The best Chinese restaurants in Paris

From delicate Cantonese cooking to fiery Sichuan delights

Tricia de courcy ling

Book ahead to celebrate the Year of the Horse in one of our best Chinese restaurants this Chinese New Year (January 31). Paris has two main areas for Asian eating: Belleville and Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement, where you can sample excellent Thai, Vietnamese and other South East Asian specialities.

Also check out our selection of Vietnamese restaurants in Paris – their Têt Nguyên Dán falls on the same day.

Belleville

Au Poivre du Szechuan

Sichuan chilli is a fiery, lemony spice used in west China, Japan and Tibet, which has happily found its way to a laid-back, lime-green restaurant in Belleville, with a menu that stands out from the area's jazz standards of bo buns and egg rolls. Among innumerable dishes, we loved the crunchy caramelised pork, lamb with cumin, beef hotpot with chilli oil and wu xiang pork. Less so the spiced chicken, which was all bones,a and the make-your-own wok option, which had an excellent bouillon base, but the strange water-lily roots and fish balls lacked flavour. A shame, as overall the cooking is light and subtly flavoured, if not cheap (€8-€15 a dish). Watch out for the chilli – you’ll be offered strong, medium or weak, and even the medium strength will blow your head off. Don’t be too brave and risk ruining your meal.

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Belleville

Wen Zhou

The second Chinatown in Paris is in Belleville where, as in the 13th arrondissement, it’s difficult to know where to get a good Chinese meal rather than. So note this one down in your smartphone: Wen Zhou, just before Les Folies on the Rue de Belleville.Nothing marks it out from its numerous neighbours: like them, it’s got a red sign with yellow and white lettering and bamboo calendars on the walls. But the menu lists what seem like thousands of dishes, each more enticing than the last, and at a price (€7-€9) that will also any cash-strapped gourmet to spend an afternoon sampling several.

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20th arrondissement

Ravioli Chinois Nord-Est

Steamed or grilled, with pork and courgette, with prawns, peppers, beef and celery, chicken, dry tofu, black mushrooms or white cabbage – it’s hard to choose between your ravioli dumplings. The cooking here isn’t sophisticated, but the restaurant serves simple, fresh ravioli for just a few euros – €4 for 10, €20 for 100. They come with good salads too – with rice, seaweed, potatoes, peanuts, spicy beef or octopus (€2.50), and soups are also on the menu.It’s busy and popular, manned by the charming Yu Ying and her husband, who are also happy to package up leftovers into doggy bags or arrange meals to take away. The dining area is traditionally simple, with a few tables under neon lights and walls hung with good luck charms.

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Belleville

Le Pacifique

The big blue ocean at Pacifique is actually an aquarium full of fish that feed the restaurant’s cooking pots. The old-fashioned décor is not without charm...

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Belleville

13th arrondissement

La Mer de Chine

Tucked away in an inconspicuous enclave of Paris's Chinese quarter, La Mer de Chine is an exception to the rule of heavy sauces and high salt content in many a 'Traiteur Asiatique': everything here is subtly flavoured, well executed and carefully thought out. The more adventurous could start with jellyfish salad, hundred-year-old egg doughnut or tripe; beginners stick to five-flavoured beef shank (€12.50), crispy lemon chicken (€12.80) or a soup like the petit potage with asparagus and crab (€6.50): simple, flavoursome and sesaring hot. To finish, some perfectly ripened mango.

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Chinatown

Délices de Shandong

If there’s no shortage of Chinese restaurants in Paris, those dedicated to specific regions are few and far between. But this canteen with its red Formica tables gives pride of place to the cooking of Shandong, a province south of Peking with a particularly rich gastronomic tradition. It’s hard to choose badly here, as long as you appreciate offal – Shandong’s cooks positively invented the ‘nose to tail’ concept.We started with peanuts and celery (€4), a fresh, crunchy dish typical of the region. Then, although perfectly tender, the five spice beef (€8) was far less exciting than the spiced chicken hearts, livers and gizzards. Jellyfish with garlic (€6.50) turned up on our table by accident, but slipped down nicely. Meltingly soft aubergines in a spicy sauce (€8) were worth a return visit alone. We left far too much of the menu unexplored, sadly, particularly the soups and seafood – more regional specialities.Simple and without pretence, the restaurant is very popular with Paris’s Chinese intellectuals. The owner, Mr Xua, comes from Shandong, and has been a cook for over 30 years – he chose this slightly eccentric location for its house number, 88, a lucky number back home.

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13th arrondissement

Li Ka Fo

If you’re lost and starving in Chinatown of a lunchtime, choosing from among the serried ranks of neon signs offering Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai or all three at the same time can feel like a minefield. No longer – head to Li Ka Fo.A few ducks hang in the window to attract the hordes, and there’s a warm welcome when you go inside and find your way to a table between Chinese families eating their way through gargantuan plates of food. It’s all very reassuring. The menu, with its dozens of dishes, begins with the more leftfield chef’s specials: pork intestines sautéed with cabbage, duck’s tongues with ginger, stew of pig’s feet and scallops. We were less adventurous, starting with lovely steamed pork buns, then crunchy sautéed noodles with caramelised pork and a thick sauce spiked with garlic, and caramelised pork with sweet and sour sauce and simple white rice. Everything was delicious, full of flavour but not too greasy and served in huge portions (what you don’t finish you can get packaged up to take away).

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Chinatown

Chez Van

With its grey paint and lime green plastic tablecloths, Chez Van is anything but ostentatious. Noodles thread their way through all the dishes: lamb stew, soup, pork entrails, sautéed prawns – altogether, thirteen different ways with ramen. There’s also a heavy emphasis on hotpots – with duck’s tongues, beef and mushrooms or spicy fish. Try a set menu (e.g. noodles, a small pancake and a selection of ravioli for €10) or a hotpot of spicy braised potatoes (€7.80). The ravioli, perfectly fried and succulent, mix pork and Chinese cabbage, beef and peppers, eggs and black mushrooms into delightful little mouthfuls. The noodles are served bathed in sesame sauce and garnished with soya shoots and cubes of pork, the hotpot of potatoes generously salted, mined with chunks of red chili.

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Other areas

L'Orient d'Or

For decades, Chinese restaurants in Paris have toned down their cuisine to suit delicate French palates, but lately this has been changing thanks to a handful of regional restaurants that make no compromises on ingredients. Probably none is as courageous in confronting the French fear of chili as L’Orient d’Or, run by a young chef from Hunan province. The birthplace of Chairman Mao, this revolutionary region is also home to one of the country’s boldest cuisines – even more so than Sichuan with its tongue-tingling peppercorns. Here the hot red chili is king, often appearing by the dozen in a dish. At L’Orient d’Or, the chili rating really means something: dishes with two chilis are not fooling around, and those with three chilis will blast your head off (in a good way, if you like that sort of thing). We started fairly conservatively with home made, juicy, deeply flavoured steamed prawn dumplings, the more original mushroom and pine nut dumplings, and ravioli filled with morsels of grilled chicken. Some of the more complex Hunan dishes must be ordered a day or more in advance, but we still had plenty to choose from: two of the best dishes we tried were the crisp-skinned duck to be rolled in thin pancakes with tender leek leaves and hoisin sauce, and the smoked pork sautéed with spring onions and handfuls of gleaming chilis. Most challenging were the green beans with minced pork, a three-chili dish only suitable for true chili enthusiasts, interspersed with mouthfuls of rice.

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9th arrondissement

La Taverne de Zhao

You risk burnt fingers and tongues trying to get into your hotpot too soon at La Taverne de Zhao, with its wonderful casseroles full of bouillon, large translucent soft noodles, beef, coriander, mushrooms, seaweed and tofu. Cool down with a pull of milky bubble tea with tapioca balls, and take a break to snack on pork buns.No roast duck here: the cooking is native to X’ian, the capital of the Shaanxi province, where traditional recipes prefer cooking in a pot, adorning with edible flowers and adding mysterious herbs. Chef Zhao offers many dishes you won’t have had a chance to taste before – not everything works, in particular a rather unappetising stewed chicken, but the soups, bubble teas, raviolis and meat buns are all very worth the visit.

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Canal Saint Martin

For dim sum

Mitsou

The deliciously vintage décor of Mitsou in the very chic 8th arrondissement is the perfect backdrop for a dim sum session, with its turquoise walls hung with photos of the owner’s mother (Mitsou). The menu covers fusion dishes, dim sum (prawn, pork or vegetable) and bo bun (everything from pork satay to citrus-marinated prawns). Then there’s delicious chicken kebabs, spring rolls and a daily special like a red chicken curry with aubergine, healthy and full of flavour. At midday, a seat can be hard to find – but it’s a perfect spot for the evening, with the staff as full of charm as the surroundings, and a great value tasting menu at €20 for a salad, nine dim sum and coconut rice with orange zest. A refined and friendly canteen whose menu covers both east and west.

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Champs Élysées and western Paris

Yoom

Neo-Cantonese restaurant Yoom serves only dim sum, but it’s more of a New York-style hangout than an echo of Hong Kong, with big wooden tables, artful lighting, exposed brick walls and colourful retro crockery. The staff aren’t from Hong Kong either, as the owners are two Frenchmen who set up the joint after travelling Asia. Despite all this, there’s a persistent rumour that Yoom serves ‘the best dim sum in Paris’. There’s certainly a large choice; beef and ginger, red curry, tamarind chicken with grilled peanuts or more classic prawns. And they all taste great – far from bland and interchangeable mouthfuls. The range of flavours is seductive, the marriage of meats and spices successful – just keep an eye on the bill, which at €5/6 for each pair of dim sum, mounts up quickly. You could also stick to the set lunch menu at €14.50, or the tasting menu which offers a dozen dim sum and rice with black mushrooms for €25. It’s hugely popular – do book ahead.

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Saint-Georges

Mum Dim Sum

To say that something is all the rage implies that it will have its moment in the sun and then disappear – which can’t be said of dim sum, whose popularity in Paris seems set to endure. Mum Dim Sum on the boulevard Courcelles, a chic and friendly canteen that takes its décor more from New York than Beijing, has been a popular choice for some time. Everything is home made and you really feel it, in the smells from the kitchen and the freshly-prepared dim sum and dishes like perfumed thai rice or soup that are as delicious as they are affordable. At midday they offer a good range of set menus, like the ‘Mum’ (€11.50) which includes three types of dim sum, two side dishes and a drink. Perfect for locals and office workers at lunch time, while for everyone else there’s a blue-and-white food truck doing the rounds of Paris. Call ahead or check their Facebook for its latest location.

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Batignolles

Taokan

Christophe Daine spent 7 years working in a luxury watchmaker’s in Hong Kong before he realised his dream of opening a super-chic venue for Asian cuisine in Paris. His learning shows ­– everything here runs like a Swiss watch, from the décor to the dishes and even the refined, relaxed clientele. The menu mixes Chinese and Vietnamese specialities with a scattering of Japanese influences. The dim sum are excellent, with their mouthfuls of different textures and flavours – prawns, scallops or chicken scented with herbs and spices in melting steamed packages. Spring rolls are crispy and satisfying. Of the mains, don’t miss out on the chef’s special loc la beef, from the selection of classic and more contemporary dishes. Prices match the quality of the cooking, with mains at around €25-€30 and a set menu for around €50.

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St Germain des Prés

For savoury buns

Fun Délices

Enter this cosy Chinese-Japanese joint on the Rue des Rosiers, take a seat at the surprisingly long bar, and cop an eyeful of the weird and wonderful machines that line the kitchen walls. These multi-coloured, oddly shaped cooking engines give some idea of the sort of exotic fast food that awaits you. Some dishes will be familiar to East Asian cuisine aficionados: nothing too strange about the bite-sized takoyaki (fried octopus donuts), for instance, which come with a dollop of mayonnaise in sets of six (€8). Some, less so: we weren’t too sure how to approach the oden (€5.50), portions of unidentifiable seafood and vegetables floating in a no less obscure broth.For the less adventurous, the charming chefs and their machines cook up a fine range of Chinese meat dishes – we were particularly fond of the beef dumplings (€7 for two) – and succulent desserts – try the Hong Kong waffle (€4) and the wonderfully odd bubble tea. The usual suspects (gyoza, rice balls, udon noodles) also make an appearance, as do hot dogs - a good example of occidental food that’s been assimilated into Far Eastern cuisine, and is now being presented as such back in the west. Yet none of this feels out of place in this eccentric little venue, which pulls off fusion cuisine with more charm (and at better prices) than most of its competitors.

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The Marais

Wen Zhou

The second Chinatown in Paris is in Belleville where, as in the 13th arrondissement, it’s difficult to know where to get a good Chinese meal rather than. So note this one down in your smartphone: Wen Zhou, just before Les Folies on the Rue de Belleville.Nothing marks it out from its numerous neighbours: like them, it’s got a red sign with yellow and white lettering and bamboo calendars on the walls. But the menu lists what seem like thousands of dishes, each more enticing than the last, and at a price (€7-€9) that will also any cash-strapped gourmet to spend an afternoon sampling several.

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20th arrondissement

Comments

1 comments
FoodChicken
FoodChicken

je vous recommande bien ce restaurant chinois qui fait des nouilles artisanales à Paris se situe dans le 2ème, il s'appelle [YiShun Restaurant ], l'adresse [1 rue cherubini,75002; métro : Pyramide, Quatre-Septembre], toutes les nouilles sont faites à la main, très fraiches, pas chère non plus. A midi, les plats à emporter -10% mtn, donc c'est vraiment agréable. Il ne faut pas le louper, on peut aussi trouver des entrées aux prix entre 4-6 euros, les soupes et les nouilles sautées sont de prix 8euros, les raviolis maison sont délicieux, le service est gentil, pas d'autres choses a renforcer, IL FAUT Y ALLER, c'est tout. I recommend a Chinese Restaurant [ YiShun ], this is a special restaurant took place 1 Rue Cherubini, 75002, we can take the metro line 7 [Pyramides] or kine 3 [Quatre-Septembre], why that restaurant is special ? i think u wanna ask to me. Because this is a restaurant with the Chinese Traditional Manuel Noodle. Lanzhou beef noodle, is a type of Chinese noodle in China. It is sometimes simply called lamian ,which means hand-pulled noodle in Chinese, or "beef lamian" everywhere in China. It's not too expensive either, 10euros / per, so if u go to Paris and u have never tasted, i recommend u to go there, the chief is very kind.