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!
In Sichuan Cookery, Mrs Fuschia Dunlop writes the following about this wonderful dish.
“Ma po dou fu is named after the smallpox-scarred wife of a Qing Dynasty restaurateur. She is said to have prepared this spicy, aromatic, oily dish for labourers who laid down their loads of cooking oil to eat lunch on their way to the city’s market. It’s one of the most famous Sichuan dishes, and epitomizes Sichuan’s culinary culture, with its fiery peasant cooking and bustling private restaurants”
I love mapo tofu, it is by far one of my most favourite meals. There are a few key ingredients to this dish.
The tofu, it shold not be too soft or too hard. Actually, the one I used, was a bit too hard but it worked out fine. Where I currenyly live, God do not bless this place, there is only one variety to be found so I had not option. Anyway, the first step is to cut the tofu into chunks and boil it for a few minutes in salted water.
Normal white refined sugar, beef cut into thin and short slices, spring onions and Sichuanese chili bean paste. There are a variety of these around, however, try to find one that says Pixian Dou Ban and is from Sichuan. It took me about 1 year to do so in Stockholm, good luck hunting!
On the plate you have ground Sichuanese chillies (no other variety really works), black fermented beans and roasted Sichuan pepper. The chili paste is also pictured here.
Start of with heating about half a cup of oil until it turns extremely hot. Then add the beef and let it fry for a couple of minutes until it crispy and a little brown.
Turn the heat to medium and add the chili bean paste, fry for about 30 seconds and the oil turns red.
Add the black fermented beans and ground chillies.
Pour in some stock and add the tofu. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the spring onions, Sichuan pepper, sugar, some light soy sauce, salt to taste.
Finally, add a mix of potato flour and water to the dish and push around gently so that the tofu gets covered.
Mapo tofu is easy to make, however, you need all the authentic ingredients or you will not be able to produce a good version of it at home. I love mapo tofu! 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!
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!
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!
I have had Chinese food in many, many, many restaurants around the world and in my honest opinion Dragon House in Stockholm is one of the better restaurants north of London. They actually offer and cook food that is more authentic. The restaurant itself is not that sexy and they have a crappy buffet with Chinese/Thai/Japanese and whatever food which is a total disaster.
Stay away from that shit and focus on the Chinese menu. They have a lot of good stuff on offer, Szechuan water boiled meat, deep-fried fish, pork belly, intestines and feet. Oh, glorious food! I have eaten at this restaurant several times and I have noticed that the quality differs a bit depending on if you go there for lunch or dinner. I guess they have many different chefs at well. However, I can recommend the stuff that we had on our last visit.
Tofu with sesame oil, great!
Water-boiled beef, wonderful!
Pig’s feet with sea cucumber, delicious!
The waiter laughed at us when we ordered the pig’s feet! He grinned and shook his head several times! What a funny guy… I think it was cooked with sweet black vinegar and ginger, it was soft and fragrant. Great! The sea cucumber was a bit chewy, it is some sort of weird animal/plant thing that really is as disgusting as pig’s feet if you google it.
Happy dining bitches!