Best mapo tofu.
Mapo tofu is the hero of Chinese food outside China: the hero of China towns’ food. Really. Think about Hong King, right in China Town, north to San Juan neighborhood in Mexico City. Their menu is very long, with 100 or more things to order. Everything is tasty. Their oven-cooked ribs are surprisingly juicy, tender, porky. The side of pickled vegetables is great for piercing through the pork’s taste, like a vinegar dagger. The spiciness of the fried beef with sesame is balanced with small pieces of pineapple; tofu with vegetables is aromatically diverse: first, garlic –which may be the happiest of smells–; second, those two odd bitter sisters: broccoli and cauliflower; third, soy sauce. But mapo tofu is the best plate of Hong King, and one of the greatest of the city. (That’s why it’s on this list, my friends). It’s spicy but not too hot, meaty but wonderfully full of vegetables, delicious to the point of a broth, with hints of peas, salt, bitterness, chives. A high fist against the insipid, which seems to want to eat us in every corner.
Dolores 25-A, Barrio Chino.
Prices. A couple of orders of steamed rice, an order of sesame beef, one mapo tofu and enough to drink will be 600 pesos, including tip and those beautiful plastic containers with Chinese figurines for taking home all the leftovers. Which will be a lot of them.