When I want German food, I’ll go to Jagerwirt, and when I want a steak, I’ll go to Chocolate’s.
I used to say this all the time when I lived in Wujin. It might seem strange, because both German restaurants are run by the same people. While both share the same high quality of food, there really is a difference between the two places. Jagerwirt has a longer menu with more options. Chocolate’s menu is more concise, and it strikes one more as a general bar and grill. There seems to be less “German” at Chocolates and that is not necessarily a criticism.
I usually ordered the same thing each time I visited. It was called “New Zealand” steak. Whether it’s authentically Kiwi or not is another question. It is, however, very good. Essentially, it’s a thick cut covered in cheese and served with gravy and potato wedges. The beef itself is of high quality and cooked well enough to be tender to the cut, and priced extremely reasonably when compared to steaks in other Changzhou restaurants. This was usually my go-to item on their menu.
Chocolate’s is located near Yancheng historical area, the Wujin Musuem, and the Spring and Autumn amusement park. If going by bus, the B1 is the easiest. It;s basically in the same row of eateries where Wujin’s Monkey King Italian Restaurant can be found. Getting there requires passing under three metal dragons that arch over the road.
American holiday traditions can change from family to family; that’s just part of living in a multicultural society. After all, each family has a unique set of ancestors hailing from multiple countries. While growing up, Easter dinner for me, for example, was a hodgepodge of Italian-American dishes, and curiously enough, roasted lamb. It was one of the only times of the year my mom ever prepared it.
I don’t know if I was thinking about this or not while eating at Jagerwirt in Wujin, recently. I was out at that German restuarant with a friend to celebrate Easter. I puzzled over the menu for a moment and than for some reason impulsively went for the daily special: lamb chops with mashed potatoes and a few grilled veggies.
It was easily the best lamb I’ve eaten in Changzhou. When cooked wrong, lamb can be greasy and chewy. This was tender and easy to cut with a knife. The sauce went well with the mashed potatoes, but you can say this dish skimped a little on the vegetables. However, This just another example that I’ve seldom had a lackluster meal at Jagerwirt.
I wish the could say the same for other people. As for my friend’s dinner, I have to say Jagerwirt is not exactly vegetarian friendly. For the price on the menu, their mixed vegetable salad struck me as a bit small and lacking. I love how Jagerwirt is the one of the only places that you can get an actual baked potato, but once you strip off the sour cream and chives they can some times taste a little dry — as if prepared a little too far in advanced.
Changzhou’s foreigner population contains a high number of Germans. They tend to be engineers — logic dictates that they would not be English teachers. This demographic reality can be seen on high-priced restaurant menus meant to attract expats and their money. And by this, I do not mean Jeagerwirt or Chocolate’s in Wujin — both actually boast themselves as “German Restaurants.” Rightfully so, too. Both are great. I am talking more about the generally themed “foreign” eateries that want to be everything to everybody.
Candles in Xinbei is such a place. Their menu tries to excite Australians, Americans, Brits, Germans, and more. This is a place often championed as “The Place” to hang out in Changzhou. And that’s true — but only if you live in Xinbei. The people who champion this place the as the greatest ever are people who live in Xinbei and think Wujin is a waste of time.
I now live in Xinbei, and I can tell you that when it comes to German food, Candles is mediocre. It’s great, because, well, there is nothing else in the Xinbei district that competes. When you have nothing else, and you only have one option, mediocre is quite awesome. Think about it. What other choice do you have? You don’t.
I thought about this, because I ate a Jeager Schnitzel at Candles for lunch, and it was nice. But. But! But, Jeagerwirt and Chocolate’s in Wujin do this particular dish much better. Please don’t assume this as “hating” on Candles. I would eat this again and eat it again at Candles.