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Golden China (Casablanca, Morocco)
||12 Rue El Oraibi Jilali,|
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2009 Issue: 16(3) page: 25 and 26
This golden beauty is one of several Asian eateries in Casablanca and the only Chinese one listed and featured in Best Restaurants Maroc in both the 2008 and 2009 editions; and perhaps in others. The Chinese proprietor, Szu Chiang Chiu and her well-trained Chinese chef, Chun Hwa Chan, are pictured in the 2009 volume.
GOLDEN CHINA features classic and beautiful Qing decor, elegant service; and the book says "is the best Chinese kitchen in the country" and we agree, at least as far as our experiences indicated. Waiting for our order, pao cai arrives marinated in fine rice vinegar and accompanied by small saucers of soy and chili. Pickled and perfect, the orange carrots with their green centers are lovely and luscious. These unusual carrots are also sweet and savory, and a variety never seen before. This restaurant, in operation since 1993, serves small portions that look, are cooked, and taste Chinese style. They meet local expectations but have discernable Chinese seasonings; though soy sauce is in short supply.
An order of sui mai has six dumplings for four of us. They are in soft wonton skins and look like lovely flowers. Filled with chicken, shrimp, and vegetables, they are a fine start, enjoyed after opening our fan-shaped napkins sitting atop our upside-down rice bowls. We enjoy them under red Chinese lanterns hanging from a beautiful wooden ceiling.
All dishes, classically Cantonese, are served by folk who remind us that theirs is the only real Chinese restaurant in town. One server add, "in all of Morocco." The Sauteed Eggplant in Garlic Sauce is classic, though short on garlic and sesame oil. The Red Stewed Duck arrives in a dark brown sauce loaded with slices of scallions. Deep-fried, then boiled, and finally stir-fried, it comes swimming in a dark brown sauce, sweet and with little garlic. Szechuan Stew Fish in Hot Bean Sauce comes covered with yummy mashed black bean sauce. We lap it up after our non-Chinese waiter expertly removes the center bone knowing not to turn the fish on its other side. All food here is tasty, cooked Cantonese style, with vegetables soft, silky, and super. Their protein accompaniments are cooked longer than most Cantonese appreciate.
So yes, Chinese food can be had in Morocco, but not everywhere. Almost all of it as Cantonese food was everywhere years ago; and we do enjoy having it.