Fang Fang

Fang Fang

Here’s an interesting juxtaposition I came across recently: live piano player noodling to worship songs, restaurant in high-rise office building in downtown Kampala, and Chinese food served by a mixture of Chinese and Ugandan staff. Do you have a guess at what it is? Fang Fang Chinese Restaurant! As odd as this restaurant may sound Fang Fang is one of my favorite out of the many available Chinese dining options in Kampala.

As one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Kampala, Fang Fang has also managed to keep its reputation as among the best despite growing competition. This is attestable by the sheer numbers of people that pack the place each night. I’ll confess that there’s hardly a week that goes by when I don’t have the thought of enjoying a dinner or lunch here. Fortunately, I don’t give into that temptation too often or else I would be broke.

Fang FangThe unusual setting of a restaurant in a high-rise office building (Communications House) caught me off guard initially, however once I walked inside, the decor reminded me of a typical Chinese restaurant that might be found anywhere in the world. The seating area I enjoyed most was on the large outdoor terrace. On breezy nights this can be quite an enjoyable dining experience while observing the bustling activity of downtown Kampala.

When ordering food, the staff were friendly and knowledgeable and dressed in some snazzy Chinese attire. The menu was full of options ranging from classics to specialty selections like fried crispy prawns with ginger and garlic. Upon recommendation I tried the Beijing roast duck and was very pleased. Heck I might even go out on a limb and say that all duck dishes are well worth a try. As for vegetarian selections I’ve heard that the tofu here is among the best you can get in town, and there is definitely a wide selection of other delicious vegetable dishes. I was also surprised at how quick the service was. Within about 15 minutes of placing our order the food had already arrived! This is probably the fastest service I’ve received in Kampala. Overall, I’d say that the food was not amazing haute cuisine, but very good, well-prepared and fresh. Expect to spend around 25,000 – 50,000 UGX per person.

Fang FangOk, on to the negatives. There are very few, but it’s best to know of these things ahead of time. The inconspicuous additional 18% VAT tax is probably my biggest grievance. While most restaurants in Kampala include VAT as part of the listed meal prices, Fang Fang does not. In all fairness they do have a notice in the menu about the additional 18% tax, but it’s easy to overlook. This can be a bit tricky and confusing when trying to work within a budget and wanting figure out the actual price of your meal. Another negative is sometimes parking, especially during the lunch hour when spaces can be sparse. However, Fang Fang has several parking spots allocated to it under and adjacent to the high-rise, so do your best to find those!  The very last negative is the escalating prices. While this is a delicious Chinese restaurant with a nice atmosphere, the quality of the food does not quite match up with the high prices. Perhaps with the proliferation of good Chinese restaurants around Kampala (like Chong Qing), who offer competitive prices around the 15,000 – 25,000 UGX per person, the prices will start to come down.

Since first coming to Kampala over 15 years ago, Mrs. Fang has done a wonderful job of building this restaurant’s reputation. Known for having exceptionally good food, Fang Fang’s long history has cemented its place as a cornerstone among the Kampala restaurant scene.

Hours: 12 noon – 11pm, Monday to Sunday
Address: Plot 1, Colville Street, Roof Terrace Communication House
Phone: +256-414-340 067, +256-414-344 806, +256-414-340 067, +256-312-260 681
Website: http://www.fangfang.co.ug/newsite/restaurant.html
Price: Mid – High
Vegetarian Options: Yes

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About Aaron

I'm the creative director of the music and arts organization Ensigo, and have been living in Uganda for close to three years. I’m thrilled to contribute to the Living in Kampala website, and will do my best to unveil some of Kampala’s hidden gems and local talent that I’ve discovered during my time here. Get in touch at aaron@livinginkampala.com.