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Secret to good eating in Spain - Chinese!

MarkC Apr 24, 2011 07:55 AM

Just got back from a ten day vacation in Spain. We had a wonderful time, so I don't want to sound too negative, so I'll just say that the food was not one of the highlights. In general, I find Spanish food bland and mediocre and the restaurants are vastly overpriced. You may not agree with me, but if you're in Spain and find you can't swallow another heavy, dull, overpriced meal, then go find the nearest Asian restaurant. There are now many upscale places that serve copious quantities of deliciously prepared food at very reasonable prices.

We ate at a place called Shake in San Sebastian that was great (all Spaniards, no tourists). In Bilbao on the pedestrian walkway in the new town we ate at a place called Asia Chic that was fantastic, huge portions of seafood plus a good bottle of wine for exactly the same price we paid for a truly lousy meal at a Spanish restaurant the night before. Down the street there was another place called Shanghai Cafe that also looked great.

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  1. PBSF Apr 24, 2011 11:49 AM

    It is quite sad that you didn't like any of the food in Spain. There is such variety, from the best seafood to lamb, pork, vegetables, cheeses and wines. It is true that if you like spicy, Spanish food is not that. Sometimes, a country's food just doesn't match an individual's taste. That is part of life. But I don't find Spain an expensive country to eat in, even in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona nor San Sebastian. Actually it is quite reasonable compare to much of Europe. If you are from the US, maybe it is just the exchange rate right now.

    1. j
      JuanDoe Apr 24, 2011 12:23 PM

      Hay gente pa tó (It takes all kinds to make a world)

      1. q
        Quimbombo Apr 24, 2011 12:35 PM

        ..ÑO !!!!

        You're right I totaly disagree with you on Spains' heavy, dull and overpriced meals bit.

        1. SnackHappy Apr 24, 2011 02:05 PM

          Actually, I've found the Chinese food in Spain, for the most part, to be quite pedestrian. Not even as good as the stuff we have in Montreal.

          But really, finding delicious affordable Spanish food in Spain is about as easy as falling off a log.

          1. Robert Lauriston Apr 24, 2011 02:23 PM

            Living in the San Francisco area it wouldn't occur to me to think about Chinese food in San Sebastian, but there's no reason good Chinese chefs couldn't do great things with the local seafood, just as they do here.

            On the other hand, one Spanish-language review says Shake serves Japanese food but is run by Chinese, which doesn't sound promising.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              SnackHappy Apr 24, 2011 02:50 PM

              That's something I noticed when I was living in Barcelona. Almost all Japanese restaurants were Chinese owned and operated. That being said, it doesn't mean they can't be good, but sushi restaurants that serve Peking Duck always set off alarm bells for me.

              1. re: SnackHappy
                Aleta Apr 24, 2011 04:03 PM

                <<Almost>> is an important word in SnackHappy's sentence since there is Koy Shunka and Shunka. Definitely operated, if not owned, by a Japanese fellow.

                Agree with SnackHappy on the Peking Duck.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                butterfly Apr 24, 2011 05:26 PM

                Not to lend any credence to the original point of this thread, but here in Madrid we have a big Chinese population doing good stuff with the local ingredients, farms growing Chinese vegetables, and lots of Chinese importers bringing in what isn't produced here.

              3. t
                trvlcrzy Apr 24, 2011 04:51 PM

                Don't know what you're talking about Mark. Are you sure you visited Spain? Never had a bad meal there ever. And yes, the Chinese restaurants are very mediocre. Spain has the BEST and well priced meals in all of Europe that I have visited IMHO...plus, I am Asian.

                1 Reply
                1. re: trvlcrzy
                  Ptipois May 4, 2011 12:37 AM

                  I am totally dumbfounded as I'm discovering this thread. How can one go to San Sebastian and Bilbao and not find any good Spanish food, between all the pintxos places and the asadores, that I don't get.

                2. morganwong May 3, 2011 11:45 PM

                  I would never dream of going to a Chinese restaurant in San Sebastian, not in my wildest hallucination, and I am Chinese American. Just my humble opinion.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: morganwong
                    Aleta May 4, 2011 09:51 AM

                    I am thrice-removed! Imagine that, Parigi! :-P

                    For the record, Chinese food is best in China. Spanish food is best in Spain.

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