Eating my way through London

Tuesday, 18 February 2014
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Most people go to London to visit the much lauded Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Eye...... followed by shopping. I judge my visit depending on how well fed I am (I've yet to visit Buckingham Palace, Tate Modern.....). No wonder the extra 10 pounds are still hanging on with a death grip.

After a massive delay due to the havoc caused by the gale storm the previous night and the ongoing flooding, we only managed to get to London just before lunch time. I was ravenous and close to transforming into a ravaging beast.  Thankfully, Wahaca was across the street from the Waterloo station. We demolished every tasty morsel including the crispy churros dipped in rich chocolate.



cupcakes
cookies

I'm more of a savory gal but these cookies from Galeta are heaven on earth. They're so good that they'd even converted a cheese addict into a cookie monster. Sadly, the pecan and toffee cookies were completely sold out. I managed to deplete their supply of triple chocolate cookies though (which are strictly rationed in my household to last at least 3 days).

I've tasted a lot of cupcakes including the famed Hummingbird ones but I still prefer these mini delights from Crumbs and Doilies. I can't bear saccharine frosting which truly make me gag but these ones are perfection. I ended up with salted caramel, chocolate, raspberry meringue, vanilla rose and vanilla. Too bad the other flavors have sold out as I would've loved to nab lavender caramel and earl grey.


redsun-brinjal
redsun-xiaolongbao
redsun-kangkong
redsun-friedrice
redsun-fishsoup
redsun-braisedpork

It's always very awkward when I'm trying to be inconspicuous with my chunky camera. The elderly English couple sitting over at the next table patted me on the arm and tried to alleviate my embarrassment by telling me that their daughter like to photograph her meal at every restaurant. 

Anyway, I'm saving the best for last. Josephine who incidentally is from Shanghai, couldn't contain her excitement at the discovery of a Shanghainese restaurant a mere 10 minute walk from Selfridges. Like any proper Chinese restaurant, the decor is tawdry. The food, on the other hand, was THE BEST I've had in a long time. I asked Josephine to pick Shanghai delicacies and boy, did she do a good job (6 dishes for the 2 of us!). The braised brinjal has a complexity of flavors that exemplified the yin and yang. The dish was sweet/sour/salty/spicy but achieved just the right balance which hit the taste buds in all the right places.

I was rather blown away by the water spinach (Malaysians call it kangkong) dish. It was garlicky with an added splash of vinegar. Very refreshing. The soup was rich and delicious with tender pieces of fish, tofu and preserved vegetables. My favorite had to be the stewed pork with what I believed to be strips of dehydrated bamboo (correct me if I'm wrong). It had a salty base layered with sweetness for contrast. Beautifully done.

I think we should've gone for white rice instead of fried rice. The bland rice would've been a better complement to the flavorsome dishes. I wasn't too impressed with the xiao long bao (steamed buns). The skin was tough and the meat filling wasn't particularly tasty.  According to Josephine, the dishes were very authentic and in fact, were better than most of the restaurants she'd been to in Shanghai. Do remember to book if you're planning on visiting. This tiny little treasure is constantly packed with mostly Chinese clientele.

Red Sun
2A New Quebec St
London W1H 7RD
Phone: 020 7723 5350

20 comments:

  1. Kong xing cai (the hollow green veggie)!!! I LOVE that shit. I haven't had that in ages and now I'm salivating over thoughts of having it again.

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    1. hey, I thought you said you can't speak Mandarin. Very impressed :P

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    2. Oh I just know all the food. Of course.

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  2. God I love your taste in food! Susan, London

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    1. Thanks, Susan! Admittedly, both Josephine and I felt like we were dying from overeating after a day's gorging session.

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  3. Marlene, this all looks so freaking good. I'll have to try out some of these spots when I'm in your neck of the woods. :)

    xTheresa

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  4. Marlene,

    thanks for the rec! Should be in London in about 3 weeks (staying close to Waterloo) and these tacos look tasty, so it'd be a crime to miss it really :)

    Also plan to hit Tate Modern (finally! Did V&A and National History Museum last time, didn't have time to see more) but then the plan is to have no plan, love just wandering around London :)

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    1. Smart move - staying near Waterloo. Just pop down to street level (tube entrance), out the door, cross the road and you'll see Wahaca. I'm embarrassed I haven't been to the museum since my initial visit 17 years ago. It's about time.

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  5. Sigh…wish I was there to follow you around with a napkin and fork! Cheers, friend!

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  6. Ah... I love Kangkung.. I must try that chinese place. The other place that does really good kangkung (and thai food in general) is busaba eathai, just on the street nect to selfridges.

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  7. If you missed food somewhat close to Malaysia's taste - Laksa, Char Kway teow etc, there is always the Singapore Day on 29 March in London's Victoria Park. Just kidnapped one Singaporean to pre-register you.

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    1. Okay, I'm going to go on Facebook to see which friend still holds a Singaporean passport. Bet they're getting nervous now :P

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  8. Hi - love your blog! I live v close to Red Sun but never go in as they only show their standard takeaway chinese food menu outside. Is there an english Shanghainese menu? I don't have any Chinese friends to take with me to help order :(

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    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment. Ask for the normal menu. I know sometimes Chinese restaurants present 2 different menus - one for Chinese and the other for other nationals. We had a massive menu which I'm told the appetizers (cold dishes) were very good. I can't read Chinese but definitely get the staff to recommend proper Shanghainese delicacies.

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    2. Forgot to mention that they have their menus have English translation next to the Chinese characters.

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  9. Marline, I've been visiting your blog for some time now but never said much. Always enjoy your food posts, your photos and sensor of humor. Like your styling as well, especially after you started posted pictures of yourself. :) Next time I am in London, I have to try some of these you've recommended, they look yummy!

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    1. Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to write. It's been a rather rough week and your comment has definitely lifted my spirits. Thank you ever so much.

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  10. Sense of humor, I meant! Should always preview before send -- note to self. :D

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  11. I wish that I had eaten a little better when I was in London - granted we had a couple of nice lunches (and the food in Haywards Heath, well, we were well looked after lets put it that way). I'm going to have to keep this one in the bookmarks for the next time I head over. And you know, sometimes the food is worth the extra 10 pounds! :P

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    1. Oh no, speak for yourself. I can't afford the extra 10 pounds but you can!

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