The Esquilino borough of Rome, south of the Termini station, has become famous for hosting many Chinese businesses, shops and restaurants. Unfortunately many Romans don’t like it anymore as they perceive it as an alien area of the city. But some recent developments could trigger a reconciliation.
THE FASSI FACTOR
One of the city’s most famous and ancient brands, Fassi, has just launched a very interesting campaign to help families with kids. The first child will get a 10% discount on the ice cream price, the second kid will have a 20% rebate, while the third will receive a complimentary gelato and the same hold for the other kids after the third. The historical ice cream shop already has a very reasonable price list. It hosts many tables with chairs so that you can sit while enjoying your ice cream and features an original cobblestone-shaped ice cream cube coated by chocolate, the Sanpietrino which we strongly recommend you to try.
MERCATO CENTRALE POPS UP!
The other recent initiative that will drive more Romans in the Esquilino area is the opening of Mercato Centrale. This huge food court with a wide array of foods/products/dishes/cuisines to pick from is really new in town. Ideal for train passengers who want to taste something good and genuine before their trip, with its incredible gourmet offer and brand new dining space with shared tables and counters, it will inevitably attract many Romans and visitors.
BEST CHINESE FOOD IN TOWN HERE
It is no coincidence that our favorite Chinese restaurant, Hang Zhou, is right in front of Fassi. A very unusual place for Rome’s standards, this restaurant features a unique menu for size and choice. We recommend the day’s specials and the day’s fixed dish.
RETAIL OR WHOLESALE?
The thing that strikes us the most in the borough are the Chinese clothing shops. Why? Because they’re really weird! They have few items on display, but the interiors are brand new with a very strong lighting system. Retail clients like us are nearly unattended even if these shops are always well manned. After some logical reasoning and a quick off-the-record word with a tax policeman we drew a conclusion: they’re wholesale businesses meant to sell to Italian shop-owners!
Our favorite road in the area is Via Merulana. This road hosts Panella, one of Rome’s best bakery, and one of the most expensive, too. You can instead have very good quality/price ratio Egyptian food at Shawarma station, a self-service. And if you want to explore the artistic side of Asia, the MNAO, the Asian Art Museum is a good destination. The display is not the best in town but the artworks and the archaeology finds on show can’t be seen elsewhere in Rome. Furthermore, it is hosted in a beautiful 19th century building with plenty of stuccoes and decorations: Palazzo Brancaccio.