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In Barcelona's Chinatown, next to the Arc de Triomf, there's a Chinese restaurant that's considered the most authentic in the city. Chen Ji forgoes artificial decorations for exquisitely prepared dishes following the original traditions of the rich cuisine, which have been disappearing thanks to the increasing popularity of Japanese cuisine and the multitude of Chinese restaurants that have more in common with a laundry than a place that makes for great dining.
The clientele at Chen Ji is mostly Chinese, which is a good sign. Once inside, close your eyes and go on a five-star journey without leaving the table and without paying through the nose. At Chen Ji, you won't find fried-rice inventions or any other kind of fake Chinese food. Instead you get handmade noodles that are nicely flavoured with vegetables or beef with cashews, and the guo tie is delicious.
If you want to try anything out of the ordinary like jellyfish or duck tongue, just ask your server. I had my doubts: the menu is quite extensive, but I listened to the waiter, who hinted that the portions were generous, and whose recommendation I took and ordered the Peking duck. It took a while for the dish to arrive, so while I waited I enjoyed a Tsingtao Chinese beer, also priced right.
The wait was well worth it. The Peking duck turned out to be a delight. With toasted skin and juicy meat, it was paired a Chinese crepe of fresh onions and a seafood sauce, which turned my meal into a fun and pleasurable experience. This is a place that will cure you of so many mistreated meals.
Alí Bei, 65
|Transport:||Arc de Triomf (M: L1)|
|Opening hours:||Daily 9am-midnight.|