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Restaurant Wen Zhou (Paris, France)
||24 Rue de Belleville,|
Paris, France 75020,
Reviewed by: Georges London
Winter Volume: 2011 Issue: 18(4) page: 23
In A Tale of Two Cities, London offers impressions of this eatery. In a pprevious article I wrote for ths magazine, I indicated that immigrants from Wenzhou, a city in the Zhejiang Province south of Shanghai, settled in Belleville in the 20th arrondissement. This is an area perhaps the most Chinese of three enclaves in Paris. Local restaurants there are more like canteens, and one often shares a table with those you do not know, and perhaps the best restaurant of this type is aptly called: Restaurant Wen Zhou. One can find it easily if one gets off at the Belleville metro station. It is open continuously from half past ten in the morning to ten that same night; however, it is closed on Thursdays. To find it easily, the front of the restaurant is pictured on this page.
This family-style restaurant is owned by a young man from Wenzhou. The food here is authentic and freshly prepared daily. There are many types of ravioli and breads, all served in generous portions. The menu is changed, updated often, with new dishes from Wenzhou. The cost of a meal is fifteen to twenty Euros per person including wine or beer and service.
This restaurant is small, serving a maximum of thirty-five to forty people. The wait staff is friendly and alert and the ambiance is quite relaxed. Little English is spoken here, and the menu is only in Chinese and French, but there are pictures. Not a fancy place, one finds wooden tables, paper napkins, and a stack of chopsticks at each table. Nonetheless, the vibes are good and diners get the feeling a Chinese family is cooking a meal just for them. That is true be they regular customers who include a heavy mix of young locals or connoisseurs from far away. The neighbourhood is quite lively during the day and calm at night.
A large number of dishes are offered including some thirty vegetable ones, fifteen with noodles, at least thirty-five soups, and many other selections. There is no fixed-price menu; and every dish is available for takeout.
A recent lunch we enjoyed included Nouilles Shanghaiennes du Chef wich in English are Chef's Shanghai noodles with chicken, beef and shrimp, and Soupe de Crabe au Doufu or Crab soup with bean curd. Both of these dishes were delightful and Wenzhou items; and they did provide a second meal at home the following day.
Here is a random list of other dishes, in French with English in parentheses:
Tête de Lion (Lion Head’s meatballs)
Porc Sauté aux Pusses de Bambou (Stir-fried pork with bamboo shoots)
Anguilles Sautées à l’Ail et au Gingembre (Stir-fried eel with garlic and ginger)
Seiches Sautées au Céleri (Stir-fried cuttlefish with celery)
Salade aux Algues (Seaweed salad), and
Liserons d’Eau Sautés (Stir-fried water spinach).
The restaurant sells Tsingtao beer and they do have a modest selection of wines. One thing you might need to know is that they do not accept credit cards.