I set myself the challenge to recreate a tapas meal using only Chinese ingredients except for a tin of anchovy filled olives and chocolate and shopping at only one supermarket, Carrefour. I had just cooked a dinner for charity at the Shangri La Presidential suite and I wanted something simple that did not involve ordering food from Beijing or running around Metro, Ikea and Sam’s Club or fantasizing about unavailable gourmet products when building a menu. I thought “Make it work”! Don’t stop yourself from making a fun dinner, just substitute for local ingredients.

I started by making “revoltillo” the uber-popular snack that includes sunflower seeds, dried broad beans, dried corn and dried garbanzo beans that is the cheapest tapa one can get. I mixed sunflower seeds, dried broad beans and toasted peanuts and it worked quite well. You can add more things to the mix if you please. Spaniards love sunflower seeds just as much as Chinese people do!

The tortilla or Spanish potato omelet I replaced with a ready-made fried potato cake.

I included two recipes that you can cook in a flash: the Catalan spinach and the garlic shrimp. The spinach (normally served alongside fish) I served on toasted bread and replaced the pine nuts with peanuts.

The tomato skewers were made with smoked tofu and tomato instead of expensive cheese. The 5-minute garlic shrimp recipe I did not modify since you can get all the ingredients easily here. And finally the “piece de resistance”, I fried frozen you tiao (you can also buy them ready-cooked) and served them dusted with icing sugar and a chocolate sauce.

For your party lay out all the tapas at once and give everyone little plates. Get some nice beer or wine and play some Gyspsy Kings on the background. Get colorful plates (you can get cheap ones from the Japanese restaurant supply shop at Dalian Kitchenware City or the Korean Market) and some cocktail napkins.



1 tin of anchovy filled olives
Place in a bowl
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of toasted or fried peanuts
1 cup of broad beans toasted
Mix together and place in a bowl
“Spanish Omelette”
1 potato cake from Carrefour
Cut and place on a plate
Tomato and tofu skewers
15 toothpicks
15 cherry tomatoes
1 packet of smoked tofu, cut in small pieces similar in size to tomatoes
Place tofu first, then tomato and then cilantro on a toothpick. Repeat until you have 15.
Garlic shrimp
3 tbsp of oil
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
500 grs of fresh shrimp, peeled
3 tbsp of chopped parsley
salt to taste
In a wok heat oil and add garlic and shrimp. Stir fry until just cooked through.
Scatter with parsley and season with salt.
Catalan Spinach
1/2 baguette sliced and toasted
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, washed, stems cut and chopped
5 tbsp of raisins
5 tbsp of chopped peanuts
salt to taste
In a wok, heat up the oil and add the garlic. Stir fry until cooked and add the spinach with the raisins and peanuts. Cook until wilted. Season with salt. Serve on slices of bread.
“Spanish Churros” with Chocolate
1 frozen pack of you tiao
½ cup of milk
140 grs. of 70% chocolate, chopped
icing sugar for dusting
Put milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chocolate, turn off heat and let it melt. Whisk. Put in a little bowl.
Fry the you tiao, take out and place on paper towels to drain.
Cut into bite size pieces and dust with icing sugar. Serve with chocolate sauce for dipping

Thanks to our guest food stylist and photographer Shirley Gao, and prop stylist Karen Brown!