Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the rabbit is here! Not only is this a very cute animal, it also delicious to eat! Nom nom nom!
It seems appropriate to update with a recent visit to Four Seasons in China Town (yes, the tourist Mecca of London). Anyway, I’ve been watching a Swedish TV series on Chinese cooking (Kinas Mat) that is totally the best food series I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. One of the episodes deals with the art of preparing Bejing Duck, I was so impressed by this that I immediately wanted to have a taste of it myself.
However, I did some reading and realised that it is virtually impossible to get an authentic duck in (or outside China for that case), because you have to have a special oven that really only is used to cook the duck in. One 5 star hotel in London has this oven, however, at this particular day I wasn’t up for a fancy dinner so I opted for a roast duck at Four Seasons (which supposedly has one of the best ducks in London).
The meat was very tasty, perhaps a bit on the dry side. Pancakes great, vegetables and condiments really nice.
We also tried the lobster meat with straw mushrooms. Tasty, but a bit slimy. Then again, this is Cantonese food and I’m not a big fan of the slimy sauce. OMG, my Cantonese readers will most probably hate me now.
Some really great Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan), quickly heated and seasoned with garlic and soy sauce. To be honest, this was perhaps the best part of the meal. Perfectly cooked vegetables with clean flavours.
All in all, good food if you are a fan of the Cantonese kitchen!
I was reading about Sichuan cuisine and started imagining having a nice bowl of Dan Dan Mian, or Chengdu-style Dan Dan Noodles. I have had these before at Ba Shan and at Baozi Inn, and I really like the dish. If you are interested in learning more about this speciality, there is some basic reading on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_dan_noodles.
I googled my way through some of the more inexpensive London restaurants that offered the dish and ended up at Noodle Oodle on Oxford Street (sic!). The place had received a fair number of positive reviews, however, here is a not so positive one.
The noodles were great, hand made and cooked to order. Perfect texture and taste. However, there were so many other things wrong with the dish. No pork or pickled vegetables, no Sichuan pepper or oil any other sign of this being a Sichuan dish. The chicken on top had no taste, although the soup base was quite nice there was just too much of it. It was definitely peanut/sesame flavoured, but lacked depth. I guess that is what you get for paying just £6, however, you get the same dish for the same price at Baozi Inn and it is so much better.
Xiao Long Bao, also made to order. Nice and juicy pork, however not much soup in the dumplings. Noodle Oodle, they try but they fail.
Jen Café is a classic China Town eatery. They have a small, very Spartan restaurant were they serve their famous Bejing Dumpling and other sort of home made dishes. It is very inexpensive, the service fast and friendly. Definitely not a place to take somebody on a romantic date, but a great place for a snack or fast meal.
I had the Bejing Dumplings, with a nice and juicy pork filling. There are some condiments on the table, I mixed a soy-vinegar-sugar dip sauce and poured it over my dumpling. Great, and only £4.
This was today’s special, a noodle soup dish with shredded pork and preserved green cabbage. I really liked it, although it was a rustic meal. I will revisit Jen Café in the future for the dumplings, I might also try some other specialities from the menu. What a great place to fill your tummy!
* Update 10/08/22 *
It did not take me long to go back to Jen Café! Once again, I had the dumplings and they were fantastic! I really think they are one of the better ones that I have ever eaten. I also tried some BBQ Pork with Rice, this was only a stomach filler. I must say that I was not that pleased with the dish, they actually microwave it to order. In the future, I will stick to the dumplings and if I am still hungry then there’s always the street stall ju that sells all different kind of buns just across the street.
Time for a great Chinese budget alternative in China Town. Baozi Inn, the street food alternative to Bar Shu and Ba Shan, serves a mix of noodle, soup and regional signature dishes. The place itself is not fancy, but the service is great! We really find everything on the menu to be interesting and the prices were extremely reasonable (£6 for main courses). There were also a number of nice starters and side orders to pick from.
We started off with egg baozi. The dough was delicious, the filling was vegetables (a lot of leek) and egg. The taste was fantastic and I would strongly recommend trying these.
The first main course was Chengdu Dan Dan Noodles. They came in bowl on top of some spicy broth, with minced pork and greens to mix it all in. I loved this dish, the noodles had a perfect texture and were full of flavour.
In the second main course, the noodles were in a aromatic soup. Topped with cilantro, greens and beef; this was a warm and filling soup. Great colours and great flavours.
I will most definitely be going back to Baozi Inn, they had so many things on the menu that I want to try out. Please pay them a visit and enjoy the nice food!
Ok guys, this is my second review of this restaurant located in Hornstull, Stockholm. This place used to be called Dragon House, however, today it goes by the name of China! The menu is exactly the same (they even have the old ones from Dragon House).
In my honest opinion this is one of the best, if not the best, Chinese restaurant in Stockholm. The place itself is not that welcoming, it looks like a regular Chinese joint without character. They have a buffet from which everyone eats, I guess it brings them a lot of cash and they are not able to close it down. However, they have a great “authentic” menu with pictures and descriptions of the food. We tried the following.
La Zi Ji (Sichuan Chili Chicken). Ridiculous amounts of red hot peppers with great chicken bits, not the regular cuts but a lot of delicious bone cuts. A dry dish with lots of hotness to it, perhaps a bit too salty but still great. Actually I tried to make this at home later on, please read my other post.
This dish was called General’s Beef. It was cold cuts of beef boiled in an aromatic broth, extremely nice flavours and textured meat. I loved it, a great cold starter.
Jiaozi, i.e. steamed pork dumplings. These were home made, filled with juicy pork meat and soft spices. They came with a nice dip sauce, very very nice! Actually they were quite large and could easily be shared by two people. Loved it!
Finally we had some Soy-braised Lion’s Head. This is a soft pork meatball made from fatty meat and water chestnuts. The texture is very soft and the flavours are quite strong. I really liked the dish and would definitely try it once again.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have found a true jewel in the chaos that is Milano’s China Town!
It rained in town and we were in desperate need of a nice place to eat dinner at. We entered Ristorante Wen Zhou and were instantly impressed with the punters; about 30 very noisy Chinese men and women literally shouting their lungs off at each other over their food. Actually, we learned later on that they were celebrating Ching Ming (Remembrance of Ancestors Day). The noise was overwhelming, it did not help that they started dancing and singing karaoke later on.
However, the place was just great. Ingredients on display and a very extensive menu with all sorts of nice stuff. They also offered my dinner companion to pick the fish that she wanted to eat, they invited her to the kitchen and she pointed out the fish that they later on prepared for her.
For starters we had steamed pork dumplings with spring onions. Sweet, salty and juicy!
We also had some Chinese spring rolls, very basic cabbage filling but really nice!
The main courses included braised pork belly with bamboo shoots. This was a great choice, really nice flavours and the meat was so tender and perfectly cooked.
The fish (a white variety) grilled to perfection.
I had some Mapo Tofu, this was the real deal. An excellent spicy, oily sauce with incredible taste, small beef bits and wonderful tofu. This was made from scratch, what a master chef!
The meal ended with a nice piece of melon.
We were the last diners this evening and as we finished our meals the 5 chefs joined the partying gang. They brought huge pots with food with them, sat down at a table and started eating in the typical, very determined Chinese manner.
I really loved this place, please visit them and try the food. A top pick!
Dong Bei Hu is one of few Chinese restaurants in Helsinki that brand themselves as authentic. The restaurant itself is very nice, great location in the heart of Helsinki and a really nice menu and attentive staff.
I had dinner here on a Monday evening, the place was semi-packed with foodies of all type. I was a solo diner so I was a bit concerned that I would have to wait long since there were a lot of people waiting for their food. When the waitress asked me what I wanted to eat I replied Mapo tofu, make it spicy! You guys might know that this is one of my most favourite Chinese meals, speaking of that I should make a Mapo Tofu Top 10!
The tofu was excellent, great texture and decent sized chunks! The sauce was spicy, a lot of Sichuan peppers and chili, broad beans, fermented black beans and the stuff that goes into the dish. However, I am not 100 % certain that it was made from scratch since it was a bit salty. Usually the Mapo Tofu sauces that you buy are a bit too salty and have an artificial flavour to them. However, the execution at Dong Bei Hu was excellent and I would really like to go here with some friends and have a feast! Please visit them and have a great meal!