Sunday afternoon my oldest daughter and I decided to try Sinorama, a Chinese place in the 13th arrondissement of Paris that's gotten several reviews for being really "authentic".
It doesn't look like much from the outside, just a little low building on the corner of avenue de Choisy and rue Docteur Magnan. We went for a late lunch (14:30) and so by the time we were finished the place was practically empty. The service was good, although a little rushed but I imagine they just get in the habit of rushing when there are big dinner crowds. In any case, they are very efficient and polite.
It was nice and spacious and they stay open all day so you can eat at odd hours (anytime before 8 pm is odd for the French) and avoid the crowds. They also have those excellent big tables with the round tray part in the middle that holds the various dishes and turns around. When we first arrived there were two very big groups enjoying their lunches as well as several smaller groups and they were majoritarily Asian (a very good sign).
Anyway, I wasn't sure that I would dare but I did it, I ordered the duck's tongues.
5,50 euros, they were served in a very nice black bean sauce. As for the tongues themselves...I ate them as did my daughter but really the taste is pretty boring. They are sort of soft and gelatinous but the sauce was really good! This is probably not the kind of thing you would want to order if you are in the early stages of dating either because there is a lot of cartiledge and you may have to wind up using your fingers.
We ordered another starter just to be on the safe side. Shrimp roll fried in bread crumbs. They were nice and crunchy and there were a lot of them. It was really enough for two people and cost 7,00.
Then we ordered two different dishes and rice. Both dishes were served on sizzling platters (I think this is hot plate in English but really I like sizzling better) and they did come out of the kitchen sizzling. The first one was "three stuffed treasures" (trois trésors farcis):
It was sizzling so much my lense got steamed up:
Tofu, both green and red peppers, and eggplant stuffed with a shrimp filling. This was also served in a excellent sauce with black beans. It cost 12,00 and was most definitely enough for two people but of course we wanted to try lots of stuff so we also got:
The sizzling seafood! It looked beautiful but this sauce was more boring than the stuffed treasure sauce. Kind of bland, but perhaps it was because this was just so much food...and in Paris they don't do the doggy bag thing so no sense ordering too much.
It is very unusual in Paris to get such gigantic servings of food. When things are sort of expensive you just figure it's because the ingredients are more costly.
So, next time (and I do plan on going back) we will know better and either they'll be ten of us or we'll order less. With two appetizers, two main dishes(12,00 each), rice 1,40 and tea 3,00 the total came to 40.00 euros but it was enough food for 4 people! So Sinorama gets thumbs up from me and I suggest you check it out as well.
ps. I posted at work today and now I'm back home and I've been informed that Calvin Trillin ate here, way back in 1998 (in English)