Madrid is a fabulous city for eating out. For the adventurous, boundless opportunities for exciting dining exist all over the city. However, those who crave spicy food, and I mean really spicy food, are often disappointed by the dearth of options.
Some Peruvian restaurants make brave attempts to keep up their spicy tradition, but most succumb to the whims of their autochthonous diners by watering down the kick. Kitchen 154, a mecca for spicy food in the market of Vallehermoso, does a pretty good job. Cruel, there own chili brand, is pretty fiery .
Earlier this year, Madrid’s barrio of Usera; a gritty, slightly run-down area, and home to a totally authentic Chinatown, was turned into a riot of color and boomed with the sound of South American music as Spain’s Bolivian community danced up Calle Dolores Barranco, one of the main arteries in Usera, and the beating heart of Madrid’s Chinese Community.
Only a few weeks before the Bolivian parade, thousands of Madrileños (people who live in Madrid) had lined the same street to watch Madrid’s Chinese community celebrate Chinese New Year and welcomed in the year of the Pig. It appears that the two communities are going to battle it out every year to see who can put on the best show in Calle Dolores Barranco (both parades were pretty good).
I must admit, though I am a great Sinophile, I think the Bolivians edged it this year with a display of extravagance and vibrant music that lasted three hours compared to the much shorter Chinese New Year Parade. I am sure the Chinese comunity are going to up the ante at next year’s New Year parade.
For people who don’t know Madrid; Usera is a District south of the Manzanares River that cuts through the city. It’s quite close to the historic center and near the hotly promoted Madrid Rio green area. This area was created by putting the enourmous ring road, the M30, underground and building a park above it. In the last decade Usera has become home to thousands of people from China.
They have created a Chinatown were any Chinese citizen could probably live without ever having to venture any further out into Madrid. All services and whims that a Chinese person would want are catered for so that they need not feel they have left China.
There are numerous streets where nearly all business signs are in Mandarin characters. From restaurants, supermarkets and hair salons to real estate businesses, lawyer’s offices, and churches, the presence of the Chinese community is everywhere. Unlike other Chinatowns in Europe, such as London’s Chinatown which is more orientated to tourism, the Chinese community in Usera, live, work and have their businesses in this area.
Usera is also home to a large Latin American population, especially from Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia. This year, the Bolivians put on a fantastic show with their colorful carnival parade. The festival was called FIACBOL, Carnaval Boliviano en Madrid 2019. In 2018 the FIACBOL parade took place in the Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid’s main streets.
More recently young Madridleños have begun moving into the area as rising rents and house prices have pushed younger people further from the city center
And yes, the word gentrification is being banded around and there are rumors that Calle Dolores Barranco could be pedestrianized in order to make way for a touristy Chinatown. The neighbours are not impressed. Calle dolores Barranco is a busy commercial street where people live and make a living from small businesses. The last thing that the street needs is to be turned into a gaudy tourist trap. Let it be and keep it authentic.
If you missed this year’s parade but fancy seeing traditional Bolivian and other South American dancing just go along to Parque Pradolongo, the fourth biggest park in Madrid, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon and you’ll be treated to quite a show.
This park is where Madrid’s Latin population practices their traditional dances. A visit to Pradolongo makes for a great off- the – beaten track excursion when visiting Madrid.
You can finish the excursion off with a fantastic meal in one of the many fabulous Chinese restaurants in Usera, where every culinary corner of China is represented.
The quiet and attractive barrio of Pacifico just outside the historic center of Madrid may not the place you’d expect to find one of the most exotic beers from Taiwan’s famous Taihu Brewery. But just step inside the amazing and cozy beer shop, Espuma, (C/. Juan de Urbieta 13, Local 16, 28007, MADRID, Metro L1 y L6 Pacífico y L1 Menéndez Pelayo.), and you’ll find yourself immersed in the world of craft beers.
The owners are real experts on craft beer and brewing and have started to make their own delicious beer Wit-toria. Apart from the many delicious beers for sale in bottles and, increasingly, in attractive tins, they always have two beers on tap for customers to try.
Taihu Smoked Plum Lichtenhainer臺虎烏梅
On this particular day when I visited Espuma, they had on tap Taihu Smoked Plum Lichtenhainer 臺虎烏梅. It’s a beer that doesn’t leave anyone indifferent: you’ll either love it, or find it downright weird! For me, it was weird on the first sip; then love on the second one.
It’s the use of these smoked plums that gives the Taihu Smoked Plum Lichtenhainer 臺虎烏梅 a smoky fruitiness that no other beer can match; furthermore, it has a refreshing sour tartness that quenches any thirst, even when it is 35º outside. I hope the barrel, the only one they have in the shop, won’t run out too soon!
The flavor of sour plums, smoked or sweet, is one of my favorite flavors from China and Taiwan. These sour plums, together with rock sugar and other ingredients like sweet osmanthus, are used to make a refreshing cold drink known as Suanmeitang 酸梅汤 often sold in street markets. Even though it is called a soup in Chinese, it is actually a drink. Besides refreshing, Suanmeitang is also believed to be good for your health, as it improves digestion and may inhibit the buildup of lactic acid.
The type of beer used in the Smoked Sour Plum is the Lichtenhainer. This description comes from www.beeradvocate.com:
“Lichtenhainer is also a pale beer brewed from lightly smoked malt, though only barley malt is used. The approximately 8º Plato wort is very lightly hopped and only boiled very briefly and exposed to either a spontaneously appearing or deliberately started lactic acid bacteria infection that gives the beer its weakly sour taste. The mostly young beer, which isn’t expected to be clear, is usually served from a barrel.”
Combining both smoky and sour tastes in one beer is unusual—but not unique. At least not in the past: In the first half of the 19th century, Berliner Weisse was also brewed with smoked malt”.
About the Brewery: Taihu Brewing (臺虎精釀):
The Taihu Brewery is Taiwan’s number one craft beer brewery. It has 5 five founders, three Taiwanese and two Americans. Due to Taiwanese laws forbidding brewing inside the capital, brewing takes place in an industrial area outside Taipei. However, the company has a number of taprooms at prime locations throughout the city to satisfy the demands of its thirsty customers (see below).
Apart from the amazing variety of beers, which include IPAs under the name Hop Lanterns, and a host of experimental beers including one made with Kumquat oranges, Kumquat Kölsch (金桔科隆), Taihu Brewery has also developed a Coffee IPA (blond) that uses Coffee from Kenya. This IPA is exclusively sold in Starbucks Reserve location in Shanghai.
The attractive logo below uses the two characters that make up Taihu 臺虎. Tai 臺 is for Taiwan and Hu 虎 is for tiger.
Another thing that really makes Taihu’s beers stand out are the incredible designs of the labels on the tins, created by the Taiwanese artist Yao Ruizhong（姚瑞中). Each can represents a different Taiwanese landmark. Take a look below.
The red of Wuling Maple Farm, Taichung (台中武陵): ‘Mai Xiang’ (麥鄉), or Taihu Bright Ale‘:
The blue of Si Shou Moutain, Taipei (台北四兽山): ‘Taihu IPA (臺虎IPA)’:
The purple of Beinan, Taitung (台東卑南): ‘Xiao Mai’(臺虎小麥), or Taihu Weisse’:
and the green of Guanziling Hotspring, Taichung (台中關子嶺): ‘Kumquat Kölsch (金桔科隆)’:
Cursos de chino en Madrid / Chinese Language Courses in Madrid 2013 /2014
Universidad Complutense Madrid /Learn Chinese in the Complutense University in Madrid
Curso de chino mandarin en Madrid 2013/2014
Como todos los años el CSIM (Centro Superior de Idioma Modernas) te ofrecen cursos de chino en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Las fechas son del 14 de octobre 2013 hasta el 31 de mayo 2014: 3 horas semanales. Todo/as los profesores son licenciadas y con ampliar experiencia en impartir clases de chino. Para mas informacion clic haz clic en este enlace: http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/idiomas/cursos/generales.htm
Beijing Time is the title of an exhibition that is currently being held at the Matadero (Paseo de la Chopera 14), a centre dedicated to contemporary creative arts in Madrid. The exhibition has been organised by Casa Asia.
The title refers to the fact that the whole of the vast territory that makes up China, is run according to whatever time it is in the capital; regardless of the inconvenience this causes in the far-flung border regions. For instance, when it’s 9am in Beijing, it’s only 6 am in Xinjiang. Depending on the political stance you take, Beijing Time can be seen as a symbol of unity, or the government’s attempt to impose this unity.
Last week, the Chinese community in Madrid celebrated the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, right in the centre of the city. The parade started in the emblematic Puerta del Sol (where we live), and finished in Plaza de España, passing the Royal Palace on the way.
Each year the parade seems to increase in size, both in the number of participants and spectators. In years gone by, the celebration was limited to the charismatic neighbourhood of Lavapiés, where many Chinese have their wholesale businesses. These days, the narrow, hilly streets of Lavapiés have become too small for the growing celebration.
The parade included all the usual dancing dragons, lions and people dressed in folkloric costumes. Martial arts displays, mostly performed by Continue reading “HolaChina wishes everybody a happy Year of the Tiger from Madrid.”