December 9, 2008

The Best Chinese Food in Eastern Europe
Kazanlăk, Bulgaria

After an afternoon of walking around frosty Kazanlăk, Tatiana and I were more than ready to indulge (…read: gorge ourselves) at our CouchSurfing host's very own Chinese restaurant.

Peter's culinary talents manifested themselves at breakfast this morning, when he skillfully crafted a wonderful meal for eyes and mouths out of just a few spare foodstuffs hanging out in the kitchen. Tatiana believes this is perhaps the first time she's ever been cooked for by a proper chef outside of a restaurant.

Our late-evening dinner was actually a part of a larger celebration at the restaurant tonight. It was the Chinese chef's 53rd birthday, but the guy looks so youthful you'd almost swear someone got the numbers transposed.

Before the party started we'd placed orders off the menu (translated for us from the Cyrillic script), and shortly thereafter found ourselves awash in a sea of gastronomic delight. It was hands down the best Chinese food I can remember having in a long time.

Not too long into the meal tables were pushed together and employees started to arrive. A large bottle of whisky made an appearance, followed by food and a laughably entertaining cake shaped like a woman's ass (edible thong included).

The only real problem with the evening is one that's been increasing with some frequency as we moved south—the smoking. Tatiana and I both find cigarette smoke quite repulsive, and we're particularly sensitive to such things around our 11-month-old son (especially in confined spaces). It was soon after the entire table of ten or so people lit up nearly simultaneously—and Tatiana gave me 'that look'—that I had to excuse myself from the celebrations and take Aidric into a private, isolated section of the restaurant.

I hated pulling the plug on the evening, but if it's within my power I won't let secondhand smoke and my son mix.

Damn good Chinese food though. Highly worth a trip up to Kazanlăk just to have tasty dish.

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.