The welcoming hungry panda sign.

Qiuzi Chinese Cafe in Irkutsk

Published: March 19, 2012

Qiuzi (秋子) / Цюцы
Shanghai City mall, top floor
ТЦ Шанхай Сити, верхний этаж
ул Байкальская, 8
Meals from $6

 A friend of mine brought me to Qiuzi on a whim, while we were looking for something new and different to eat. We knew of a number of Chinese restaurants in the city, but none that were really affordable. We were at the central market one day, and thought we would try looking in Shanghai City, the indoor part of the Chinese market, for a new Chinese cafe to try. By the third floor of the mall, we were pretty sure that it was only full of clothing stores. But in the distance, at the very end of the hallway, we saw a large poster of a panda licking its lips and knew we had found what we were looking for.

Qiuzi is a good-sized sit-down cafe, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a place to sit. It can have a busy atmosphere, but it’s also big enough to accommodate the lunch rush, so space is not usually a problem. You can sit down with a menu and order from your table, but if you’d rather not wait for the devushka to come around to your table (which can be a while if it’s busy) you can also order up at the counter. Either way, you pay straight away, which is a tradition I’ve grown very fond of during my time in Russia.

The menu is pretty extensive, offering a wide range of options, including lunch specials for 150 rubles, which give you a filling plate of a dish of your choice with a pile of white rice and a little cabbage salad. It’s a cheap, filling and fast lunch option. The choices for the lunch special include a lot of different stir-fried meat and vegetable options. If you’re looking for more varied choices, however, you can also delve into the full menu where the portions are generally larger and cost more, but are ideal for sharing with friends. Noodle dishes, meat, vegetable and egg stir-fries are some of the options on the full menu. The first time I went there, I ordered one of the lunch specials, an egg & tomato stir-fry (炒鸡蛋西红柿) on rice for 150 rubles. It came quickly and made for a very satisfying lunch, I was quite full after the full plate and a cup of tea (20 rubles). My total that time came to 170 rubles, which is a good deal for such a filling meal! The second time I went with my friend Emily and we decided to be more adventurous and try one of the full plates to split with a side of egg fried rice (50 rubles per bowl). We ordered a vegetable stir-fry dish with eggplant, potato and green pepper called Di San Xian (地三鲜), Three Fresh Earth [Vegetables] for 290 rubles. It was very flavorful, and didn’t take much longer to arrive than the lunch special I had ordered last time. The rice was also very tasty. The food at Qiuzi is pretty greasy, which I think is part of what makes it so filling as well as flavorful, so if you’re looking for a light and healthy meal, this is not the place to go. But for a flavorful, filling and cheap meal, and if you’re looking for a change from standard Russian café food, then this is a great place to try.


About the author

Danya Spencer

Danya Spencer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages – Russian & Chinese from Lewis and Clark University. She is currently studying in the year-long Home and Abroad Program with The School of Russian and Asian Studies. This program combines study abroad in Russia, an intensive professional internship focusing on translation, research, and writing.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

View all posts by: Danya Spencer

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