Chinese food is having a moment in Madrid, and I love it! If like me you enjoy the real deal, try “El Winnie”, as it has been baptised by locals because pictures of the lovable bear feature everywhere, (although it is so unfiltered Chinese that the real name, Restaurante Xiongzai, is only displayed in Mandarin.) Don’t tell Disney!
Their speciality is Sichuan, so expect spicy, or ask them to hold the chilli! I always order bao; soft, pillowy steamed dumplings, stuffed with pork, lamb or cabbage. Soupy noodles are the star of the show here though – so hot and spicy your eyes will water! Just the thing for winter weather. My favourite dish is the cold noodles with peanuts and cucumber in a spicy sesame sauce though; it’s really refreshing. There’s also some very popular pulled pork sandwiches, Chinese style. There has been a refurb recently and there are now more tables although during the pandemic they are keeping it half empty. Expect to queue outside – it’s worth it, I promise!
Avoid the lunch crowd by coming before 14:00, when you’ll find mostly Chinese customers; a good sign. It’s also the perfect place to eat late after a movie at the nearby original version cinemas. They have a continuous menu, and it’s cheap – it’s difficult to spend more than 10€, even including drinks. They do takeaway too and this is more popular than ever right now.