these unique dishes.  With its exquisite and elegant dining room, hospitable service, and large selection of menu items, China Restaurant Pavillon merits a visit from anyone yearning for a venture into traditional Chinese cuisine.

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Summary:

Located in Mannheim’s business district, not far from the Planetarium, China Restaurant Pavillon is a classic Chinese restaurant featuring a plethora of traditional Chinese dishes, including dim sum.  The weekday lunch buffet, as well as the special lunch menu, is good value.  Overall prices (aside from the dim sum) are reasonable.  Outdoor seating available during those beautiful, sunny days.

Hours: Weekdays: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM and 5:30 – 11:30 PM
            Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: 11:30 AM – 11:30 PM

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Luó Bo Gāo – 2.5/5
  • Cha Shao Hua Cheong Fun – 3/5
  • Shao Mai – 4/5
  • Cha Shao Bao – 4.5/5
  • Nai Huang Bao – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.chinapavillon.net/

Written by geschmack

June 5th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Asia Bistro

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Kurfürsten Anlage 62 69115 Heidelberg

Tasty, delicious, and inexpensive.  Typical descriptions of Chinese food.  Of course, this concept also carries over to Chinese restaurants in European countries.  Although the types of entrées listed on Chinese menus in Europe may differ from those found in America, the same adjectives apply to the food here.  Mouthwatering, delectable, and easy on the pocket.

In the traditional sense of the term, Asia Bistro is far from a true bistro.  The mixed offering of Asian dishes lacks focus.  That is, you won’t find any truly traditional Chinese or Thai entrées on the menu, but rather generic Asian dishes that cater to Europeans tastes.  This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but the term ‘bistro’ is misleading to those true culinary enthusiasts.  After all, this restaurant is merely a fast food joint.

 

Visit Asia Bistro on a weekday during lunch and you will be flabbergasted at how packed the place can get.  Almost every table is occupied with hungry businessmen, eager travelers waiting for their train, and starving students, all chowing down on the food set forth on their plate.  What is attracting this horde of ravenous guests?  The 7 € lunch buffet!

Unfortunately, the buffet selection at Asia Bistro is very limited.  Aside from the standard starches – white rice, chow mein, and fried rice – there are only about 6 main items to try: fried chicken breast, beef broccoli, deep fried pieces of fish, Thai chicken curry, stir-fried vegetables, and chicken stir-fry.  There is also Peking soup and mini fried spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce.  Fried banana balls drizzled with honey and sprinkled with coconut are the only dessert items included in the buffet.  Where is the fresh fruit?

 

The fried rice is tremendously hard – a victim of sitting too long in the buffet tray too long.  The chow mein is decent, as well as the white rice.  The fried banana balls are sweet and are complemented well by the addition of honey.  The tiny shreds of coconut are only an afterthought and merely provide a textural extra.  Overall, the food is good and tasty.  Aside from the pieces of fried chicken breasts, which are juicy and crisp, however, there is nothing overly extraordinary or noteworthy about the food.

Ultimately, Asia Bistro is a decent fast food Asian restaurant conveniently located steps away the main train station.  The food isn’t mind-blowing, but will fill you up.

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Summary:

Opposite the Heidelberg main train station, this Asian fast food eatery offers a huge selection of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes at extremely low prices.  Drinks are also relatively inexpensive.  Lunch Buffet: Weekdays from 12 PM to 2 PM.

Hours: Daily 11 AM – 10 PM

 

Overall – 3 stars

  • Lunch Buffet – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://asia-heidelberg.de/

Written by geschmack

February 5th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Heidelberg

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New Shanghai China Restaurant

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New Shanghai China Restaurant 

Rohrbacher Str. 8 69115 Heidelberg

Finding your way around town, you would be hard pressed to find any buffets in Heidelberg.  It seems like Germany just isn’t the place for all you can eats.  But fortunately, there is such a type of eatery near the Altstadt, right near the Bismarckplatz, where you can grab your plates, get set, and go bonkers at the buffet tables!

I stopped by this Chinese restaurant during their lunch buffet hours (Monday to Saturday from 12:00 to 2:30 PM).  They have a sign outside the restaurant entrance, advertising their grand all-you-can-eat special for only 6,90 EUR.  They also have a dinner buffet for 13,90 EUR.  Not expensive at all!  Once you go pass the sign, you have to climb up a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant (it’s on the second floor, overlooking the street).  They probably have an elevator somewhere, but I didn’t notice it.

Once inside, you see quite a few Chinese figurines and objects.  The décor is quite nice.  I was immediately seated and was promptly asked if I wanted a menu or the buffet.  No need for a menu when you have so many items in front of you!  So I went straight to the buffet, eager to see what they have to offer.

 

The first thing I noticed was the amount of deep fried foods.  If you are watching your diet or cholesterol level, stay away from the far end of the buffet line.  They have deep fried vegetables in tempura batter, deep fried pork balls, fish filets that have been deep fried, and crispy chicken slices that have been obviously cooked in oil.  For something sweet, they also have fried banana balls.  Artery clogging time!  But honestly, these banana balls are really sweet and full of joy.  The vegetables and fish were quite tasty, but also simple.

 

Being a Chinese restaurant, they also have white rice, curry rice, and chow mein.  These items are pretty standard fare, nothing too spectacular.  The one dish I really liked was the stir-fried fish fillets in vegetables.  The fish was so delicate and the vegetables extremely tender.  There were also other stir-fried items, such as beef and peppers, chicken in bamboo shoots, and, for vegetarians, a mixture of vegetables.  The beef dish was rather interesting because they used peppers I have never seen before.  It was a bit salty for my tastes.  For something expensive, they also have two trays with duck dishes.  Unfortunately, I don’t eat duck (personal reasons), so I can’t rate these items.  At the end of the meal, if you still have room for dessert, they offer various fruits and bowls of jello.

  

Should you wish to try traditional Chinese cuisine, you could also order off of a special lunch menu.  They offer a few house specials on their menu.

After just a single visit to New Shanghai restaurant, you get a feeling as if it is just a backup place to go when you are totally starving or just want to eat away your problems.  It isn’t the most spectacular buffet place in town, but it also isn’t the worst.  Ultimately, the folks at New Shanghai make the eating experience quite pleasant and I wouldn’t mind stopping by every couple of months to just simply have a big meal.

 

Summary:

Decent Chinese food.  Inexpensive lunch buffet, though limited number of items.  Drinks are a tad expensive (2,40 EUR for a green tea).

Overall – 4 stars

  • Service 5/5

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Written by geschmack

September 18th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Heidelberg

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Mr. Whang Restaurant

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Mr Whang Restaurant 

Hauptstraße 136 69117 Heidelberg            [OUT OF BUSINESS]

If you are hungering for some Japanese or Korean food while in Heidelberg, and you’re near the Universitätsplatz, this is the right place for you! (Although the storefront says it is also a Chinese place, they don’t have many traditional offerings).  When you enter the restaurant, you are instantly met with elegant tables covered by white table cloths.  The waitresses are also friendly and nice.

I visited this place on a Sunday afternoon with my uncle and aunt and we were the only ones there.  We were immediately seated at a table next to the door, a great place to just sit and watch people pass by.  I ordered the green tea for my drink.  What can I say?  Green tea is green tea!

As far as food is concerned, my aunt ordered the Kim chi, which was pretty tasty!  It wasn’t too spicy or anything, maybe not exactly ancient traditional style, but quite good.  She also ordered the Sushi Gemischt-Maki (mixed sushi), which also comes with miso soup.  The mixed sushi comes in an elegant wooden platter that makes the dining experience so much better.  It makes you feel really special!  There is a large assortment of sushi on the wooden boat, with tuna, cucumbers, salmon, and traditional styles.  I didn’t sample the sushi, but it looked really attractive.

Mixed Sushi Platter_M

My uncle and I ordered the Bulgogi.  He ordered the pork (Schwein) and I got the beef (Rind).  This restaurant uses portable burners, the kind that requires a tray to cook the meats on.  The waitress brought the raw meats to our table, where she grilled them right in front of us.  Unfortunately, the pork comes with a lot of fat (think bacon), which my uncle just could not eat.  Each order comes with a very small bowl of rice.  It totally wasn’t enough for me!  Also, they only give a few pieces of vegetables – some onions, a few bell peppers, and mushrooms.  Really made me sad.  What’s more is that they didn’t sever Banchan with the meal!  I was eagerly anticipating a variety of small plates to come out with noodles, potatoes, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and other sweet goodness (like they have in Los Angeles).  But the waitress said you have to order it extra!

  

The pork was extremely tasty.  I was gobbling it down with the rice until my entire bowl my completely spotless.   I bet they barely had to wash my bowls and plates because it was so good.  The pork fat really makes everything so delicious.  As far as the beef is concerned, it really wasn’t the best.  The marinade didn’t penetrate the meat well (maybe they just did it today?).  I definitely preferred the pork.  The rice was also a bit sticky and yummy.

At the end, I was completely full.  The price, however, was a tad on the expensive side.  Each Bulgogi costs 14,50 EUR, while the sushi mix costs 22,10 EUR.  The Kim chi also was 3,60 EUR for each bowl.  Would I come back?  Sure, but only for a special occasion.

 

Summary:

Great Korean and Japanese food.  A bit expensive.  Dogs allowed inside.  Bathrooms are inside, upstairs.  No outdoor seating.

Overall – 4 Stars

  • Kimchi – 4/5
  • Bulgogi Pork – 4.5/5
  • Bulgogi Beef – 3/5
  • Service – 4/5

 

http://www.misterwhang.com/en/

Written by geschmack

September 13th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

China Restaurant Lucky Garden

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China Restaurant Lucky Garden Hilden

Mühlenhof 1-3 40721 Hilden

This pleasant Chinese restaurant not only features a takeout menu, but also an all you can eat buffet.  I ate at this restaurant with my uncle, my aunt, and the family of a close friend.  Even though we arrived at around 7:30 PM on a Saturday, there were only two other tables occupied with patrons.

As far as drinks are concerned, I initially got a glass of Still Wasser (water without carbonation).  The father of the family (it was his birthday) later gave me a ‘Radler’, which is a mix of Krombacher Pils beer with Sprite.  It tastes really good because the Sprite adds some lemony flavor and sweetness.  At the end of the meal, we were served plum wine, which was quite alcoholic but manageable.

  

The buffet here is sort of like any other Chinese buffet.  There were maybe a total of 15 main items you can choose from, not including the white rice, some soups, lettuce, tomatoes, and corn.  The first item I saw was ‘Nasi-Goreng,’ which is a curry rice dish with pieces of chicken and shrimp.  They also had a noodle dish, sort of like chow mien.  Of course, the buffet had wontons, fried items, such as fried shrimp, fish, chicken, and fries, and many vegetable dishes, including string beans and mushrooms.  This place also has some chicken curry items, dishes featuring duck, and chicken skewers in peanut sauce.  Some items are traditional Chinese, some items are not.

  

As for dessert, you can get ice cream in three flavors – chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.  They have lychee as well.  Fortune cookies are also available for taking.

Overall, this is a great place to stuff yourself.  The food is quite delicious.  I personally liked the chicken dishes because the chicken was tasty and tender.  Even though I am not a big eater of curry items, the chicken curry was rather tasty.

 

Summary:

Great buffet food.  Dogs welcome inside.  Parking next to apartment buildings (we parked there, even though the sign was not exactly clear about parking there).

Overall – 4 stars

  • Service 5/5

 

29. August 2009

Written by geschmack

August 29th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Hilden

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China Restaurant Dschunke

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China Restaurant Dschunke

Charlottenstr. 59 40210 Düsseldorf

Located near the Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, this place has a great ambiance.  After passing through the double doors, you immediately sense that you’re in for a Chinese experience with all of the elegant statues and dining furniture.

I stopped by this Chinese restaurant for lunch after coming back from the Hauptbahnhof and the AquaZoo on the 27th of August with my aunt.

 

As a long time lover of dim sum, I was really looking forward to trying it here in Germany.  To my surprise the restaurant menu features many well known types of dim sum, from siu mai to sao pao to choung fun.  However, they don’t have the push carts commonly found in LA dim sum joints.  Instead, you have to order them from the menu and they aren’t cheap at all (don’t worry, the menu is in English too!).  Many dim sum items cost around 3 € with the same portion sizes back home.  We ordered the siu mai (pork steamed dumplings), har gau (shrimp dumpling), shrimp cheong fun (noodle roll), and cha shu cheong fun (BBQ pork noodle roll).

 

I also ordered the chicken chow fun (thick noodles with gravy) and my aunt ordered the Chinese green vegetables with oyster sauce.   The shu mai was just decent (I’ve had better) and the shrimp dumpling was just a tad better.  The shrimp cheong fun was simply okay, nothing to get excited about.  The BBQ pork cheong fun was really good, almost like the ones I love.  The sauce they use, however, was too thick for my liking.  Had they used the kind as in LA, it would be excellent.

 

The Chinese green vegetables were pretty standard fair.  The chicken chow fun had a different type of vegetable than what I was used to.  Overall, though, it was better than average.  I just couldn’t eat a lot of it because I was already full eating all of the dim sum.

Cost was around 39 € including 2 green teas and a bitter lemon soda for my aunt.

Summary:

Great, elegant seating.  No outdoor seating available.  Bathrooom is located downstairs, fairly clean but somewhat dark.  Service was just okay (another table complained about the long wait, even though it was for lunch and there were only two tables taken – one waiter).

Overall – 3 ½ stars

  • Shu Mai: 2.5/5
  • Hargow: 3/5
  • Shrimp Cheong Fun: 3/5
  • BBQ pork Cheong Fun: 4/5
  • Chicken Chow Fun: 3.5/5
  • Service: 4/5

 

27. August 2009

Written by geschmack

August 27th, 2009 at 6:00 pm