If it wasn't already blatantly obvious that Riga In Your Pocket is a brazenly positive and unreliable source of restaurant information, their words about Chinese restaurant Fei-Fei is all the proof you'll need. ”Shockingly good Chinese food”, they say. I'd say that the only thing that's shocking is RIYP's optimism. But first things first.
Fei-Fei* is one of the more elusive Chinese restaurants in Riga; it’s just nowhere near the neighborhood. From the center of Riga, you cross Daugava and then meander a bit until you're sure that you're hopelessly lost. And there it is, in a big, ugly apartment building. I hope at least the rent is cheap.
”it's like a big masturbation booth”
When entering, you instantly remember the words of Victor Frankenstein's creation: ”Don't look at me, I'm hideous”. That's Fei-Fei for you. It's like a big masturbation booth with cheap Chinese decorations. I guess the owner deliberately chose the dimmer-than-dim lighting to hide how ugly this restaurant is. In the basement (the biggest room in the restaurant) you'll have to sit in huge, black booths on very uncomfortable sofas. They are so deep that if you lean your back against the wall, you hardly reach the table. The black furniture and the red walls soak up most of the light, and the whole place feels like the bastard child of a Pakistani brothel and an opium den.
A brief look at the menu will tell you two things. First of all, it's boring, to say the least. Fei-Fei only serves the most stock of Chinese dishes along with some sushi. Second, for a restaurant this ugly and in such an inconvenient location, the prices sure are steep. A standard dish will relieve you of some €9–15 (which, in true Latvian tradition, does not include rice). However, I did appreciate the fact that they spell out that they serve ”salmon fish”, so you don't confuse it with the salmon monkey. Also, they do have some classic Asian beer: Thai beer Chang, Japanese beer Kirin and Chinese beer Tsingtao.
”i went to fei-fei so you don't have to”
The first time I visited Fei-Fei, I went with the Kung Pao chicken. Although it was decently prepared and tasted alright, the chef sure overkilled on the thickening. This dish didn't really have a sauce, but a glaze. On my second visit, I chose the pork in spicy garlic sauce. This was also a gooey, soy-heavy dish which tasted alright. However, I asked to have this already spicy dish extra spicy and [insert standard, oft-repeated rant about spiciness here]. What I didn't ask for, though, was the green and brown tomato decorating/defecating on my plate. I didn't go back a third time.
To sum this up, I went to Fei-Fei so you don't have to. Although there is nothing terribly wrong with the food, this restaurant will hurt your wallet as well as your eyes. And speaking of wallet, what's up with not accepting card payments? Is this a tax evasion thing, or something? Considering how many places in Riga don't accept cards, I'm starting to wonder. In short, unless you happen to be in the neighborhood and will implode unless you get some sticky chicken, you have no reason to make the trip here.
* Now, I don’t profess to be fluent in Chinese , so don't take my word for it, but to my knowledge the word “Fei” means either “unwanted meat” or “lung”. Either way, it’s not a very appetizing name for a restaurant, right?