It’s been ages since my last update! I’ve had a lot of very nice food recently, but all the pictures have turned out dark so no use posting them here. The thing is that I’m waiting for Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc to be released here in the UK, should be any day soon. Apparently, it has a really nice camera and I’ve been waiting for a decent camera phone. So, hopefully more updates with better pictures soon.
Ok, Red N Hot should seriously consider putting me on their payroll because I eat here a lot. I think it’s such a nice restaurant, the food is perhaps a bit heavy but the flavours are great. Tried some new stuff this time around.
Good old pork dumplings, these are delicious.
These are cumin spiced king prawns. I’ve had this twice I think. Really flavourful prawns, loads of cumin, Sichuan pepper and chilli. Such a nice dish! I just eat the prawns shell on, love these bastards!
Slices of pig’s ear in sesame oil. This was actually good, although a bit starchy. The ear was crunchy, thinly sliced and heavily seasoned with sesame. Would definitely try pig’s ear again, perhaps in a different dish.
Here you have, if I remember correctly, boiled beef and beef tripe. This really looks alien! The taste was great! Aromatic, tender meat and a good crunch in the tripe. You really have to not think about what you are eating, it can be a challenge. Great food though!
This is the second (or third) time I write about Red ‘n’ Hot on this blog. It is one of the Sichuanese restaurants in London that I visit on a regular basis. They consistently serve good quality Sichuanese food and they keep it authentic, if it says spicy it is spicy and no bell peppers or other random vegetables here. It’s always packed with (young) Chinese people, not perhaps the most cosiest and romantic of restaurants – then again, who needs romance when you can have Sichuan pepper?
Here’s pictures of some of the food I have had there this autumn.
Hot and sour vermicelli soup. This is an interesting and very tasty dish, I love the dried soy beans (I think it’s soy beans) that they top this soup with.
Dan Dan Noodles. This is very different from the other Dan Dan Noodles you get in London,the noodles are thinner and it’s more mild.
Here we have the same noodles, this time cold served in a hot and sour cold broth (under the noodles). This is topped with cucumbers and sugar! Mix it together and enjoy. Love the vinegar on this one!
Pork Dumpling with Chili Oil, very nice and tender.
Wonton noodles in chicken broth, these are so soft and velvety, lovely!
Water cooked pork, a favourite of mine. This comes in a very spicy and flavourful broth (not a broth really). Generous amount of Sichuan peppers and chillies. I really love this!
Mapo Tofu. There is something with this dish that makes me go crazy. The tofu, the leek and the minced pork in the very spicy sauce. I LOVE MAPO TOFU! I’d have children with mapo tofu, I’m not sure it’s possible though.
I’d love to be in a Chinese kitchen to see how they prepare their fish because it is so different from what you would get in any fish restaurant. Extremely soft, delicate but yet firm. The fish is always expensive (£15+), you do get a decent amount though. This was a white fish served with some green leaves and tomato skins. Wonderful!
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.
I reviewed Toku in October 2009. Now they have moved, together with the store, to a new location on Regent Street. The restaurant is smaller and the menu is different. They do not offer ramen anymore, which is a shame. There seems to be a mix of Japanese and Cantonese food on the menu, a bit strange to be honest. Here is what we had:
Tofu with soy sauce, on the house. This was a premium brand silken tofu, very nice.
Sashimi, a tiny tiny plate which actually was way too expensive. Nothing spectacular.
Shumai pork dumplings, nothing spectacular.
Steamed pork dumplings, these I liked.
Salmon don, very basic dish.
In summary, the new Toku does not even compare to the old Toku. Sad, but true.
I joined a group of friends to have this nice set meal at Myung Ga on Kingly Street. Actually, we shared two set meals; one with seafood and one with meat. I liked the food, however, eating set meals is always a gamble. Usually this involves having the most popular dishes and I can’t get rid of the thought of huge pots in the kitchen with all the food prepared in advance. Although everything was fresh and nice, it seemed as if the dishes were perhaps prepared in a rush without much love.
Soups for starters, light and pleasant.
Deep-fried vegetables with a dip sauce (not in picture).
Dumplings (Goon Mandu), really nice and crispy.
Japche, Korean glass noodle fry. This was perhaps a bit too unspecific in taste.
Seafood bulgogi, not a big fan of the veggies in this dish. A bit buffet style.
Cabbage kimchi. This was really acidic, I liked it.
Modum namul, or preserved/marinated vegetables.
The meal ended with some nice fresh fruit.
All in all, this was an ok Korean restaurant but not the greatest. A bit too rushed and lacked personality. Soju, reviewed earlier, was superior and although the interior is not as nice at Soju, the food is far better.
People, listen up! This is a very nice, inexpensive Korean restaurant in London for you to visit. They were voted by Time Out as one of the better cheap eats in London. In addition, they carry the name of one of my teachers in high school which made the experience a bit funny for me.
Korean food is something I have not written that much about. Some of the best meals I have had have been Korean. There are some excellent alternatives in New York if you happen to be there. Of course there is Korea itself, not Kim Jong II land, but South Korea.
We arrived very late to Soju, I guess we were the last table to order. Therefore the service was ultra rapid. No problem with this, I really do not like to sit around waiting for my order to be taken. We had a selection of small portions for starters. From left: cucumber kimchi, cabbage kimchi, goon mandu (Korean dumplings) and a cold tofu salad. All of these were excellent.
We finished the meal with some excellent raw beef bibimbap. This came in a hot pot and the beef was perfectly cooked after mixing the stuff around. Bibimbap is excellent, I love it! I will most definitely go back to Soju, a great place for a Korean dinner.
* Update 10/08/24 *
I have been to Soju twice after writing the original post, once for dinner and once for lunch.
The best thing ever was their Raw Beef Sashimi, this was one of the best things I have eaten in a long time. The beef came shredded with pears, a great combination.
I also had some bibimbap similar to the one above, however the beef was cooked in this version. I must say that I prefer the one with raw beef. They have some great alternatives for lunch, please pay them a visit.