Escaping the Westernised menu, Chinese restaurants.....what's your order?


99call
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So Manchester (UK) traditionally had a far superior China town (quality not size), and Chinese restaurants than London.  I'm not really sure why that was, but growing up my parents were quite adventurous with dining in Chinese restaurants, and tried to avoid stuff that just seemed like churned out westernised dishes.  Stuff that may of had its roots in Cantonese cuisine, but had been significantly dumbed down/sweetened up

So a bit like certain English people are stupidly convinced that Welsh people only speak their mother tongue when they enter the corner shop, exclusively to abuse them,   I guess I'm guilty of maybe a stupid paranoia, that I'm never able to access 'The Secret Chinese Family Menu'.  I often walk through the restaurant with friends or family, and me and my brother will be jealously gazing at dishes on other peoples tables that we've never seen or tried before.   

Obviously there is always the option to just point at stuff on other peoples tables, but it can often come across a rude if you're stood up, leering over someones table, and I will always opt to avoid disturbing other diners. 

To conclude,  

1, What are your favourite Chinese dishes?

2, Do you consider them to be traditional or Westernised?

3, Would love to hear from any Chinese FOH members with any family favourites, or stuff thats non negotiable parts of your order. 

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Great options listed above. Lucky to have spent some time in China and have a great place nearby, it’s amazing how diverse their food culture is. I’d recommend trying shredded tofu skins (often served similarly to noodles), tomato egg stir fry (classic comfort food dish), hand pulled noodles, jianbing (killer street food usually for breakfast), xinjiang kebabs (lamb/mutton is great), yunan style mushroom stir fry. Really hard to go wrong. My strategy is to try one new thing I’ve never heard of every time I go out.

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27 minutes ago, GolfT3 said:

jianbing

These look very interesting, they look similar to Indian dosa in a way.  I'm defo going to hunt these down

 

Hu-Tong-Jian-Bing-e1557965417727.jpeg

 

27 minutes ago, GolfT3 said:

xinjiang kebabs (lamb/mutton is great)

Interesting, I take it, this is Mongolian in origin?

 

3.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Fuzz said:

I really could go on and on....

Mate... you are a legend, plug this into my veins. 

Those occasions in life where you happen upon a restaurant, where you feel as if you are at the source point of the idea. It's always such a good feeling.  As a passionate cook, you feel as if things finally make sense. When you've had bastardised versions of things, you wonder, how on earth did this recipe travel the world?, then bingo, even something as simple as Pesto,  when you have it made fresh, by someone who knows what they're doing, you think, 'Yep! I get it' I now see why this recipe travels. 

 

1 hour ago, Hollywood Ninja said:

Fish dry pots are also very good as are the boiled fish dishes.

I love eel done this way, cant get enough

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Always like baby squid in curry sauce. One of my slightly more adventurous dim sum choices. Deep fried squid legs and a ton of dumplings both steamed and pan fried for the rest.

2997075432_13e48e0659_o.jpg

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19 minutes ago, Nino said:

Mongolian Ox dick

This is brilliant.  I love the fact that geographical provenance is needed. I can just imagine how a conversation might go:

Diner 1   -----   "What's that?"

Diner 2   -----   "It's Ox dick......"

Diner 1   -----   "Where's it from?

Diner 2   -----   "Why....!?"

Diner 1   -----   "I only like Mongolian Ox dick"

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3 minutes ago, 99call said:

This is brilliant.  I love the fact that geographical provenance is needed. I can just imagine how a conversation might go:

Diner 1   -----   "What's that?"

Diner 2   -----   "It's Ox dick......"

Diner 1   -----   "Where's it from?

Diner 2   -----   "Why....!?"

Diner 1   -----   "I only like Mongolian Ox dick"

That is almost correct and how it went if I remenber correctly according to my notes ( Mind you, the place was named "Gobi Desert" ) :.

Sehr schönes Restaurant mit scharfer Küche ( Inge und ich lieben es ) und einigen Überraschungsgerichten. Einen davon stellte mir Ziqui so vor : „ Es ist Ochsenschwanz, aber nicht der hintere Schwanz”.

Nun gut, wer in Rheinhessen Trapp-Trapp isst, isst auch in Beijing, schon allein aus Neugier, alles.

Also wurde es bestellt, und es war durchaus essbar, würzig, gut. Eine besondere aphrodisiaquische Wirkung habe ich nicht festgestellt.

Translated into English :

Very nice restaurant with spicy food ( my wife and I love it ) and some surprise dishes. Ziqui introduced me to one of them saying : "It is Ox tail, but not the rear tail"

Oh well, If I eat Horse meat at home I will eat anything in Beijing, just out of curioosity.

So it was ordered and it was edible, spicy, good. No special aphrodysical effect was noticed.

Would not repeat it and I guess neither would Yolanda, but it was interesting - and spicy 🙂

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  I'll usually judge a restaurant by its hot and sour soup, they've become my winter pick me up with its frosty out. It's surprising how much they really differ depending how good/bad a restaurant is

  If they can get that right then I'll jump in, pretty much always with a wonton soup. The same applies to them really, of you get a stunning bowl then you know you're in for a treat

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1 hour ago, CaptainQuintero said:

hot and sour soup

I also enjoy a good hot and sour soup.  I think you might enjoy the youtube channel 'Chinese cooking demystified'.  They have solved many questions i'd had. 

If you have a look at their video on hot & sour soup, it really centres on the point of the thread.   I.e an original recipe that get bastardised, sometimes for good results, more often bad. 

Anyway enjoy

 

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@99call yes the kabobs come from the Muslim Uighur population from the far west/northwest of China, fantastic grilled meats. And you are right on jianbing, it’s pretty similar to dosas as well as the stuffed Roti that you can get all over Malaysia. Works particularly well after a long night of drinking, not that I’d know….

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Pffft. I call your dishes and raise you turnip cakes, salt pepper squid, char siu buns. Bang bang Oriental centre is not bad but you have to be selective. It was better before the redevelopment I think https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_City

There will always be some selective restaurants and dishes. I really like some of this cuisine too. But I am in London and on the whole, my local fare is crap.

Something gets recommended now and again.

http://dilarauyghurrestaurant.co.uk/

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2 hours ago, ha_banos said:

But I am in London and on the whole, my local fare is crap.

I never understood this.  I remember being used to a certain standard of Chinese food in Manchester, and on my first visit to China town in London, I had the same expectation as most things.   i.e that the captial was going to be a level above.  but I was really surprised at how bad it was.        

This was a long time ago, I'm sure things have changed.    But maybe it's that transitory tourism thing, whereby sometimes bad restaurants can just continue, as they do not require return custom.  they simply have so much fresh footfall, they can simple disapoint on repeat with no downside.

 

2 hours ago, ha_banos said:

salt pepper squid, char siu buns

Solid choices, and bankers.......but do you ever press the crazy button?

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Had Szechuan fried shrimp in San Francisco Chinatown that was other worldly. Never had it anywhere else that was close to the same. Shells fried so hot they were like shrimp crackers on the outside. 

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I can't get enough of the following 4.  We have a vibrant Asian dining scene here. 

 

Spicy beef Tripe in blackbean sauce

image.jpeg

Beef tripe and tendon 

Is tripe a chewy meat? - Quora

Pipi in XO sauce (Thanks to Jason and Fuzz for the introduction!)

The Malaya - If you haven't tried our pippies in XO,... | Facebook

Sichuan Chilli Prawns 

image.jpeg

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, El Presidente said:

 

Pipi in XO sauce (Thanks to Jason and Fuzz for the introduction!)

The Malaya - If you haven't tried our pippies in XO,... | Facebook

 

I still remember the look on the waitress's face when @jay8354 ordered 3kg of pipis, plus noodles, between the 4 of us! Then again, it was a lot of shell.

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8 hours ago, Nino said:

I miss Asia and in particular China so much for its food, I could cry.

We had a decent Viet-Namese in the village, but it closed down, fortunately we have a genuine, no BS Thai place now and I am happy.

As for real Chinese dishes - give me any- and everything, I love it and will try at least once.

My favourites from my trips to PEK would be the greens like morning Glory and Beijing Duck from the clay oven.

Hell, I even had Mongolian Ox dick in Beijing with one of the best Cuban rollers, Yolanda Medina back in 2007 and some of the best Beijing duck with a good friend and Triple-7 Captain where we smoked 1972 RyJ Clemenceaus - remember @Coloniales ? Happy Times ! ( Sorry in German )

http://flyingcigar.de/travel-cigars/200705-prdent-pilot-presse-puros-und-porsches-in-peking/

From Shanghai, Canton/Guangzhou or HK give me anything seafood.

Even in Beijing I found some great "drunken shrimps" and a lot of cigars ... ( Sorry - in German ) :

http://flyingcigar.de/flying-cigars/200605-besoffene-shrimps-in-beijing/

But I would decline any invitation to Havana's Chinatown 😞

 

one of the fabulous leonardo padura's crime novels is set in chinatown in havana - 'grab a snake by the tail'. definitely worth a read. 

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2 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

one of the fabulous leonardo padura's crime novels is set in chinatown in havana - 'grab a snake by the tail'. definitely worth a read. 

Yes, but not one of his best Mario Conde novels I am afraid.

Have you read "The Man who loved dogs" by Padura ?

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