Many of us may think we know a lot about Chinese cooking, that we have tried just about all there is to try in Cantonese cuisine and that it is all basically served with rice or noodles accompanied by Prawn Crackers; that’s the sum of Chinese food. Right? Wrong?
San Eugenio - 22.12.2007
- Firstly China is a huge, vast, enormous country, in fact few of us can actually imagine how big it really is. Now, imagine the variety of foods that come from a relatively small country like, for instance, England, and multiply it by the relative size of China, and you are only beginning to grasp the breadth and complexity of Chinese cooking. It would seem impossible to sample the best of real Chinese cooking.
Luckily here in Tenerife we have China Town, offering one of the best selections of Chinese food in the islands. And a real plus, they also offer a superb dim sum range. Dim sum is a typical Chinese aperatif, often served as a brunch, and is eaten from morning to early afternoon. When we visited China Town, in CC Las Carabelas, San Eugenio, for lunch, I decided to follow the Chinese and try a selection served with Chinese tea. We opted for the one of the many dim sum combinations to sample as many tastes as possible. Some of the small parcels of food were served on a plate, others in a steam basket, as is common.
As was explained to us, the variety of dim sum depends on its region of origin, with those from the North of the country often favoured for their colourful style in presentation, aroma and flavour. Ideal too for the health conscious, dim sum is a healthy and low cholesterol option. We tried Shia Chiao, steamed dumplings stuffed with shrimp and bamboo shoots, Sau Mai, caprichos stuffed with pork, shrimp and water chestnut, and Siau Long Pao, parcles of pork and chinese cabbage, among other delights. As dim sum is served in small portions we were able to sample quite a variety and still leave room for the main course.
This was my first visit to China Town but luckily I was accompanied by a regular who persuaded me that despite what we Western Europeans may think, Chinese cooking extends well beyond beef, pork and duck. Ordering a house special I went for the lamb with ginger and spring onions while he chose King Prawns with Satey sauce. Both were obviously freshly prepared, the lamb cooked to perfection, tender and succulent, and the prawns were also, I was assured, of the highest quality. China Town is run by Ugo and Mei Mei who arrived on Tenerife 24 years ago with their children Montse, who is now a music professor in Arona and David, who is a biologist. The family are actually from Taiwan. Ugo worked for the Taiwanese military for 16 years and Mei Mei in government administration, but given the political situation with China the family decided that a safer lifestyle was to be had elsewhere. Mei Mei had family in Puerto de la Cruz which is where they first settled and worked until 1989 when they opened China Town in South Tenerife. The family have become an intrinsic part of the culinary scenery on the island, and Ugo also operates two farms where he grows most of his produce, and is a much sought after supplier of bean sprouts. His Ugo Salad is also a favourite among regulars (it’s not on the menu) and all the sauces are specials from his kitchen. China Town (which also caters for take away customers) is a lunch time and evening favourite spot among a vast number of residents as well as a delightful discovery for visitors. Great food, reasonable prices and excellent service are part and parcel of the China Town experience, and if you can’t find parking nearby you can park in the El Niño complex, bring Ugo the ticket which he will sign so your parking is free. The only wish that Ugo and Mei Mei have is that you arrive as a client and leave as a friend – a wish that has come true many time over if the word of many loyal clients and friends is to be believed. They will have the same great menu on offer all over the holiday season, with no increase in prices. Try it for yourself and become part of the China Town gang.
CC Las Carabelas,
Table Reservations: 922 714 615
OPEN NEW YEAR’S DAY