168 Chinese Township (simply called "168" by visitors) is a huge Chinese restaurant located in Maciachini area.
Over the years this place has undergone transformations (I remember at least three) that from a fixed-price buffet restaurant similar to a company canteen has gone on to be a more refined place with a messy menu. Today, after an imposing renovation, it is a restaurant with impressive dimensions, aesthetically cared for according to a taste that Westerners would call doubtful but which instead has many admirers. The spaces are really large and consist of dozens of rooms arranged on several floors, each with a specific theme. There are rooms for banquets, weddings, private tables to spend a romantic dinner or in the company of friends.
After the last big restyiling, I had dinner here with some friends who deal with food. We were welcomed in one of the many rooms on the ground floor where the pot for the hot pot, the famous Chinese fondue of Mongolian origin, was placed in the center of the table.
The dishes are spectacular as is the rest of the restaurant. We had the opportunity to taste many Chinese specialties that include different cuts and qualities of meat, shellfish, centenary eggs, tofu but also many vegetables, mushrooms, water chestnuts and typical Chinese sweets (including one containing the famous durian - which I honestly couldn't eat because of the too strong smell).
Obviously this kind of experience is beautiful if shared: the more you are at the table the more you have fun. The slightly flat flavor of the ingredients and the slightly tasteless broth are overshadowed when you are in company drinking happily.
In all this, the room staff was very kind and discreet, ready to help us with the preparation of the fondue and to recommend even unusual ingredients.
A few days later I wanted to try this restaurant again, this time choosing various dishes from the menu available via tablet. This time, however, the experience was worse, not to say very low.
Choosing here and there, I opted for the crab shao mai (completely tasteless), sauteed rice with Peking duck (extremely greasy and heavy), steamed crab (microscopic, practically there is only the carapace), beef noodles soup (incredibly sweet) and garlic scallops (dipped in butter and accompanied by a separate bowl containing grapes with mayonnaise).
I honestly didn't like anything, which is really absurd. The menu consists of dozens of dishes ranging from dim sum, to Peking duck, through raw and cooked fish, preparations performed in the pot, numerous chef specialties and an incredible amount of meat and vegetable dishes, yet I have not really found anything that was to my liking.
I am very sorry to give such a negative opinion to this restaurant but, besides what has already been said, the bill is also decidedly high. The note of merit goes to the room staff, because he is very professional and kind. But apart from that I have no other positive words to spend on it.