A new restaurant in Grafenwöhr looks like an ordinary German building from the outside but inside is a reasonably priced Chinese eatery.

A new restaurant in Grafenwöhr looks like an ordinary German building from the outside but inside is a reasonably priced Chinese eatery. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — If you live in Grafenwöhr and like to eat out occasionally, it won’t take you long to check out most of the local restaurants.

To put it mildly, this sleepy rural town that hosts what will soon be the Army’s largest overseas military community, is not exactly Paris or New York when it comes to fine dining. So the opening of a new restaurant here is a momentous occasion, and soldiers and their families have flocked to the newly opened Tea Garden China Restaurant.

From the outside there is little to indicate the Chinese flavor of the eatery, located in an ordinary-looking German building in Bahnhofstrasse. But once you step inside you find yourself surrounded by a large collection of Chinese knick-knacks that give a strong clue that noodles, fried rice and crispy duck are in store.

Last Friday, the place was packed with customers including soldiers in uniform, family members and local German base-workers eager to sample some Chinese cuisine.

A bowl of noodle soup with vegetables can be had for 6.50 euros. If you like pot noodles, then this would be right up your ally. It is a sort of high-end pot of noodles with actual fresh vegetables in it. Ten more euros buys a plate of fried tofu with vegetables. Once again the vegetables taste like they’ve been picked that day, and the tofu is covered in a delicious sauce.

Restaurant manager Jinglan Hu said she came to Germany from China 20 years ago and has been running restaurants for Americans in other parts of the country for eight years.

She’s come to know what her U.S. customers want, she said.

“Americans like fried rice, fried noodles and appetizers like fried chicken-wings and egg-rolls,” she said.

Hu said she came to Grafenwöhr because of all the Americans moving there but it was just luck that the building where the Tea Garden is located became available.

English-speaking staff are on-hand to help Americans at the restaurant, which prints its menu in English and German. Parking is available in front of the restaurant and in summer an outdoor patio will open, Hu added.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Tea Garden China Restaurant, Grafenwöhr, Germany

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.; dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.

Specialties: Combination dishes for two people (18 to 25 euros) include fried prawns with sweet’n sour sauce, crispy duck or fried fish fillet.

Prices: Soups and appetizers start at 2 euros. Main dishes range from 9 to 16 euros.

Clientele: Mix of American and German.

English menu: Yes.

Location: Bahnhofstrasse 59, Grafenwöhr.

Telephone: 49 (09641) 936655

Web site: None.

author picture
Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now