Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Master Chi Fu - São Paulo

Chi Fu Restaurant: image credit br.kekanto.br

So, as I mentioned yesterday, the Chinese New Year street celebration was hot and took long enough for us to build up a mighty hunger. For years now I have heard about a Chinese restaurant named "Chi Fu"--for various reasons (flat tire, double-booked lunches, illness) I had missed numerous invitations there. But not Sunday--we were right across the street.

My friend Michelle, a teacher at my kids' school, also told us that her son was anxious to have his friends try out frog legs. If you thought my kids at all squeamish, you would be wrong. They would eat fried bugs if the challenge were there. Actually they would probably feel sorry for the bugs.

Chi Fu is across the street from the Praça da Liberdade and almost literally on top of the Liberdade metro station. Its entryway reminded me of every Chinese restaurant I have ever been in--reception in front, carp pond, waiting line and not-nearly enough room for waiting and sitting. When we got there, Michelle went up to the reception desk and spoke to them in Chinese. What she probably said is "these sunburned gringos need to eat NOW so can you help me out?" We were seventh on a wait list, and with 8 people, I thought that would be an hour. But no, they said 20 minutes. In reality it was 10 minutes.

A waitress! Grab her, quick!

All the tables are large and round, seating anywhere from 10 to 20 people. If you have a small group and the waitlist is big, expect to share a table. In the middle of each one is one of those lazy Susan devices which generally causes a huge issue with my twins as they each want to drive it a different direction. This time I got smart and seated them next to each other.

Michelle did the ordering for us: we made no attempt to understand the waitresses. This is the biggest complaint I hear on the web reviews--service is non Portuguese speaking, and non-existent. Michelle ordered frog legs, rice, sweet and sour chicken, pork and Chinese watercress. My kids were terribly disappointed that we did not get noodles so they could pose like Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda with a noodle on their lips. 

The food was great, particularly the frog legs which were lightly fried. You did have to be a little patient to nibble all the meat from those tiny bones (oops, sorry, vegetarians). Michelle got up to get forks and knives for my kids (who had resorted to stabbing things with their chopsticks), to get a water for me and also got the to-go boxes at the end. Service is not fast. Do not go there starving. The quantities are huge, however. We brought home much of the food.

The kids ate quickly and then disappeared to the front of the restaurant. When I went to check on them, I caught one of my twins trying to catch the foot-and-a-half long carp with his bare hands. Funny how our check came really quickly. It was in Chinese, though, so we had Michelle check it. For all that food, it was about $20 per adult. I probably would have been charged more if my kid had actually caught the carp.

Chi Fu Restaurant
Praça Carlos Gomes, 200
Open every day 11 am-4 pm, 6 pm-10 pm

Ah, and don't bring your credit or debit cards, nor check. Cash only.

No comments:

Post a Comment