Restaurante Chino Si-Chuan, Carrer Benet Mateu 48-50, Barcelona
Before we get to the story, let us all join hands in prayer and ask God that he sees to it that this Chinese restaurant never goes out of business because this place offers incredible food. I have had some great Chinese meals in New York, London and Paris but this was just marvellous.
First of all, the location is a bit strange. The restaurant is in the middle of a high-rise residential block in the outer parts of Barcelona. It looks like a normal Chinese restaurant from the outside and you will not find notice anything out of the ordinary when you step inside.
When we sat down at our table we were greeted by a waiter who introduced their menu. What a disaster it was. Old faded pictures of really not that appealing food, a lot of stuff with chips and spaghetti – oh my God… I asked if there was a separate Szechuan menu and the waiter just did not understand the English and a second waitress turned up. She understood the question but not really the request… Why would we want to eat from another menu?
She did however return with a menu in Chinese, which I do not understand in writing at all. So then a third waiter (perhaps the owner) turned up. He spoke perfect English and asked us what we wanted to eat and from that point on I was truly in heaven.
We ordered three main courses. First we have steamed fish, it came with Chinese mushrooms and fresh ginger and a light sauce. It was a true masterpiece, velvety and very gentle. This was by far the best fish I have had in a Chinese restaurant anywhere, I am not kidding.
For our second course we had Mapo Tofu, I have found that this is a dish that really sets the standard for a Chinese restaurant. This was such a masterpiece, very soft and nice tofu, a good amount of Szechuan spice and a lot of different layers of flavours. I was in heaven eating this.
The third dish was Szechuan Spicy Beef. I had asked for something ridiculously spicy and this was not a disappointment. Very tender beef in red bean paste with loads of chilli, it was just beyond amazing! Sweet and hot at the same time, great!
We ended our meal with Eight-treasures Rice Pudding. It was sticky rice with different preserved fruits, sweet bean paste, sesame seeds and some sort of sweet sauce. This was so great and not at all as heavy as one would think.
When leaving the restaurant we were offered some Chinese rice wine with cinnamon, it tasted a bit like sherry – great! I also chatted a bit with the staff and talked about Chinese food and eating out.
There were so many nice options to choose from the menu, I wish I would have had more time to spend in Barcelona so I could have eaten it all. I will most definitely come back when I am in Spain, please visit the restaurant while I am gone. Enjoy!