I have had a fondness for Chinese food ever since wee Ronald took me for a slap up meal on my first ever date. We were both convinced the waiter was a spy when he came out with exactly what we wanted without asking for our order first. After peering into the flower arrangement and candle on the table to check if we were being bugged, it dawned on us that we’d just been served from the afternoon set menu. Cue much throat-clearing and face fanning, ‘Whew, is it hot in here?’
A few years after that memorable meal I moved to Hong Kong and stayed there for 15 years. I loved going into the cavernous dim sum restaurants where scary old women pushed carts of dumplings around bellowing at the customers and chucking baskets of steamed goodies on the table. The customers bellowed at each other too and if you didn’t know better, you would’ve thought that full scale bloodshed was imminent at any moment.
At the other end of the scale there were beautiful colonial style restaurants, all teak wood and softly whirling fans. The waiters and waitresses were without fail, graceful, beautiful and softly spoken. They had a way of melting into the discrete wood panelling only to materialise at your elbow before you even knew you were ready to order. Food in this type of establishment was always beautifully presented whether it was simple dumplings or an elaborately presented festive suckling pig.
I’ve yet to find any restaurant outside of Asia that has successfully recreated the happy bedlam of an authentic dim sum restaurant but I have found a wonderful Chinese restaurant that fits into the ‘colonial’ style very nicely. I’ve been in Tenerife for nearly ten years now (where does the time go?) and I have had my share of mediocre styrofoam noodles and cheap and cheerful Chinese buffets here – not that as a mum of two kids there isn’t a place for cheap and cheerful buffets – but oh, what a relief when a friend took me out to the wonderful Overseas Oriental Kitchen.
It was like being transported back in time to my days in Hong Kong before the handover. Walking inside you might at first do a double take. What? No red flock, no gold dragons? The Overseas Oriental bears no resemblance whatsoever to your typical Tenerife touristy Chinese restaurant. But then your typical touristy Chinese restaurant bears little resemblance to any restaurant I actually ate in in Hong Kong.
On the other hand the cool elegance of the Oriental Overseas Kitchen reminded me very much of many a long leisurely meal enjoyed with friends in Hong Kong and pre-1997 China. The Chinese menu is enhanced with several Malaysian dishes inspired by owner Tommy’s Malaysian upbringing and all are cooked fresh in full view through the large glass window to the kitchen.
I don’t know about you, but I mentally gloss over advertisements that say anything is ,’…the best’. How does the writer know? If he was to say that any restaurant was the best in Los Cristianos how does he know? Has he eaten in every single one of them? Has he done an extensive poll? The best what anyway? Best food, best location, best toilets?
So all I can tell you is that as far as Chinese restaurants go, Overseas Oriental is the best I have visited in Tenerife – and quite possibly the best I have been in since leaving Hong Kong. I highly recommend it. If you want to pay a visit you can find a map and a €5 token on the Oversea Oriental Kitchen webpage on eTenerife.
Please feel free to comment back and thank me for the recommendation. I know you’ll have a lovely night.