No plans for Chinese new year? Try out Cité du Dragon

If you are looking for somewhere special to see in the Chinese New Year, then why not consider Cité du Dragon; a culinary institution if ever there was.

Situated in the atmospheric and beautiful old quarter of Liège, this magnificent Chinese restaurant has been going strong now for no less than three decades-quite an achievement in the often volatile Horeca sector.

The very welcoming owner here, Madame Ha, promises to create a special buffet for the Chinese New Year – which is as soon as February 16th (2018 is the Year of the Dog).

In a city and country full of, sometimes mediocre, Asian eateries, this is a particularly excellent restaurant that is well worth the relatively straightforward excursion from Brussels.

Run by two sisters for 30 years, they were born in Vietnam and have lived in Belgium since the 1970s. However, it seems they’re not the only members of their family with great culinary skills, as the sisters come from a long line of cooking, going back to their grandmother’s restaurant in their native Vietnam, and with their other two other sisters running a restaurant of the same name in Uccle on the outskirts of Brussels, it seems that culinary ability is a generation’s old family skill.

The sisters include Madame Liem who came to Liege to study at the local university and then all her sisters joined her- including Madame Ha who left her homeland after the liberation of Saigon.

Liège Cité du Dragon, located next to the city’s cathedral, was (by four years), the first to open, in 1987, and despite the explosion of Chinese restaurants everywhere in the intervening years (including fast food), it’s still a cut above the rest.

To cater to your culinary needs, the restaurant has numerous, differently named set-menus. Including soups, steamed and crunchy starters, salads, fish; meat, poultry and of course, Peking duck, the big house speciality.

Unlike a lot of places which buy froze, ready-made duck, here the duck is all prepared fresh, on site. It is a famous dish, of course, which recipe originates back to the Song Dynasty.

Another great option is the beef in a spicy sauce or quail mincemeat, both among the favourites with the restaurant’s regulars. This, as well as pork belly with a crispy skin and juicy chicken with coriander provide a nice choice of meat mains.

Particularly popular is the “eat-as-much-as-like” self-service buffet available on Friday and Saturday nights and also Sunday lunchtime. The buffet, featuring all the traditional Chinese favourites, is priced just €24 per person (drinks excluded).

Like the extensive menu, the restaurant is huge, seating over 200 people, and has what might be called an aquatic theme (fish are a Chinese symbol of good luck). There are fish tanks, plants and aquariums everywhere you look, each with a note detailing the fish, including koi, and it all lends itself to a particularly relaxing and different setting.

The success of this lovely place over the past 30 years has less to do with good fortune and more to do with a continued determination to serve the very best of Asian cuisine. Its continued popularity is also very much down to Ha and her dedicated and a hard-working team who make a visit here so special, whether it be for a night out or Chinese new year.

Good to know

  • Address: rue Soeurs de Hasques 5, Liège
  • 04 223 1323