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!
OMG OMG OMG!
This was the best food ever, God bless Ba Shan! Let all of his angels protect this place from all things bad that is known to happen to mankind.
Look at the insane amount of Sichuan chili on this first cold starter. Awesome! OMG, this was so good that I am turning into an American shouting awesome at stuff. Seriously, look at it. There’s about 203234 chillies in this dish. In addition, there was a generous amount of gorgeous Sichuan peppers in the mix.
Voila! Here you have the dish itself. Cold, thinly sliced pork kidney and cucumber. Outrageously tasty. This was my first time having cold kidney and I have to say that it was just great.
Pork dumplings, definitely made from scratch. The dough was supreme, the Sichuanese dip sauce was amazing.
Mapo tofu, what a joy. This had the perfect balance of flavours and is officially on my top 3 list (I’m making one as we speak).
Ba Shan, very good value for the money you pay. Not cheap, but not as expensive as Bar Shu across the street. I loved Ba Shan! I want to throw money at them and hope that they will be successful forever and ever. Please use the link below to get some more information about the restaurant, read reviews and see the menu in more detail. Urbanspoon rocks!
This was a totally random visit. I was walking around Soho; tired, hungry and annoyed. I found this small café style restaurant that seemed cheerful. The place was packed with people as they were serving lunch.
The menu is a mix of Asian food; Indonesian, Thai, Chinese etc.
This was a gamble. Gado gado, the traditional Indonesian salad that is basically bean sprouts, cucumber, eggs, fried tofu topped with a peanut sauce. It does not look great to be honest, and the taste was a bit too watery.
This was a special for the day. Pork belly in a surprise sauce, perhaps soy based. The meat was great and i actually liked the fact that it was topped with cilantro as this added a real nice flavour. I love pork belly and this was a great and inexpensive option.
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!
Check out this Hot Mamas! Vietnamese deep-fried spring rolls and kimchi! Actually, these rolls did not turn out the crispy golden colour and texture that I wanted. I think the problem was that the rice paper I used was too thick, I deep-fried them about 15 minutes on high heat and the colour just would not appear. However, the result was really nice and you can easily make these at home.
A few words and pictures about the kimchi. I found a new sauce mix at JFK Shop in Stockholm, this was far more superior to the other brand I have tried earlier. The one I recommend is the one to the left. The other sauce mix is commonly available but in my opinion far too salty.
Kimchi is very easy to make. You need cabbage and a sauce mix. Usually I add some other stuff, e.g. pears (pictured below) or ginger and white radish (picture above). Just add everything to a jar, add the sauce and stir. Leave the jar in the fridge for a week or so. Ready to eat!
For the spring rolls I used the following ingredients. Clockwise from top: carrots, crab meat, pork, garlic, black wood ear mushrooms, spring onions. I seasoned the mix with fish sauce, white pepper and salt.
Lay out some filling + vermicelli noodles on a moist rice paper. Roll and make sure the edges are sealed shut. Deep-fry in hot oil until the rolls turn golden brown (which did not happen in my case). Serve with a nice dip sauce, there are so many varieties to choose from. I tend to go for the sweet, sour, salty and spicy Thai ones. Enjoy bitches!
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!
Yes, here we have some (blue) glass noodle salad with pork. Actually, this is perhaps not what you would call a salad in Europe but let’s stay open-minded guys! It is a delicious meal so I recommend that you try to make it for lunch.
I used pork for this salad, you might also use chicken or some sort of shrimp. I would not use beef because you want a soft texture for the protein.
Spring onions (green parts), garlic and black fungus (or cloud ear mushrooms). Soak the mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes before using. The mushroom have little flavour but are very good to use for texture.
Banana shalots and snake beans. These beans are great, far more superior than common haricot verts.
The most important ingredient is the glass noodle itself. I have found that this variety is perhaps the best one around (at least where I live). They are called “Double Dragon Brand Vermicelli”. Cook them for a couple of minutes, cool under water and cut into pieces.
You also need to make a sauce for the salad. I use a mixture that includes Maggi Seasoning Sauce (the picture above). This sauce is great, it adds a very pleasant taste to woks, marinades, soups and you can also use it for seasoning fried eggs. A great universal sauce! I mixed this with some Thai soy sauce, Thai oyster sauce, Thai fish sauce, XO sauce, sugar and msg. It is all about the sauces!
The next steps are quite straight-forward. First, add the meat to a pan with some water (sic) in it. If you have a good non-stick pan then there is really no need to use oil because the pork itself contains a lot of fat. Fry until the meat turns white, remove from pan. Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms. Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the sauce at this point. Finally, add the noodles and meat and cook for a couple of minutes. At this point you could also add some lime juice and cilantro, all depending on what sort of taste you fancy. Enjoy bitches!