Quality Asian Restaurants in
"Quality Asia" Labels Make a Difference?
"Qualité Asie" or "Quality Asia"
labels were given to Asian restaurants in France in
mid-December 2005 by the Union of Asian Cafés,
Hotels and Restaurants (UCHRA). Their idea is to clean
up the image of Asian restaurants, which was sullied
last year by reports on the widespread use of contaminated
products discovered by health authorities.
Reasonable it may be, but the initiators of the “Quality
Asia” label will inevitably be confronted with
French regulations that impose certain conditions
such as regular inspections and ministerial consent.
It is therefore not certain that this initiative will
succeed. Another problem involves the turn-over of
Asian chefs, rarely associated for long periods of
time with the same establishment. Moreover, the UCHRA
charter does not address the important debate over
the use of monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as
MSG, used in Asian cooking to accentuate flavors but
also responsible for causing neck pains, headaches
and sometimes even heart palpitations.
This new label will identify those establishments
that satisfy the Union’s charter, whose mission
is to educate consumers on hygienic conditions, transparency
and traceability of dishes offered by Asian restaurants
in France. The label will be awarded to those members
of the UCHRA that have successfully passed 142 tests
including reception of customers, products, hygiene
and security. The UCHRA hopes that in time such measures
will lead to the upgrading of at least a thousand
Asian restaurants in France—a reasonable objective
according to the Union.
For quality Asian cuisine in France, the following
suggestions are sure not to disappoint:
6, rue Mandar
01 44 88 21 91
The trendy dark décor obliges the customer
to concentrate on sophisticated Thai dishes such as
white rice sautéed with vegetables (kao pad
kar) and green papaya salad (som tam), served with
chicken satay and sticky rice. Chef Siripark Nopporn
works hard at making greaseless shrimp fritters and
a delicious grapefruit salad (yum nai suan). Prix-fixe
menus for 19 euro (lunch only) and 45 euro. Count
on 40 euro à la carte. Open daily.
15, rue du Théâtre
01 45 79 34 34
The cooking of Fung-ching Chen, the modest yet gifted
late chef from the Chinese region of Wenzhou, continues
to be brilliantly executed by his kitchen brigade
under the direction of his widow. The five fundamental
flavors of Taoist equilibrium are represented here
by five exotic spices such as star anis, fennel, Szechuan
pepper, Chinese cinnamon and ground cloves. Exceptional
Peking duck. Truly professional service. Prix-fixe
menus for 40 euro (lunch) or 75 euro. A la carte around
80 to 100 euro. Closed Sunday.
Du Côté de Chez Xane
26, quai Saint-Antoine, passage Mercière
04 78 37 93 51
modesty of this restaurant, originally a "bouchon
Lyonnais," with its open kitchen and distinctive
bar, doesn’t stop Xane and Florence from proposing
well-spiced authentic Thai cooking such as stuffed
chicken wings and shrimp sautéed with basil.
A la carte around 30 euro. Closed Sunday.
25, promenade du Grand-Large
04 91 73 91 08
the time when Marseille was the gateway to the Orient,
Siam wasn’t yet Thailand. While nostalgia is
not on the menu here, this loveable restaurant located
near the Ponte Rouge offers subtly flavored dishes
including crab fritters and authentic shrimp curry.
Count on 25 to 30 euro à la carte. Closed Monday.