Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Been busy this week with paperwork – tax returns and residency visa issues which is why there haven’t been any entries.

We did go out to dinner on Wednesday evening but the meal was so disappointing that I didn’t bother to take any photos and because of the bad experience, I’ve decided that from now on I will rate the restaurants I write about to make it easier to gauge how good or bad they were.

(Food, Service and Atmosphere will be rated from 1-5 stars, 5 being the best)

The thing is when we get a craving for good Chinese food we have lots of options on the Costa del Sol, none of them really good. I can’t say we haven’t tried because we’ve been to at least seven Chinese restaurants here in the past year. Only Tai-Pan at the Puente Romano Hotel is okay but it isn’t authentic and it’s the most expensive Chinese restaurant in town.

We went to Asiatico ZEN in Nueva Andalucia which I suppose would fall in the “fancy” Chinese restaurant category – muzak blaring from the speakers, metal plate warmers with tea lights, white tablecloth and napkins, shades of red everywhere and reproduction Rosewood furniture. I’d been here twice before for lunch – the first time I had the steamed pork Siumai dumplings and some sweet sour chicken which was fine. The second time, I ordered the same dumplings and some crispy shredded beef which was mediocre at best. I guess, I thought, let’s give this place one last chance.

We had the crispy duck with the pancakes and Hoisin sauce. The duck managed to be both crispy and soggy, the pancakes were stuck together and the Hoisin sauce was chunky instead of smooth. The won ton soup was fine but the steamed prawn dumplings tasted like they were frozen and we couldn’t pick them up with our chopsticks because they were falling apart.

The main courses were Pak-choi (greens) with Chinese mushrooms which was bland and the disastrous 18.50 euro crispy sea bass in salt and pepper. The fish fillets were rubbery and still had the skin with a few scales on them – UGH! This was accompanied with what was called “egg fried rice” and was actually oily rice with lots of garlic and a little bit of egg.

After that, we just wanted to escape and we did with our pockets 80 euros lighter. (The restaurant also serves Japanese food – I don’t even want to think about what that might be like. )

C/ Lirias, Nueva Andalucía
Tel: +34 952 817 691

* Food – (inauthentic not good Chinese)
*** Service – (helpful and courteous, it’s not their fault the food is bad)
** Atmosphere – (o.k. but lose the muzak)

My advice: Save up and go to Tai-Pan or wait until your next trip to London’s Chinatown in Soho.

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