My pastor likes Lutherstadt Wittenberg. He´s here frequently – doing divine services at the Old Latin School and/or taking a break from pastoral chores back home at St.Luke´s in Leipzig. So he knows his way around and good spots to eat well. He prefers the Chinese restaurant “Fuh Lam Mun” down the road – about 150 steps. So you stroll leisurely over cobble stones past the oldest evangelical parsonage in town – the Bugenhagen-House – and past the newest offices of the Lutheran World Federation just opened this year. Actually, the Chinese restaurant it´s run by a Vitnamese couple for a good number of years. He´s in the kitchen cooking up a storm and she serves the guests with aplomb. They´re do a good job and are successful by the looks of it. When they are off work, he chauffeurs her in a big black shiny Mercedes 450 GLE. Good for her!
Reminds me a bit of when Obelix asks his British host: “Was that tweed jacket expensive?” and the response is: “My tailor is rich!” However, the food at the Chinese is not pricey and if you compare it with other Wittenberg cuisine it´s very competetive. Perhaps the appropriate comparison, would be my father´s story about the 2 butchers in Ventersdorp (West-Transvaal) decades ago. The first would serve prime cuts: Whites only! The other was open to serve whatever, chicken feet/heads, innards, cheap cuts and that to anybody – even for a few cents. After some time, the first butcher was bankrupt, the other was doing just fine. Business is business. Our Chinese restaurant in the Jüdenstraße – one of several in Wittenberg – is doing just fine – and perhaps you even get chicken small if you really ask for it.
There´s always seems to be room for more guests – even on Sundays, but that´s no indication, that the service is bad or the food not good. On the contrary, there are normally big family gatherings going on. People doing birthdays or some other celebration. Still, the lady of the house manages all and always finds a place for you to settle down too – just as if she was a sergeant major in her previous life used to solving issues and doing things right. The chairs are comfortable with thick cushions and the general atmosphere is heavy Eastern – lots of thick carpets, colourful lanterns, golden Buddhas and outlandish tapestries. It muffels the sound levels. It´s muted, soft-spoken and relaxed. The music is oriental, exotic – never too loud nor too exiting.
The food is traditional chinese cuisine with the normal offers of beef, pork, chicken, duck and/or sea-food, good helpings of rice, dumplings and/or noodles with all sorts of vegetables and served in variations of sweet/sour, hot, medium and just plain bland. There´s the normal range of soups, but also teas like Jasmine, Green etc, all sorts of cool drinks, sodas, beers and a short wine list – including rice wine. The cooked food portions are huge, tasty and fresh – even if you are acquainted with American servings. You really do get your money´s worth. Even in Wittenberg, which is lots cheaper than Leipzig or Berlin, it still compares favourably. You can see the cook standing at the stove, but theres good ventilation and no stale smells of yesteryear. A nice place to go eat – especially in winter, because there is no place to sit outside in a summer garden or the like as we like doing if there is a chance.
The waitress doesn´t do chit-chat. But ask her about her daughter in Leipzig and you´ve hit the sweet spot. That´s her pride, hope and joy. Since then, we´ve also become friends even though we´re not on first name basis yet.
No small wonder P. Fisher likes this place. We do too. It´s private. The food is good and plentiful. The service impeccable. And you don´t have far to return to the Old Latin School. So, if you´re in town for a time – and you´ve had your fill of German fare – try Fuh Lam Mun. I recommend it and give it a good 4 out of 5.