This afternoon we eat at Pato Pekin, a Chinese restaurant in Santa Eularia. James in our dining party has a severe intolerance to MSG but our Spanish dining companions have never heard of it. They think this place has the best tasting food, maybe because they’ve not realised their Secret Ingredient. The waitresses don’t speak English so I try my halting Mandarin with them. It’s strange having Spanish spoken all around me but trying to converse in a language other than English. I try to explain what MSG is to the waitresses, finally succeeding with “Ajinomoto”. “Ah!” she exclaims, “Ah-hee-no-moto, wei jing,” she pronounces with a Spanish ‘J’ and a marked Beijing accent.
The food is well executed and tasty, if a little heavy handed with the soya sauce and MSG. The chef is not restaurant trained, but a skilled home cook. There are distinct Shanghai and Northern influences, but he’s obliged to make the more popular Cantonese style stir-fries – chop suey is also on the menu. The prices are decent and the set menus for one or two are particularly good value, hovering around €8 to 10 per person; otherwise a la carte dishes are between €9 and 14.