Chinese food in London

Foodie post! We are obviously huge fans of Chinese food, no surprises there and London just has so much to offer. Where to find the BEST OF IT? It’s really hard to tell as there are just so many ‘types’ of Chinese food from Dim Sum to numerous regional cuisines.

Different restaurant excel in different dishes and one restaurant that I personally enjoy is Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater. A little birdie told me a few years ago that we must try their specialty signature dish, their lobster noodles and once I tried it, it was love at first taste. We take the chance to drop by whenever we are in London for a few days. It is very impressive when they bring a huge plate out to your table, just look at it! A tad pricey, but well worth it for a treat and you do get what you pay for. Well, we do not savour lobsters every day. I had to stop the waiter to get this picture, as they take it away to plate it out for you. Even portions for everybody, so there is no need to rush to get seconds. Other dishes are also tasty but the lobster noodles take the cake.

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Lobster noodles, Mandarin Kitchen.

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Squid in salted egg yolk

We were there during the festive season and it was almost impossible to get a reservation. We managed it but we still had to wait for half an hour. It is often very busy, it might be best to reserve a table before you go.

Mandarin Kitchen

14-16 Queensway, London W2 3RX, England

+44 20 7727 9012

Another must try for their roast meats is Four Seasons. The reputation of the Four Season’s roast duck has spread worldwide and some of my friends from Hong Kong and China said it is the best, even better than the ones in their home country! Now, that’s a dazzling review. They have a few branches in London now, but we tend to walk pass the one in Bayswater or drop by the newer branch in Chinatown.

Oddly enough, I do not have any picture of the roast duck! The toddler must have been playing up, have you tried eating in peace with a 2 year old? Wrestling chopsticks out of their hands, trying to order something you think they will eat and then getting them to enjoy their food. They do have an extensive menu and everything is reasonably priced. I did however capture what we ordered for my daughter. She loved it. Stir fried prawns with broccoli and mushrooms.

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Four Seasons

12 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London W1

+442074940870

I have always noticed a long queue outside Kam Tong Restaurant, so this time around we decided to join the queue! If that’s not an indication of good food, I don’t know what is. We tried their vegetable spring rolls and king prawns with asparagus. Simple and delicious.

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We also tried their Cantonese Roast Duck. Competition is fierce when it comes to this barbecue roasted dish. Its good but I prefer the one in Four Seasons or Gold Mine (both also in Bayswater)

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I have heard raving reviews for their dim sum at this restaurant, we were here for dinner therefore ordered dishes to go with steamed rice. The best dish from Kam Tong must be their Mongolian Crispy Lamb. It was served with iceberg leaves, spring onion, cucumber and Oriental brown sauce. The flavours were incredible and the crispiness of the lamb is absolutely beautiful. Try it!

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Kam Tong Restaurant

59-63 Queensway, London W2 4QH

+4420 7229 6065

Hope you are not feeling too hungry after this post! Thank you for reading and do leave your recommendations on what Chinese food to eat at your favourite joints.

Iris x

Taipei travels (Part 1) : Taipei 101 & our first Michelin star experience at Din Tai Fung

Back to more travel tales, if you missed it I wrote a post about Surviving Long Haul Flights With our Toddler , our wonderful hot springs retreat and a bit about Jinshan, in the north of Taiwan.

Bit of a recap .. we were in Taiwan in July and when we there, we were issued a typhoon warning. Category 5 Typhoon Nepartak was supposed to make landfall and we rushed from Yangmingshan, the mountain area down to downtown Taipei where we hunkered down at our hotel. All very scary especially as we had our little one with us and we have never experienced anything like this at all. Thankfully, it did not batter Taipei much and the warning was lifted and shops and attractions which were initially closed started to open for business again in the later part of the afternoon.

We then decided to head on over for some sightseeing and food at Taipei 101. It was still raining cats and dogs, so taking shelter somewhere indoors was the best option. The Taipei 101 tower itself looks like a giant bamboo stalk, no pictures as we rushed in due to rain. An engineering marvel as its one of the tallest buildings and its designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

Besides the tower itself, the base of the tower is a HUGE multi-level shopping mall, food courts and restaurants.

Look, swanky mall eh?

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We took a trip to the top of the tower by purchasing tickets. Tickets will grant you access to the observatory and the museum. Since it was ‘typhoon day’, there were hardly any queues although this also meant that the outdoor observatory was closed.

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Just found a picture of the tower from the outside, but its one of those touristy ones. Whoops. Definitely not buying it as little one and the husband is not even in it. Bet you have done this too, just take a picture of it for memory sake. They are really efficient when it comes to children and the elderly, there’s a special seat for them to wait instead of going round in a queue.

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The lift up is quite something as well. It took about 40 seconds to the 89th floor. Unbelievable.

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The views from the observatory deck was amazing.

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Little one slept all the way up and was still fast asleep when we were up there. Gave us a chance to take ‘lovey dovey’ touristy pics.

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Hoorah, someone is up to join the fun. Grouchy though *approach with caution*. Posing with the postcard we sent home specially for the little one. Lovely little note for her to read when she is older.

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and one with her grandparents.

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This is the massive gold coloured damper that keeps the building from swaying. Very interesting, my husband read all about it 😀

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There are a number of figurines around the observatory deck. Little one had a bit of fun holding their hands and imitating them.

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There’s also a little museum bit before you head out.

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I would highly recommend adding Taipei 101 to your itinerary even with little ones in tow. She found it quite interesting and there’s lots of space for them to run around when its not too packed.

After our spot of sightseeing, its time for food. Well, its always a good time for food especially in Taiwan. We wanted to try Din Tai Fung. One of the ‘must eat’ places in this country. This restaurant originated in Taiwan and it has lots of branches in 13 (or more) countries. It has 1 Michelin star and we knew that we were in for a long wait. We expected to wait an hour according to all the reviews and if that’s the case, we would have looked for food elsewhere. Definitely our lucky day, we waited for only 15 minutes for a table. The service was impeccable and although it was very busy, we were attended to very well. Ps. never in my life .. we had to get a number to wait for a table. They hand you menus and make you order in advance before you are actually seated too.

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Hoorah, we are in. It was a huge restaurant and the first thing you notice that it is actually very clean despite the volume of people who eats there. Their staff is top class which is expected of a Michelin star restaurant I suppose. The glass window feature to their kitchen was very interesting. Entertaining to watch the kitchen crew diligently making their famous dumplings and buns.

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The food did not disappoint, definitely lived up to all the raving reviews. You know sometimes, when you are looking forward to something that’s pretty hyped up .. its not as good as you think or it always slightly disappoints .. this was not the case. Food was lush.

Would recommend their Shrimp Fried Rice. Not salty and not oily, it was delicious.

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For dumplings, we tried one of their inspired creations. Steamed Gourd (or Squash?) and Shrimp Dumplings. There’s an art to eating them .. well I just ate them. They were outstanding. Did you know that there’s soup in them dumplings. Wow. Do make sure the soup runs into your spoon though.

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Now for something sweet to end our delicious meal on a higher note.

Snow fungus soup served cold, I was not a huge fan as it was pretty ‘gelatinous’.

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The Taro Steamed Dumplings on the other hand was exquisite. Dessert version of their steamed dumplings. I was apprehensive at first but the taro filling was not overly sweet and has a texture like mash. It works though. Did you know that all their dumplings have a minimum of 18 folds. I tried counting and I think all of them have exactly 18, what a piece of art.

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What really stood out to me about the food at Din Tai Fung was that nothing was overly salty and they really focused on the quality of the ingredients. Very intriguing and delicate tastes.

A must try – lived up to its hype.

 

Sacré Cœur & A La Pomponnette

Sacré Cœur

I did loads and loads of walking in Paris. This is the little cobbled street leading to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. Sacré Cœur. Second time at this touristy point but ever so amazing sitting and admiring the view. Its at the highest point in Paris on the hill of Montmarte.

Leading up to Sacré Cœur

After a spot of sightseeing, we had the best meal ever at A La Pomponnette! Rustic feel and look AND the food was just AMAZING. Exquisite even. Not pretentious and very authentic French food. Very patient service too as they had to translate their menu one by one just for me 😀 It was pretty challenging to decide as everyone around me are little fuss pots since I am preggers. Therefore, cannot eat loads of cheeses, raw or undercooked meats etc etc. I settled for scallops since the waiter gave me a disapproving look and a huge no no when I pondered about a well done steak. My husband enjoyed the steak and he thought it was the best ever steak he had in his lifetime and he really does LOVE his steak.

A La Pomponnette, Paris

A La Pomponnette, Paris

A La Pomponnette, Paris

A La Pomponnette

Very very happy customers! If you find yourself in Paris, I highly recommend

À LA POMPONNETTE

Montmartre 42 rue Lepic 75018 Paris
Enjoy 🙂 🙂

Dinner at Finbarrs Durham

This restaurant is a little gem in Durham. A ‘fine dining’ type meal with a friendly noisier ambience. Very comfortable, prompt service and excellent food. With very short notice, we were lucky to sneak in a reservation for 6!

Most of the gents on our table had their popular haggis scotch egg to start. At £8.50 for an egg, it better be good.

Verdict: Definitely went down a storm. Big bright smiles all around and someone even added that he would easily eat another two as his mains.

Check out my main! Wanted to try their lemon sole but that was the only dish not available that evening. This option was superb 🙂 This is my poached smoked haddock with bubble n’ squeak & soft poached egg.

There is just something about poached eggs. I love them especially when they are soft and ooze out. Mmm!

Are you drooling already? Another main enjoyed on the table, Northumbrian 8oz fillet steak with grilled tomatoes, fine beans & Hand Cut Chips – Green Peppercorn Butter.

Best part of the night, always desserts! Bitter chocolate & coffee tart with a white chocolate sorbet. Very rich tart altough in my opinion the white chocolate sorbet outshone the tart.

Thank you Finbarrs for an excellent evening.

Ps. I  have a huge backlog of posts to write, it has been pretty manic at Baked By Me! Be patient with me. Yes?