I’m a Brit in Spain – the name of the website kinda gives that one away – and while I love every aspect of the Spanish way of life, I’m always up for something different. I’ve always considered myself multicultural, and I love going to restaurants with other national cuisines, as well as pitching up at various fiestas. Our corner of Spain is home to many nationalities, so there’s often something different for you to find out what makes other countries tick, and you don’t have to go very far to do it.
Last year, we went to our favourite Chinese restaurant – Nan Kin Garden in Benimar – and stumbled on their Chinese New Year celebrations by accident. Not realising what we were missing, we just ordered our normal Menu del Dia, but as we saw all the food coming out, together with entertainment, party packs and free raffle tickets, we vowed that in future, we would be part of the whole Nan Kin Garden New Year experience. So, on Friday, we pitched up with our friends Glenys, June and Larry, who are over in Spain until March.
As usual, we got a great Nan Kin welcome. After the most important bit – ordering the drinks, which was doubly important, as for once I wasn’t driving – we were served with our appetisers. Appetisers? It was as much as I normally eat for a meal. Sesame toasts, spring roll, barbecued rib, pork won ton and a delicious crab thingy. Then we got a much needed break before the main course was served.
We were a bit concerned about that, because it was advertised as ‘duck on a sizzling platter and sizzling family with steamed vegetables.’ I wondered which unfortunate family had been sacrificed to feed us all, but thankfully it was just a ‘lost in translation’ moment. The sizzling family consisted of king prawns, chicken and beef in a delicous sauce with a lovely selection of vegetables. All this was accompanied by rice and noodles, and there was enough to feed 10 people, let alone the 5 on our table, but we did our best with it.
Once the food was out of the way it was time to party, and to help us along we each got a party bag, complete with hats, masks, garlands, blowers, streamers and balloons. Some people rather creatively turned the bag into a hat, and there was all sorts of silliness going on – probably helped along by the wine included with the meal.
Colt 45 provided the entertainment. They’re a husband and wife team, and he’s a wizard on the guitar, while she has a stunning voice – think Elkie Brookes meets Amy Winehouse. They sung and played all sorts of music, and really got the party going and connected with the audience. If you’ve never seen them before, you’ve missed something very special. All the diners received a free raffle ticket, and we managed to win two bottles of excellent red wine on our table. In fact, virtually everyone in the place got something, but even if you didn’t, you didn’t leave empty-handed, since each couple had a bottle of cava to take home, after the midnight firework display.
All this worked out at just over €20 a head, including a tip for the hard working, friendly staff, for whom nothing was too much trouble. All in all, it was a lot more festive than the regular New Year celebration – and a lot cheaper too. A great night was had by all, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year. Maybe we’ll see you there!