Madrid Cheap Eat Series: Ni Hao Chinese

There was a Japanese, a Chinese, and an Australian… (sounds like the start of a racist joke?) WELL IT´S NOT.

Recently I´ve been educated into the finer aspects of Chinese dining whilst having dinner with some friends from the UNWTO. Being a global organization, the mix of staff does not favor one single origin but a vast group of multi-regional, multi-lingual employees from around the globe. All social events become a learning adventure that make you a more well-rounded global citizen… or something like that?!!!!

Ni Hao Chinese Restaurant (Calle de Silva, 20) in Madrid had been given the two thumbs up from a Chinese girl at work and considering that many of this group was currently taking Chinese lessons in their lunch hour, it proved a great place for a night out.

I tried a variety of weird and wonderful food such as jellyfish, and Mu Err Mushrooms (which I thought were the strangest noodles ever), and was educated about proper dining etiquette which is very important to traditional Chinese, who feel good manners can invite luck.

5 things I learned from my Dining Experience:

  1. Don’t use chopsticks to hit the side of your bowl or plate to make a lot of noise. Only beggars would be seen doing this in China.
  2. Chopstick skills display education and status. Someone with poor skills is seen as being uneducated, as their parents have not taught them well.
  3. Finishing all the food on the table is impolite. Frustrating when it´s so delicious that you want to lick the plate. Finishing all the food implies that the host could not feed you – that they did not provide enough food for their guests. Therefore if you´re eating with Chinese, always order a little more than you´ll need.
  4. When eating soup, don´t scoop straight from your bowl on the table to your mouth. This is “eating like a dog”. Instead hold your bowl and eat / drink from that.
  5. Contrary to what I thought – for Chinese people at least, slurping your soup is also impolite.  However eating with your mouth open is acceptable as long as you don´t make noise.

So there you have it. Food for thought! We ordered 15 dishes between 8 of us with drinks and the bill was still under 100 euros, so it’s worth the visit if you’re getting sick of boccadillos and jamon!

(Ps excuse the less than ideal iphoneography)

This entry was published on October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm. It’s filed under Cheap Eats, Spain and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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