Usera: the delicious Chinese district of Madrid
One of the things I like to do most of my life is to try the Chinese food of each place I visit. Whenever I travel, wherever, I find out where there is a restaurant to visit. That's how I discovered that Chinese food in Buenos Aires is boring, and that eating Chinese in Prague is a mistake that will cost you, fortunately, no more than € 5.
I like cities that more than restaurants, they have communities or preferably Chinese neighborhoods, because this translates into food, good, authentic and generally economic.
I am totally convinced that cities that have Chinese neighborhoods are more fun, and in Madrid , the city from which I write these lines, there is a Chinatown.
Ni hao, Usera
It may not have an arch in the entrance and it may not be promoted as a tourist attraction and that in fact, is not even remotely popular, but in fact, Madrid has its own Chinese neighborhood, residential and commercial, and precisely because it is not "famous" is that it is fun.
This is Usera , a district that is located to the south of the city, passing the Manzanares River, and that for some years has become in one of the areas with the most Chinese residents in the Spanish capital.
In Usera you can find streets almost exclusively full of Chinese shops (shops, restaurants, markets) and several others with fewer of these but also leave between one and another portal a few characters of the Asian country indicating "something" unintelligible to us.
The Chinese community established in Usera has well-established its neighborhood: from its places to eat, hairdressers, clothing stores, Chinese wedding photography services, seniors, even law offices for immigration issues.
And well, let's talk about the fun.
The amount of Chinese restaurants in Usera always makes me feel like a child in front of a Marvel toy showcase.
On any street you can find several places to eat, all with their characters written in Chinese and their respective translation into Spanish.
Some offer the classic menu of the day and, generally, they put in Spanish the most known dishes for the Spanish palate. But if you're like me and you like real food, chicken hearts, guts, green vegetables and tofu, just check the menu or tell the waiter that you want real Chinese food.
You can also go so "safe" and enter any of the restaurants where there are only Chinese eating and where possibly the waiter speaks a minimum of acceptable Castilian. And if the menu is not in Spanish, simply point to the plate of any diner from another table. Take a risk, but be careful if you do not eat spicy 😀
Strolling through the streets of Usera you can see everything from completely homemade restaurants, to dining rooms dedicated exclusively to seafood, or places where the protagonist is the roast duck.
Apart from a lot of Chinese restaurants, in Usera there are some Japanese, Thai, but above all Peruvian restaurants and Bolivians. There is also a doner kebab with the menu written in Chinese characters.
Ahh, there are also a few Spanish tascas, but these do not have anything written in Chinese.
In the case Of the Peruvian restaurants, there are some that have half the menu with Chinese dishes and the other half from Peru.While I invite you to be curious, you get in any place and then tell me your experience, I'll talk about a couple of places.
The Royal Cantonese
The Royal Cantonese restaurant is possibly the best known of Madrid's Chinatown and possibly one of the most popular in the whole city.
It's always crowded, especially on weekends. In fact if you do not have a reservation, you can hardly get a table.
You can read more about this delicious Chinese restaurant in this post dedicated exclusively to my gastronomic experience in that place:
- Chinese food in Madrid: Royal Cantonese restaurant.
Anyway, as I said before, in Usera there are many gastronomic options, so do not worry if you do not get a table at the Royal Cantonese, let curiosity be your guide and eat at somewhere else.
For example, you can visit the Lomite restaurant. Here is my review of this place:
- Lomite Chinese Restaurant
The experience of visiting Usera is quite particular, because apart from being a Chinatown, it also has a significant percentage of Peruvian and Bolivian immigrants , then you can see Chinese, Bolivian and Peruvian restaurants in the same street, and I do not know about you, but I find that very funny.