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!
God bless Bar Shu! I have always wanted to go to this restaurant, the original (and most expensive) of the trio of restaurants that Fuchsia Dunlop consults for. Once again, God bless this place! I’m getting religious…
So, the place itself is very nice. Spacious, nice decoration and attentive staff. The menu is extensive and has anything a Sichuan food junkie like me could wish for. One of the dishes, in addition to Mapo Tofu, that I always order to compare restaurants is Shui Zhu Niu Rou (boiled beef slices in extremely hot sauce). This is also one of my favourite Sichuan dishes as it really demonstrates the great flavours of Sichuan food.
Here is Bar Shu’s take on Shui Zhu Niu Rou.
The camera and the light does not really do the dish justice because this was the best thing I have had for a very long time. Perfectly seasoned, great tender meat and very spicy. I loved it!
We also ordered a steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions. The waitress removed the head and bones before I took the picture but here you have it.
This fish was amazing. So tender, perfectly cooked and the seasoning was light and delicate. I really enjoyed it, probably the best fish I have had in a very long time.
Bar Shu is officially my favourite restaurant in London and I will be going back very soon!
I was very excited to visit this restaurant in London. They have a very authentic menu; interesting meat cuts, intestines, tongues etc. The name itself, Empress of Sichuan, is just great! As a royalist, I just love it.
Ok, so let’s talk a bit about the food.
This was a complimentary starter. Marinated beans, very tasty. Not too spicy, not too salty.
This was one of the main courses, sea bass in stock with marinated vegetables and noodles. The portion was very generous, the fish nice and tender.
Sichuanese aubergines with pork, or more like pork with aubergines. This is something that I have made at home, it tasted almost identical. Great deep flavours with a sweet finish to it. Once again, an enormous portion.
Finally, the most hyped dish of the evening. Pig’s intestines! This was very different from what I had imagined. I would say that the texture and taste was very similar to bean curd sticks. I was pleasantly surprised with the intestines, I would definitely try them again. I loved it!
What I have not written about is the disappointment with the spices. As you can see from the pictures, the chilies are the usual (Spanish?) variety that you can find in any grocery. What a shame! They are not even that spicy and they do not contain any flavour. No sign of Sichuanese pepper corns either. No Pixian bean paste or other Sichuanese spices. I really was put down by this, why serve these great meats and fish and compromise with the spices? The pig’s intestines were supposed to be extremely spicy, a taco is spicier than this.
However, a great place to be introduced to the food and extremely big portions for the price!
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!
We celebrated New Year in Barcelona, what a great city! There were some good Asian restaurants in town, a bit difficult to find perhaps but worth the effort.
On our first day we ate lunch at Machiroku located in downtown Barcelona. We were offered starters which included sashimi of salmon, tuna squid. We also had a small portion of basic fried noodles. Both starters were great, no complaints.
For main course we had Unagi Donburi (grilled eel with a sweet soy sauce glace) which was totally delicious. We also had some Salmon Don, very fresh and tasty.
The food was really nice for lunch, the restaurant was busy and the staff friendly and effective! I would most definitely eat lunch here again if I were in Barcelona.
Before we get to the story, let us all join hands in prayer and ask God that he sees to it that this Chinese restaurant never goes out of business because this place offers incredible food. I have had some great Chinese meals in New York, London and Paris but this was just marvellous.
First of all, the location is a bit strange. The restaurant is in the middle of a high-rise residential block in the outer parts of Barcelona. It looks like a normal Chinese restaurant from the outside and you will not find notice anything out of the ordinary when you step inside.
When we sat down at our table we were greeted by a waiter who introduced their menu. What a disaster it was. Old faded pictures of really not that appealing food, a lot of stuff with chips and spaghetti – oh my God… I asked if there was a separate Szechuan menu and the waiter just did not understand the English and a second waitress turned up. She understood the question but not really the request… Why would we want to eat from another menu?
She did however return with a menu in Chinese, which I do not understand in writing at all. So then a third waiter (perhaps the owner) turned up. He spoke perfect English and asked us what we wanted to eat and from that point on I was truly in heaven.
We ordered three main courses. First we have steamed fish, it came with Chinese mushrooms and fresh ginger and a light sauce. It was a true masterpiece, velvety and very gentle. This was by far the best fish I have had in a Chinese restaurant anywhere, I am not kidding.
For our second course we had Mapo Tofu, I have found that this is a dish that really sets the standard for a Chinese restaurant. This was such a masterpiece, very soft and nice tofu, a good amount of Szechuan spice and a lot of different layers of flavours. I was in heaven eating this.
The third dish was Szechuan Spicy Beef. I had asked for something ridiculously spicy and this was not a disappointment. Very tender beef in red bean paste with loads of chilli, it was just beyond amazing! Sweet and hot at the same time, great!
We ended our meal with Eight-treasures Rice Pudding. It was sticky rice with different preserved fruits, sweet bean paste, sesame seeds and some sort of sweet sauce. This was so great and not at all as heavy as one would think.
When leaving the restaurant we were offered some Chinese rice wine with cinnamon, it tasted a bit like sherry – great! I also chatted a bit with the staff and talked about Chinese food and eating out.
There were so many nice options to choose from the menu, I wish I would have had more time to spend in Barcelona so I could have eaten it all. I will most definitely come back when I am in Spain, please visit the restaurant while I am gone. Enjoy!