Neither Dabiz Muñoz nor Alberto Chicote nor Mario Sandoval.

The most sought-after chef in Madrid for years

is called Liang Wang

and he was the chef of the mythical Chinese restaurant in Plaza de España.

Wang has now been rescued

in another location on Leganitos street

, which recovers the kitchen and the spirit of that Zhou Yu Long, although the owner is not the same.

Word of mouth has worked and the new restaurant, called Shangrila,

already registers kilometric queues

on weekends.

In the kitchen, Liang Wang prepares the dishes at lightning speed.

Despite having been in Spain for 17 years,

he barely speaks Spanish


The manager of the premises, Lian Min Sun, does the work of translator.

What is the key to the success of your kitchen?


It is homemade food

that my parents and grandparents have taught me," says Wang, surrounded by three other cooks who prepare the noodles in huge pots.

Interestingly, the kitchen of this restaurant is papered with signs replete with instructions for employees, giving an idea of ​​the discipline that governs Asian businesses.

Group chats , absenteeism, lateness, theft, disorder, violence, using a mobile phone, being drunk, being lazy and even sowing discord and speaking ill of other colleagues or managers

are prohibited .

In addition, it is mandatory to smile, provide good customer service, keep the uniform and the floor clean and work with team spirit.

If the employee does not comply with the rules, the company threatens

with fines of 100 euros

in case of theft and 20 euros if he arrives drunk, dirty or talks on the mobile phone.

Oblivious to these instructions, Wang walks through the kitchen and goes from pot to pot watching and cooking the preparations.

His favorite dish

of his are pork ribs

because they have a very characteristic flavor and, if we talk about Spanish cuisine, he prefers paella.

The cook Liang Wang. JAVIER BARBANCHO

Wang spent years working in the Plaza de España establishment until its closure.

He then moved to the

El Pato Lacaado restaurant in Pozuelo de Alarcón

and ended up in Shangrila, which opened its doors in April 2022.

At 1:30 on a Tuesday,

the line already begins

at the doors of this place, as was the case with the underground passageway of the Plaza de España car park, which had to close in 2019 due to remodeling works on the esplanade.

It was a pioneer place in its day as it was one of the first restaurants in Madrid

that served authentic Chinese food


Thus, a gap was made between his compatriots and the clientele of the capital.

The establishment did not have great pretensions but the charm of the seedy.

The formula for the success of that small tavern, with just nine tables, was very simple:

popular dishes for only 4 or 5 euros

served very quickly to achieve maximum table turnover.


Some of these well-known dishes are repeated in Shangrila, such as the homemade noodle soup,

the dumplings

and the stir-fried chicken with vegetables, but the menu has changed.

"Before we had a lot of Chinese clientele and now we have more Spanish diners and foreign tourists. We have adapted the menu and added new dishes to meet demand," says manager Lian Min Sun.

Chinatown, in the center

The restaurant is located on Calle Leganitos, a small Chinatown in the heart of Madrid.

This street, behind the Gran Vía, is dotted with 26 Chinese businesses:

supermarkets selling Asian products

, food stores, travel agencies and hairdressers.

Undoubtedly, the most numerous are

the nail and massage shops

, which proliferate everywhere and which the residents believe are brothels camouflaged as beauty centers.

Nacho runs one of the few local businesses left on the street.

"The owners of a lifetime have been retiring and the Chinese have been taking over the businesses. But they do not generate problems. The reform of the Plaza de España and the arrival of hotels such as the Riu or the VP

have greatly promoted this area, which It

was degraded

. Now the type of customers has changed a lot," says the manager of the Priper cafeteria.

The origin of this Chinatown in the city (long before Usera) can be explained in the passageway of the Plaza de España car park, where not only the restaurant was located,

but also a travel agency

and an Asian supermarket.

"At the beginning of the 80s, it was a reference store to buy soybeans and other oriental items, which were not easy to find in our country before. Little by little, Chinese merchants wanted to settle in the neighborhood, but

the rentals of the square and the Gran Vía were very expensive

, so they settled on Leganitos street", recalls Javier Junquera, general secretary of the Orient Foundation, specialized in the integration of the Chinese community in Spain

One of the Asian supermarkets in Leganitos.JB

Asians have always had

a very special relationship with the Plaza de España

, much more than with other emblematic places in Madrid such as Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor.

In fact, on the weekend of February 4 and 5, the Temple Fair will be held there, a tradition of religious origin that is common to celebrate in China.

During the event, the Asian community will organize shows, cultural

displays and calligraphy, crafts and gastronomy exhibitions in

order to bring the Madrid public closer to Chinese culture.

Asian restaurants are not limited to Leganitos street, but have also spread behind the Hotel Riu, on

Calle de los Reyes and in San Bernardino

, in the heat of famous venues such as the King of Noodles or Xiongzai , known as the Chinese Winnie the Pooh.

Its affordable prices and its fast service cause that on weekends there are slaps in the face to find a table.

The same thing happens in Shangrila, although the service is not as fast or efficient as its predecessor.

"I have come because I have read it on the networks,

but I expected more

. The food has arrived a little cold," declares an Andalusian couple, recently arrived in Madrid to see the musical


by Nacho Cano.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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