Clichéd Chinese Food, or ‘Twas a dark and stormy night…’
Actually in the town of Benissa, on the coastal road between Moraira and Calpe is the Chinese ‘Restaurant Asia.’ Sister to the ‘Gran Murala’ in Calpe, they portray themselves as Asian, rather than purely Chinese. This allows them to add some ‘interesting’ items to their menu.
The extensive menu does take a bit of time to more than glance through, and it would be nice if the wait staff would give you ample time to check out all the offerings. However, we did come to some agreement on the evening’s fare, and decided to try out three Asian ethnicities – Thai, Indonesian, and Chinese.
As it was the aforementioned ‘dark and stormy night’ and it was chilly being the month of December, we chose to try their house red wine as a way to warm up a bit. We got a full bottle of it for an astounding three euros and ninety cents. This local Alicante wine from Tempranillo grapes is offered at almost every Chinese place up and down the coast here, and we had tried it many times before. It’s not bad for 3.90 euros in a restaurant, believe me. But this IS Spain, and the wine had better be drinkable or nobody would eat here but unsuspecting tourists… and in December there just aren’t many tourists to be found!!!
The usual plate of deep-fried rice crackers appeared. This was followed by our appetizers of Chicken Saté on bamboo skewers, covered with spicy peanut sauce and a beautifully made Thai-style shrimp salad. The salad was quite large, and offered at least six nice prawns with a rice vinegar, sugar Thai dressing over lettuce, tomatoes and sliced vegetables.
The soup course followed, and to say it was dreadful would be an understatement. It took quite some time to appear, perhaps because the chef that night had never even tried Thai Seafood Soup chopped pieces, or had a clue as to the ingredients usually offered. A thin broth with chopped pieces of shrimp and tiny lumps of indistinguishable vegetables swam around in a small bowl. Nary a bit of galangal, ginger, lime leaf, lemon grass stalk, just some chicken broth and lumps. Oh well.
The main course arrived and made up for the Thai soup. A platter of fried rice (with only veggies and egg, no meat) and also one of plain steamed white rice were placed on the hot plates in the center of the table. Sizzling Duck with spicy sauce and Prawns with ‘Salsa Chili de Guili’ soon had us enjoying our meal while sipping red wine.
Parts of the meal were truly fine, and others truly memorable… for the wrong reason.
Recently on another rainy day in southern Spain (while wintering) we tried the ‘Gran Murala’ in Calpe, which is in an older and more dreary building right on the road across from the Mercadona. The Restaurant Asia is obviously the newer of the two, and has a much nicer interior.
I would recommend either place for a quick menu lunch, as they do include wine and dessert for a great low price, with several options to choose from.
Address: On the Coastal road between Calpe and Moraira, in Alicante province. City: Benissa Postcode: Phone: Fax: Added: December 13th 2004 Reviewer: Martin Trip Score: Hits: 2260 Language: