General Tso's chicken.
22, rue de Trévise, in the 9th Arrondissement.
01 48 00 07 73. Lunch and dinner, Tues–Sun.
L’Orient d’Or has become my favorite Chinese restaurant in Paris, a go-to spot when my friends and I are looking for something delicious and fun that won’t break the bank.
Chinese cuisine is, of course, deeply regional, and the cooking at L’Orient d’Or is Hunanese, relying heavily on the use of chilies for seasoning. It’s not for the timid.
I like to start with the cucumber salad, the cool crisp spears flecked with hot red peppers. The pot stickers are great, too, with delicate skins and savory, scallion-heavy filling. One of the signature dishes is General Tso’s chicken, fried crisp and arriving in a shower of dried chilies. Don’t worry, they perfume the meat more than heat it, but if you do really like it hot, don’t miss the sizzling lamb with cumin—actually a dish from the Xinjiang region—and don’t let them talk you into the mild version. It’s best when fiery. Hot in a different way is the wilting cabbage, which comes in a little cast-iron pot. I also recommend the eggplant with pork, and the braised pork belly.
There is a wine list, but if you ask me, the thing to drink here is cold beer. Skip the 1664 and go for a bomber of Tsing Tao.
Served family style, this food is best enjoyed with a group. Be sure to reserve, though, especially on the weekends, and if you want that chicken (and you do), you’ll need to order it in advance.
Granted, visitors to Paris—at least first timers—are probably not so interested in eating at a Chinese restaurant. But this pocket of the 9th Arrondissement is as “authentic” as they come, full of unpretentious neighborhood restaurants, the faded glory of the Folies Bergère and a truly mixed population. The energy is great.
And so is the food.
In a nutshell: The high-heat Hunanese cooking at L’Orient d’Or makes this one of my favorite addresses for Chinese food in Paris.
Price check: Plan on spending around 20 euros per person.
If L’Orient d’Or sounds good, you might also like Deux Fois Plus de Piment, a hot and spicy Szechuan dive in the 11th.
Deux Fois Plus de Piment
33, rue St.-Sebastien, in the 11th.
01 58 30 99 35. Open nightly for dinner.
Open daily for lunch (except Wed, Fri and Sun).
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable trips.