Ordering Chinese food is about as American as it gets. Maybe that sounds a little oxymoronic, but it’s true. I think you’d have a hard time finding someone in the states who hasn’t ordered Chinese food before. If you’re looking for good Chinese food in Colombia, there’s a great restaurant in Medellín. It’s called the Dragon Fenix.
The Chinese-owned restaurant isn’t hard to find because it’s at a popular intersection in Belén, the northeast curve of the roundabout at Calle 33 and Carrera 80.
A friend recommended the place to me earlier this year, and he was right about the food. It was really good, definitely authentic. I had eaten Chinese food twice already since moving to Medellín, but the food wasn’t memorable. I can’t even remember the name of the restaurants.
As I sat in the Dragon Fenix, waiting for my chicken chow mein, I got even hungrier. My friend Mauro called to talk to me about a teaching job, and when I told him where I was, he said, “I love that place! I’ve been going there for years!”
The food didn’t take long to come; it only seemed that way because I was so hungry and anticipating a good meal. There was enough chow mein for two, along with two rolls, even though I got the small order.
It was 14,500 pesos, about $7.50. A large order costs 22,500 pesos, or about $11.25.
Normally, I would have saved half of my food for lunch the next day. But it was so good, I couldn’t stop eating. Just a little bit of hot sauce, a little bit of soy sauce, and it was perfect. About five minutes later, the food was gone.
The menu has most things you would find at an authentic Chinese restaurant, everything from fried rice to chop suey with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish or combination plates that offer several of them.
The only things missing are dim sum and a couple of popular soups, egg drop and hot and sour. But there’s wonton soup and the rest of the menu more than makes up for what’s lacking.
Something else to keep in mind: that intersection, Calle 33 and Carrera 80, is a trendy nightlife area of the city. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m., so maybe a stop there for a late dinner is a good way to go if you plan to party in this corner of Belén. The rice or noodles or whatever you order will soak up the alcohol nicely.
It worked well for me. The place might be good luck too. A five-minute stop at the casino after dinner netted me enough money for rumba. I don’t remember getting a fortune cookie that night, but it doesn’t matter. Good food is good food and good luck is good luck.