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Sep 6, 2012 11:37 AM

What dish to order at what place in Belleville (Asian Food)

I recently moved to Bellevile, Paris and want to take the opportunity to learn more about Asian and especially Chinese food. I have read the Asian food in Paris threads... but I am still at a loss as to what to order where.

I have tried pho, bo bun, thai green and red curries and chinese dumplings and dim sum. I really want to branch out.. But the quality in Belleville seems so hit and miss that I would like to ask for specific reccomendations about what to order at which restaurant.


The one tip that I can provide is Le Pacifique on Rue de Belleville for good dim sum (without carts though)

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  1. Lao siam (Laotian-Thai food, not Chinese food as you had requested, sorriest)
    beef salad
    sautéed quail with garlic
    Deep fried (catfish?)
    cellophane noodle with crab (or langouste)
    Eaten with Khao Niao (sticky rice)
    a dessert called tricolor.

    1. Carts are actually a sign of less good dimsum these days. Most dishes are best cooked to order rather than served after sitting around on a cart - including steamed, baked and fried. If you get to HK, the heartland of dimsum, you won't see a cart in any good spots.

      But, in Paris I suspect the biggest issue is bought in versus made in house - most street corner Trateurs seem bought in given how uniform the selection is from shop to shop.

      1. Except for a few places (Le Pacifique and Lao Siam being among them) the quality of Asian restaurants in the Belleville area has clearly declined in recent years. The Southern Chinatown (13th arrondissement) now has more diversity and better food.

        It is true that carts are by no means a sign of quality in dim sum restaurants. In big landmark dimsum places in Guangzhou, they only mean that the restaurant is so large (often multi-storied) that you have to bring the steamed food on carts to insure that it is still hot when it lands on your table. Other types of dim sum (roasted, baked, fried, boiled, etc.) are brought to the table from the kitchen.

        In Paris no place is large enough to require that type of service, so kitchen-to-table does the job. If you like dim sum, try Tricotin on avenue de Choisy - distinctly better than Le Pacifique.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Ptipois

          When I go for dim sum, I often see Chinese families ordering warm dishes to go with dim sum. I never felt brave enough to really have look to see what exactly they were ordering. Are there typical things that people order to go along with dim sum, do you know?

          1. re: megtenni

            What exactly do you call "warm dishes"? Dim sum are warm dishes. The term covers a very large range of preparations, not just dumplings. And nothing "goes along" with dim sum strictly speaking, aside from tea.

            You may be referring to the "large" dishes that, as morning foods, are also served in dim sum restaurants (noodles or noodle soups, steamed rice noodle rolls (cheung fun), and above all congee). Congee comes in one large soup tureen for the whole table. But you won't find that in Paris, at least in that form. There are no dim sum restaurants in Paris, only a few restaurants that serve a selection of good dim sum, and the unmentionable industrial "bouchées vapeur" drying up in every "traiteur asiatique"'s window.

            To get a better answer to your question, you should perhaps summon all your bravery and go take a closer look at what those Chinese families are ordering...

            1. re: Ptipois

              She means big tables of folks eating dim sum from carts and supplementing with dishes from the kitchen.

              There are real dim sum restaurants in paris, but they are not that great.

              1. re: Busk

                Thanks for the demonstration of telepathy, that was very interesting.
                Is there one "real" dim sum restaurant in Paris in the Cantonese sense of the term = a restaurant specializing in dim sum and having an extensive menu of them?
                The only one functioning more or less like the Guangdong original, Tak Hing (rue Gay-Lussac), disappeared in the 1990s. But if there is another one, I'll be glad to hear from it. Until megtenni tells us what she meant herself.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Chine Massena in the 13th is a real dim sum restaurant.

              2. re: Ptipois

                they look to me like meat and fish dishes that you would also order in the evening, with rice.

                1. re: megtenni

                  They will be the same, albeit usually from a more limited menu. Dim Sum is a morning/lunch meal so restaurants that have good reputations for dim sum will usually have their evening menu available. My Chinese friends tend to order big communal dishes like BBQ'd or Roast Meats usually pork (not usually on standard dim sum menus), a noodle dish, in the winter some hot pot,and sometimes some fried rice (if there are lots of us 12 plus). They don't tend to order more refined dishes like whole fish or things like soups.

                  But that said there are no rules, eat whatever is on the menu and whatever you want. Dim sum is an evolving cuisine there is tons of innovation and the best places ( if any exist in Paris) will be inventing new dishes for their menus all the time.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    Those side dishes are just the regular restaurant menu items. They are not specifically made to be side dishes of dimsum. It is very difficult to advise you on what to order. We will have to guess accurately which resto you go to, what they have on their menu, what type of dimsum you order. You don't need a hound. You need an astrologer !

            2. re: Ptipois

              So Ptipois, would you mind suggesting things to orders from specific places in the 13th?

              1. re: megtenni

                Whle Pti is digesting her pigout from last night, may I telepathize. :-)

                In other restos, I have noticed, and have written about it here, certain places would have good wonton, and crap dimsum. Others have good regular dishes, but will serve dimsum but it is mediocre. One has to specialize when it come sot Chinese restos in Paris, LOL.

                In the 13th, if you go to Likafo, you don't need to worry about which dishes to order. The dumsum, the wonton soups, the fried noodles, esp the flat kind, you know, Chinese lasagna, :-) , the Chiu Chow influenced soups and seafood dishes, are all good.
                If you order the dishes written in Chinese on red crêpe paper on the wall, they are the fresh dishes du jour and are usually very good. The best would be if you could read Chinese. Or are adventurous enough to order them without knowing what you order. Just check with the waiter to make certain you did not order 4 soups, or the 270-euro whole shark fin.

                The first time I went to Likafo, which was with Pti, - I thank her again here, - she was very happy that I could read the wall dishes and we could order the weirder sounding ones, only to be told that the dishes were made in such limited quantity that they had run out already. Pti was so disappointed she nearly threw me out. I mean, why bring me along, duh. :-)

                1. re: Parigi


                  - Three excellent shrimp wonton soups:
                  Hao Hao (next door to Tricotin, avenue de Choisy)
                  Fleurs de Mai (av. de Choisy)

                  Parigi is dead right, at Likafo you don't need to worry about what to order.
                  (I don't remember even thinking of throwing you out! Even if you didn't deliver as the useful Chinese buddy.)

                  - Dim sum
                  In my opinion Tricotin, run by an expert Chinese-Cambodian family, is tops for dim sum. All of them are good. I particularly like the taro fritters, the beef balls, the fried wonton with mayo, the har gau, and the cheung fun (available with char siu, shrimp or beef). The Cambodian chilli sauce in a plastic bottle on every table is really good.

                  - Mandarin Opéra : in a covered arcade near the place de l'Opéra, boulevard des Capucines. Last time I was there was a long time ago, but if they still serve dim sum as they did last time, they're quite good.

                  - Le Pacifique in Belleville: good dim sum too, one notch lower than Tricotin, but if you're in Belleville, just go for it.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    "Mandarin Opéra : in a covered arcade near the place de l'Opéra, boulevard des Capucines. Last time I was there was a long time ago, but if they still serve dim sum as they did last time, they're quite good."

                    Really not bad for Paris, in a most unlikely place.

            3. Alas Paris is not really a dimsum town.
              My dimsum place in Paris is not from a resto but from a nondescript stand in the marché St Quentin (not in Belleville). The owner makes it fresh every day. It is the only place where I am certain the dimsum are made from scratch.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Parigi


                Could you be more specific about how to find this dimsum stand in the marché St Quentin? I'll be in Paris in November and would like to try it.


                1. re: bcc

                  There is only one stand in the not very large market. It looks like crap. :-)
                  No, it does not look like crap. It looks like all the zillion no-good dimsum clones in Paris.
                  What is immediately distinctive about the stand is its smaller dimsum dumplings bound by seaweed, which are the patronne's own inventions.
                  It is near the southeast corner of the market.

                  Goes without saying it is not HK-GZ standard, but it is freshly made. The skin tastes like skin, and the various interior ingredients taste, well, various., which is good enough for me in Paris.

              2. Thanks everyone for your tips! i'm going to follow them all up! Parigi, I went to the Thai place today and had the quail and sticky rice. lovely! :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: megtenni

                  oui !
                  Those quails must be cooked in its own weight in garlic, don't you think?