I was very surprised when I heard that we were invited by my Chinese family for Valentine’s Day. Actually it was also the occasion to celebrate the Lantern’s Festival that took place last week in Asia, so we headed to a place called Panda. I knew this restaurant because I used to live not too far from its location but I never pushed the door because of its looks. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” has never so true. Hidden behind a weird look, I found authentic Chinese cuisine. If you are looking for a culinary experience before going to China, Panda would be a good place to start.
The restaurant has a green façade and lots of leds which gives it a cheap look but don’t be fooled Second advice, ask for the Chinese Menu instead of the European one (written in English). Why ask for a menu written in Chinese? Because the two menus are different! The one in English is for European people and the one in Chinese hides many treasures. You just need to get the waitress to translate, might take time but it was worth it ! Check this…
At first we had dumplings (didn’t take pictures from these) and then we received lots of dishes starting with a jelly fish salad. Then we discovered a sort of fish, no idea what kind of fish though, and it was really cool looking. Seems like its meat was fried and topped with sweet and sour sauce.
In this small bowl is a special dish that my boyfriend ordered, it is one of his favourite’s : Greasy meat. Basically it’s pork with lots of fat which makes it very soft. Following this was a dish ordered by my boyfriend’s aunt, it’s fried tofu also called Stinky Tofu because it doesn’t smell good. If you order this, try it with plum vinegar, it goes much better with vinegar than with the red sauce.
Coming next, sort of Chinese version of spareribs, it was sugary and delicious! And then there was the weirdest things so far : pig’s ear, tongue and nose…It is served called and it’s actually very tasty with the dark sauce.
Sorry for the blur ... These are veggies, mostly eggplants in a five spices sauce I’d say, it was soooo yummy. And this is probably the champion in the weird category : Chicken cooked in mud…Yep like beggars cooked it. When this dish arrived at the table it was totally covered in foil and the lady started to hammer it…Once she took off the foil paper we saw the mud crack and uncover bamboo leaves Within was the chicken. It’s delicious, very spicy and juicy. This is probably the best chicken I have tasted!! In the back of the picture you can see a bowl with pig trotter, not my favourite as it is mainly fat…but crunchy.
This is a lamb shank…Enormous...Then yes there is more like crabs and lobsters. Glazed duck, the usual and delicious crunchy duck followed.
There was a dessert but I couldn’t eat more after so many different dishes!! I could only eat one red bean filled rice ball.
So what do you think of all this? I must say this is one of the best Chinese restaurants that I have been to because it’s the most authentic. I saw also a big difference between what we ate and what our neighbours got, definitely two menus (European and Chinese). Try it if you go to Brussels!
Address: Chaussée de Wavre 1543, 1160 Auderghem
Price: I would say €€ - €€€. It depends what you order, some dishes are more expensive than others and some need to be ordered in advance (lamb shank or chicken cooked in mud). One thing is certain...You won't be hungry there!
Rating: Don't look too much at the restaurant's decoration, go there to eat real Chinese food...Authentic and delicious.