The one thing I didn’t expect to see while in Vienna was several Chinese stores and restaurants clustered together near the city centre. I suppose it just didn’t occur to me that there’d be a thriving Chinese community in the city.
Whilst unexpected, it was also comforting to see store signs with Chinese characters on them. I think that, in terms of food, western Europe is a rather easy place to be someone of Chinese heritage in that it’s not difficult to get items that one usually uses back in Asia.
In fact, since moving to the Netherlands, not once have I missed Chinese food. Whether it’s Amsterdam or Antwerp, Düsseldorf or Vienna, I know I can always visit a good Chinese restaurant whenever I want to. Of course, the cheaper option would be to cook my own food, which I also do from time to time, but sometimes it’s simply more convenient to pay someone else to cook your food and then do your dishes. (Plus, Chinese restaurants here serve a mountain of food for what you pay, which means you generally get two portions for the price of one!)
The tricky bit, however, is knowing which restaurants pass muster. There are tons of Chinese restaurants in Europe and, unfortunately, many of them are rubbish. It takes time and experience to locate the good ones.
But the payoff is well worth it.