The Red Chinese

With more than 30 years of activity, The Red Chinese restaurant is a well-known establishment in Tel Aviv

With more than 30 years of activity, The Red Chinese restaurant is a well-known establishment in Tel Aviv. It first opened in the early 1970s, following a wave of Chinese restaurants in Israel, and since then it has left all competitors far behind. In fact it is the only one that kept on going, and in full capacity: families and groups of diners still come here every night, many of them are regular diners. Business meals are offered at lunch time, delivery service is operated all day long and the restaurant even caters for all kinds of events.

The secret must lie in its ability to keep it to its familiar classics, while staying up to date with new trends coming from the Asian kitchen - Dim Sum, for instance, or the selection of Thai dishes that were recently introduced. What can indecisive people like us do? Try a little bit of everything. So we started with a classic Chinese rich corn soup, which was fortified with fresh corn beans. We continued with my personal addiction – sushi, of course, and then my partner had the beef and chicken dim sum, while I had the steamed eggroll. This Vietnamese eggroll version – a thin steamed rice paper filled with rich vegetables and chicken – is lighter than its Chinese parallel.

On our main courses he focused on duck in pineapple, which is his favorite in Chinese restaurants. It is especially good here: brownish pieces of clean duck meat, stir-fried with garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, peas and pineapple, in a sauce that managed to avoid the sweetness trap, as this dish sometimes does. It was served with Thai rice fried in vegetables – untraditional combination, still, a good one.

Since he was very pleased with his own dish, I was happy myself, as I could enjoy my own celebration of tastes with a great Thai dish made of coconut milk with chicken strips, eggplants, green curry sauce and basil. The chicken kept to its juiciness, while the rest of the ingredients gave it additional tastes and colors. The white rice side dish happily absorbed all of these tastes.

To tell the truth, we could have ended this meal at this point with some green tea, but the dessert menu was too tempting to ignore. Next to traditional stuff such as litchi and fried banana, the menu offered some very un-Chinese desserts such as tiramisu and chocolate mousse, Crème brûlée and something called White Drop. The Crème brûlée dish is a delight made of layers of crispy almond pastry with Crème brûlée in-between, all decorated with toffee-caramel sauce. The White Drop is in fact white chocolate shaped like a drop, coated with white ganache and almonds, covering a heart of berry jelly.

Our fortune cookie said, "Enjoyable experiences will make you happy". This could not have been more accurate.