Many cried over the closing of the first Chinese restaurant in Madrid, but El Buda Feliz 1974 has recovered the essence of its traditional Chinese cuisine. Of course, even their “lemon chicken” will surprise you with its modern proposal of traditional Chinese dishes.
You will find Chinese haute cuisine with traditional dishes reinterpreted. But not for a European chef who has traveled in China and sees everything from a Western view. But, yes, for a Chinese cook who has been in Spain for 10 years. His name is Yong Ping Zhang, Julio among friends.
The renewal of traditional Chinese cuisine started right in front of the Mercado de los Mostenses with the restaurant Lamian. And since then it’s been non-stop. There’s no cook who wants to be on the cutting edge of Southeast Asian cuisine who has not eaten in any of its restaurants.
But get an idea out of your head: it’s not the Royal Cantonés or a shabby Chinese neighborhood. It’s the perfect point of union between the most traditional Chinese food and the vanguard of Chinese haute cuisine. Don’t think you’re going to eat at El Buda Feliz 1974 for 10 euros, but it’s not going to cost you a kidney either. The dishes of its menu are plentiful and with good quality/price ratio; and they also have a couple of menus for 25€ and 35€.
I’ll tell you my experience there and you decide what to eat. I’m not a great expert in Chinese cooking, and when they brought me the menu with a lot of names in Chinese I didn’t know what to choose. That’s why I put myself in the hands of Javier, a most friendly waiter who guided me from the moment I came to El Buda Feliz 1974.
I started with the “Chunquan El Buda Feliz”. They are churros, pork loin, chives and noodle sheets. If you look at the photo, the presentation of the dish is modern, but it’s made with traditional ingredients and techniques. The usual portion is 3 rolls divided into 2 parts, but I ordered only one to be able to taste it. I tell you: crispy and delicious, like eating two dishes in one!
The choice to order a main course was so difficult that I finally ordered two ☺. The first was the “Zhou Zhua Shou Gan Mian”. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try handmade noodles. The last ones I have eaten are those of El Rey de los Tallarines. Those of La Buda Feliz 1974 are with pork, mushrooms and wok vegetables. An abundant and delicious plate, and they also have another version with real spiciness and that I will try on a cold day…
The second main course embodies the tradition and modernity of El Buda Feliz 1974: “Chuan Yi Kao Ya”. It’s lacquered duck (and very delicious) that’s eaten in crêpes. The plating is simple: first you open the crêpe, you put on the sauce, and then you add the ingredients. The duck was tasty, not like the dried meat you find in other places. And although the flavor is powerful, all the flavors were perfectly differentiated in the mouth.
In honor of the truth, beyond the “Chinese flan” I know almost nothing about Chinese pastry. For that, and for not ordering the flan, my choice was the “spicy chocolate cake and peanut ice cream”. The mixture of the spiciness of the cake with the freshness of the ice cream makes you eat it even if you’re more than full. All a success.
If you have read the entire article, you will have noticed that El Buda Feliz 1974 is not just any Chinese restaurant. Therefore, the best thing is to go with an open mind and an empty stomach to fully enjoy a very interesting gastronomic experience. And if you’re still cool with Far Eastern food, check out the Asian restaurants in Madrid that I’ve visited.
Translated by www.StoryOfMadrid.com, the podcast about Madrid in English.
El Buda Feliz 1974
Phone: +34 9126.96.36.199
Opening hours: Monday 17:00 to 0:00 h, Tuesday to Friday 12:00 to 0:00 h, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 to 0:30 h.
Address: Tudescos, 5, Madrid.
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