A little known fact about me is that I’m part Chinese–one eighth to be exact. If you’ve ever seen my grandmother, Ms. Chin, our lineage would be evident. But her decision to marry my grandfather, a tall, dark-chocolate man, makes our Asian features hard to identify. Interestingly, my grandmother only remembers a few words of Cantonese, but she has an undying affinity for Chinese culture. Any product made in China was made by her “cousins”, she jests. From art to fashion, she wears her father’s legacy with pride. I have fond memories of attending Chinese cultural events in Jamaica with her and dining on the delicious cuisine. Authentic Chinese food is nothing like the remixed fast food that is popular in urban America. At the recommendation of a friend, we tried out a restaurant in downtown Ankara, and I’m glad to report that my grandma would been pleased.
On a busy street lined with restaurants, Wuyang stands out with red lanterns and stringed lights decorating the entrance. When we arrived, the dining hall was mostly full save for two tables near the door. At a glance, we see Turkish waiters in uniform but Chinese managers, cooks, and diners–all very promising signs for a good meal. The menu had the weight of a short novel but we eventually found our chapter of choice: the vegetarian dishes. The price of each dish was also hefty, so we placed our order wisely: Tofu Stir-Fry, Sweet and Sour Tofu, Simmered Eggplant, Vegetable Noodles, and Steamed Rice. No budget for appetizers and desserts today. Water quenches the thirst just fine, so we pass on fruit juices and teas.
Our waiter had a good enough command of English to answer our questions about the dishes and convey our dietary preference. After topping up our glasses with bottled water, he brought us a platter of fried wonton noodles with a sweet dipping sauce and kimchi, Korean-style fermented cabbage. We appreciate the show of Pan-Asian solidarity and enjoy the spicy appetizer before our meal arrives.
When the entrees reached our table, they all looked appetizing. Because the restaurant makes their own tofu, the portions were generous. Instead of relying on imported produce, the menu mostly revolves around what is locally available like eggplant and mushrooms, as opposed to bok choy and dasheen. Each of the dishes were uniquely flavored and complemented each other well. The service, food, and ambiance were all top-notch. The bathroom, not so much, but everything else made our meal enjoyable. If we have a special guest or an occasion worthy of fine dining, we now know where to go.