Friday, December 29, 2023

Spice Market: The Best Asian Food in San Miguel de Allende

You can go to Live Aqua Urban Resort SMA many times and you’ll always see something new. Every small detail stands out, especially when you’re least expecting it and despite the fact that it was stunningly decorated last week for the holiday season, we loved reading between the lines - you know, seeing the things that have always been there but you finally noticed them for the first time today.
One of the most beautiful hotels in the city, it’s overflowing with SMA chic. One of the most inviting rooms is their Casa Dragones Bar, a spot where you can sink into and never come up for air; not that you ever wanted to. We call it our “leave me there place” with all the necessary toys, bottles, telescopes and games to get you through a long weekend. The bar overlooks the Obraje Dam, where the pool and hot tubs beckon you to take a refreshing winter dip instead of just getting your toes wet. It’s a total experience of the senses. Another one of our favorite locations is the hotel gift shop which is unlike any other place you’ve shopped. The selection is both diverse and affordable with out-of-the-ordinary items from cities in Mexico you’ll really want to visit. We think it’s one of the best places in SMA to buy a different gif and its currently not too late for Kings day. The highlight of our trip however was the Spice Market, where the menu is a gastronomic journey through the diverse cuisines of Asia: India, China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. At first we thought it was the Buddha, but every time we eat here it’s been a pretty divine experience. Chef Michael Coon is the best Asian chef we know and he raved about every offering too. How’s that for bringing the best palate to the tasting table and getting instant feedback? Every bite was a journey of taste and discovery; every dish a culinary work of art. We love that Chef Ernesto Navarez tries new techniques, like with the Black Pepper Shrimp and pineapple, his most popular dish, where he pulls the liquid out with a vacuum and infuses flavors of herbs and spices into the flesh of the pineapple. In addition to taking advantage of Covid and getting training at the coveted CIA, also Chef Michael Coon’s alma mater, Chef Ernesto Navarez was educated at some of the best hotels: Live Aqua Hotel Mexico City, the Grand Fiesta Americana Queretaro and the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. We really liked this chef from the standpoint of his enthusiasm for changing up the menu and experimenting with new flavors. All of them were spot on - from the delicate and delicious orange chicken with kumquats to the Pork Belly Bao buns, with a soft and fluffy texture, topped with jalapeno, Asian pears and Mayonnaise gochujang to the Red Snapper, which was magnificently prepared with a mild but flavorful Asian sauce.
The meal concluded with a spectacular and tasty finish: a fried Bao stuffed with Ice Cream and drizzled with caramel. The Bao buns, both fried and steamed, were different than the others we’ve tasted around town thanks to the texture of the wrapper. One of the best things about Bao is that you can have them any time of day or night but they are most often eaten as a grab-and-go breakfast or as a supporting act to your favorite Asian soup or salad. If you’re a true Asian food lover, this meal was defiantly one for the books. Currently listed at #2 of all the restaurants in SMA, it has an almost perfect 5.0 rating from 756 reviews. Spice Market is currently our favorite Asian restaurant in SMA. If we had to put a Top 10 Restaurant list together for SMA right now, Spice Market would be close to the top of that list. Spice Market Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende Calzada de La Presa #85, Centro San Miguel de Allende 37729 Phone: 415 150 2300 Chef: Ernesto Navarez