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  • Writer's picturecookingwiththehamster

Trattoria Hu (CLOSED)

At via Signorelli 5, a few steps from via Paolo Sarpi, Trattoria Hu opened at the end of March 2019. A small Chinese restaurant that offers well-prepared and tasty dishes.

One of the features that I like most about Trattoria Hu is tranquility. It may be because it is located on a quiet street, or perhaps because the interior of the restaurant is intimate and welcoming, the fact is that I felt pampered by Paolo (chef) and Yi Jing (who runs the restaurant). Property that comes from the south east of China, more precisely from the region of Zheijiang, also known as “land of milk and honey”. The variety of local products is in fact known in China, as are the complex preparation techniques for the dishes. From Trattoria Hu everything is more simplified, in the sense that the dishes are not of high technical execution but all very accurate, tasty and well presented. It is not in fact a case that all the customers present are Chinese. And this is not a foregone fact just because you are in the heart of China Town: this area is becoming so popular that in many restaurants it is now customary to find people of all nationalities. Moreover, in a street where street food and restaurants are becoming more and more prey, almost all of them are long-standing, Trattoria Hu stands out as a youth restaurant, run by two cheerful, helpful and friendly guys, who prepare a type of quality and tasteful food.

The menu is essential but presents a varied and well-assorted choice of dishes. There are several preparations of sautéed and broth ramen — obviously of Chinese origin (with beef, pork ribs, vegetables or sweet and sour) to which you can add egg in a bain-marie, beef or pork ribs. There are the hot pot (broth with a selection of eight ingredients chosen by the customer), rice dumplings, wonton soup, rice dishes (sautéed with mustard, with vegetables, with omelet, Cantonese, with prawns) and noodles (of soy with pork, prawns or vegetables), all traditional and well known. Probably the most interesting section is the “appetizers”: massacred cucumbers, fresh tofu with preserved egg, marinated match potatoes, marinated cucumbers and jellyfish, marinated beef, greedy chicken, shrimp dumplings, vegetables and meat, each steamed, grilled meat dumplings (handmade), home-made piada, squid skewers, breaded fins, salt and pepper prawns, breaded chicken nuggets, fried frankfurters, wakame and elm mushrooms and garlic. To drink you can order Italian or Chinese beer, soft drinks (with plum and peach, lemon or Chinese tea), coconut or soy milk.

Paolo, who invited me to his restaurant, tells me the history of the restaurant and his training in the kitchen:

When I was very young I decided that I didn’t want to go on with my studies but wanted to work in the family restaurant. In fact, after middle school, I helped in the kitchen and in a couple of years I became a cook. My parents were owners of the Da Ming restaurant, in via Piero della Francesca 74. When they closed, in 2003 the same building was replaced by a Japanese restaurant, Hokkaido, and later the famous Iyo, a starred restaurant. I have worked in many other places, like a sushi chef.

Just at the time when he worked in sushi bars, Paolo made an important discovery that led him later to study in China, more precisely in Lanzhou:

When I discovered the handmade ramen, that is the dough pulled by hand, I was strongly impressed. So I decided to go to China to study this kind of preparation, where the hand ramen was born: the Lanzhou. There I tasted lots of ramen dishes, everywhere, understanding the differences and studying the recipes in depth. The ramen broth by hand, for example, is made with beef marrowbone but the taste, as a whole, is very particular. Right from the start I had the concern that such a taste could not please the Italians, already poorly used to eating food with lots of soup. So, on the one hand I reworked the base of the broth that I propose to my local taking inspiration from the Japanese ramen (giving more flavor by inserting miso), on the other I created the sautéed, dry ramen, which I immediately liked and was immediately successful . Moreover, working the pasta here in Italy, I discovered that the flour used in your country is particularly suitable for ramen: the pasta is more consistent and the result is definitely better.

Once back from China, Paolo wanted to devote himself to the exclusive preparation of hand-drawn noodle in a room with an open kitchen. Confronting himself with his wife, however, they agreed to a more varied solution, adding more recipes to the menu.

My wife did not want to limit herself to handmade noodles, she wanted our menu to include typical dishes from her area of ​​origin, Zheijiang. Thus, for example, you can eat the “Chinese piada”, a dish of everyday life in this region of China. We eat both at breakfast and as a snack on the street: in China the pace of life is very hectic, so it always happens to eat something on the street while going from one place to another. We prepare it according to the authentic recipe, with pickled turnip tops and chopped bacon. However, my idea is to develop new dishes, especially noodles-based ones. We’ve been open for less than a year, so I can say that our menu is still evolving.

© Cookingwiththehamster

📍 Via Luca Signorelli 5, Milan 📞 +39 351 859 0002 💰 $$

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