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Red Chilli Chinese restaurant


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The clay pot arrived as a vast seething cauldron of meat (and fish) in a deeply flavoured chilli broth.  Chicken, deep-fried tofu, tripe, mushrooms, fish balls, scallops, and pork, in a very generous portion.

Neither the commis nor I are particularly light eaters, and we admitted defeat about four-fifths of the way through the mountain of food. 

Had this dish - during an unexpected late lunch today with the trollop. Loved it - and as Thom has said elsewhere, this a is served with a more unctous broth than the lamb with chilli claypot dish. Also had the stir-fried eel with chilli dish Thom had recommended too. This was astonishingly good - and at £9 - my god - the portion size was ridiculously generous. Foolishly also ordered some dim-sum size starters - now forgive me - but we had a slight communication breakdown with the rather charming staff at this point. We wanted a dish that was callled -Steamed Northern bun- or some such like - which they couldn't do. So we went with the lass serving us and her options. We got a a huge portion of 10 generous dim sum - with pork and prawn and an odd dish of huge fluffed up doughy balls, served with a condensed milk to dip in. Haven't a clue what it was- but it took the chilli heat away from my palate. :smile: With some rice -tea- two beers and a glass of wine the bill was a mere £35.

And re admitting defeat -sod that - got a doggy bag to bring the rest back home. :biggrin:

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That claypot dish is rather good, and filling isn't it? The fish cake things were particularly good, and I'm not normally a huge fan of those.

I really need to go with some more people - really give the menu a going over. Problem is if you go on your own and have a claypot dish you aren't really going to be able to eat anything else

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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That claypot dish is rather good, and filling isn't it? The fish cake things were particularly good, and I'm not normally a huge fan of those.

I really need to go with some more people - really give the menu a going over. Problem is if you go on your own and have a claypot dish you aren't really going to be able to eat anything else

Wholly agree- you need to go with a few people to get the best of the place and enjoy a selection of dishes. I would be happy to oblige and join you - as I am sure Thom would as well, provided he doesn't utilise one of his famous excuse lines: For example:

Sorry- I am having my Gestapo-like glasses refitted, with even thicker lenses today.

Sorry Bap- just booked another spray-tan at OrangefreaksRus. Maybe next time.

PM me when you are next up from Hants and we can try and arrange a lunch. :smile:

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I am sure Thom would as well, provided he doesn't utilise one of his famous excuse lines: For example:

Sorry- I am having my Gestapo-like glasses refitted, with even thicker lenses today.

Sorry Bap- just booked another spray-tan at OrangefreaksRus. Maybe next time.

PM me when you are next up from Hants and we can try and arrange a lunch. :smile:

You misquote me sir! I clearly muttered the word 'loser' just as I cut you off...

Anyway, I forgive you for your barbed comments as they are typical of someone for whom the responsibilities of gainful employment are but dim and distant memories and whose brain has been addled by a diet of Trisha style chatshows and sugar-coated cereal.

Off you pop fella, you'll be missing 'Cash in the Attic'.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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BTW did we miss commenting on the Guardian review the weekend before last? Hmmm... I guess I'm the only Grauniad-reading, commie-pinko, wannabe polyversity lecturer in applied wooly liberalism on here then.

Anyway, Matthew Norman really rated it, for what that's worth. A bizarrely precise score of 8.5 out of 10, though to be fair his review did the place justice and he seemed to have picked up on most of the dishes that get positive name-checks on here (is he a lurker?).

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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BTW did we miss commenting on the Guardian review the weekend before last? Hmmm... I guess I'm the only Grauniad-reading, commie-pinko, wannabe polyversity lecturer in applied wooly liberalism on here then.

No, you're not the only Guardian reader on here, but we haven't been to the Red Chilli Restaurant and I can't really say that I get much from Matthew Norman's reviews. Although clearly streets ahead of VLS I don't tend to pay much attention to his reviews.

P.S.

Shaun Hill's review on Saturday (while Matthew Norman is on holiday) of the Bell Inn at Yarpole was much more readable in my view...

edited to correct brainstorm over name of restaurant...

Edited by JudyB (log)
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..... you'll be missing 'Cash in the Attic'.

I think it telling that I had to find out what this was from my missus. I abhor all day time television- it is the bastion of students and dullard Sun readers alike and it is as much of an anathema to me- as is your "League of Gentlemen stylee" sartorially eclectic, dress sense.

In any case- I think you are just jealous that I am no longer chained to the "orifice". Having said that- you never seem to be in yours anyway. Being either out looking for new offices, swanning off to Dublin for work (read: Guinness drinking jolly), or generally sponging meals off poor souls and tricking them into subscribing to your new venture. Sorry- I mean cogently arguing that they can increase their 2007 business projections, by coming on board. :biggrin:

Anyway- enough of this - I look forward to our Lunch later this week, during which of course, you will be paying for the first bottle of champagne for being such a rude fuckwit . Provided of course- you can make it and Great Aunt Olivia's toenails don't need clipping again- or perhaps that unmentionable irritation will actually necessitate a trip to the STD clinic after all.

As you were- let's return to talk of Lamb Chilli clay pots please........

Edited by Bapi (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

On the subject of Lamb Chilli Pots I had one yesterday (along with some Beijing dumplings) and it was great.

I was worried to see they now have new menus (a death knell/knee jerk reaction in many small, authentic restaurants once the good reviews get to them) but rest assured that although the new one combines the traditional and westernised lists of dishes none seem to have dropped out, and indeed some new ones seem to have been added.

Also, I was talking to the manager and he said that there were looking at a couple of sites in Liverpool too - The empire grows! Ah well, far be it from me to complain if every corner in every city has a Red Chilli on it, alongside the Pret and the Starbucks.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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''Also, I was talking to the manager and he said that there were looking at a couple of sites in Liverpool too - The empire grows! Ah well, far be it from me to complain if every corner in every city has a Red Chilli on it, alongside the Pret and the Starbucks.''

Thom

Can I say from the outset,how pleased I am that you enjoy The Red Chilli Restaurant in Leeds.

I live and work in Leeds and have frequented the venue several times.I am very familiar with the menu and concept and have also been to the Manchester location on various occasions.It is a great addition to the Leeds restaurant scene,where oriental food is extremely poor in comparison to other major cities.

However,with the greatest respect in the world,I do think that this thread rather flatters the place.On it's day,RC serves excellent and innovative food but my concern is its inconsistency and generally poor service.

Many people read these forums before embarking on long journeys to dine in Leeds.I certainly don't regard RC as outstanding at the moment.I personally don't think it can lace the boots of Hakkasan(Britain's only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant),Yauatcha(It's sister and dim sum restaurant,also based in London),or even Yang Sing in Manchester.

Admittedly,Beijing cuisine is different,so direct comparisons can not really be made across the board but as a quality dining experience goes,I feel it falls way short of the mark too often.That being said,it is still good value for money.

I am not making these comments to tear the place to pieces but as practical criticism.I adore oriental food and after the heartbreaking demise and closure of the fantastic Jumbo which served some of the finest cantonese food in the country for two decades,I want to enthuse about RC like you do.

It would certainly prevent the hassle of having to trek all the way over to Manchester.

Put simply,if they got the food consistent at RC and got some decent staff minus blue tooth headsets.it would clean up and you wouldn't get in the place.

Leeds cries out for a top notch chinese restaurant,so please RC,just go that extra yard and you'll make fortunes.But get the Leeds operation up to top quality first,before expanding again.

Best wishes and I hope you continue to enjoy RC.

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''Also, I was talking to the manager and he said that there were looking at a couple of sites in Liverpool too - The empire grows! Ah well, far be it from me to complain if every corner in every city has a Red Chilli on it, alongside the Pret and the Starbucks.''

Thom

Can I say from the outset,how pleased I am that you enjoy The Red Chilli Restaurant in Leeds.

I live and work in Leeds and have frequented the venue several times.I am very familiar with the menu and concept and have also been to the Manchester location on various occasions.It is a great addition to the Leeds restaurant scene,where oriental food is extremely poor in comparison to other major cities.

However,with the greatest respect in the world,I do think that this thread rather flatters the place.On it's day,RC serves excellent and innovative food but my concern is its inconsistency and generally poor service.

Many people read these forums before embarking on long journeys to dine in Leeds.I certainly don't regard RC as outstanding at the moment.I personally don't think it can lace the boots of Hakkasan(Britain's only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant),Yauatcha(It's sister and dim sum restaurant,also based in London),or even Yang Sing in Manchester.

Admittedly,Beijing cuisine is different,so direct comparisons can not really be made across the board but as a quality dining experience goes,I feel it falls way short of the mark too often.That being said,it is still good value for money.

I am not making these comments to tear the place to pieces but as practical criticism.I adore oriental food and after the heartbreaking demise and closure of the fantastic Jumbo which served some of the finest cantonese food in the country for two decades,I want to enthuse about RC like you do.

It would certainly prevent the hassle of having to trek all the way over to Manchester.

Put simply,if they got the food consistent at RC and got some decent staff minus blue tooth headsets.it would clean up and you wouldn't get in the place.

Leeds cries out for a top notch chinese restaurant,so please RC,just go that extra yard and you'll make fortunes.But get the Leeds operation up to top quality first,before expanding again.

Best wishes and I hope you continue to enjoy RC.

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Serieux

Thanks for your comments. Actually though, I'm a Mancunian boy, and all my praise has been for the local (original) incarnation of Red Chilli.

I've not been to the Leeds one, but the feedback here does seem to be that it is not quite up to the standard of the Manchester one and that the menu may differ slightly (not sure if this due to the difference in clientele?).

On the subject of the Yang Sing I have always been a big fan but I have to say I think their cusine hasn't moved forward over the last couple of years and rising standards in other restaurants (Wings etc) have caught them up. The only thing which takes me back there at the minute is their dim sum.

Ah well, your RC may not be totally up to scratch but if you makes you feel better you do have Anthonys over your side of the Pennines.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Serieux

Thanks for your comments. Actually though, I'm a Mancunian boy, and all my praise has been for the local (original) incarnation of Red Chilli.

I've not been to the Leeds one, but the feedback here does seem to be that it is not quite up to the standard of the Manchester one and that the menu may differ slightly (not sure if this due to the difference in clientele?).

On the subject of the Yang Sing I have always been a big fan but I have to say I think their cusine hasn't moved forward over the last couple of years and rising standards in other restaurants (Wings etc) have caught them up. The only thing which takes me back there at the minute is their dim sum.

Ah well, your RC may not be totally up to scratch but if you makes you feel better you do have Anthonys over your side of the Pennines.

Cheers

Thom

I agree entirely Thom.

Leeds RC simply isn't as good as the Manchester operation.I do wish they would get it right.

I also concur with your comments about Yang Sing.

I am a regular and a big fan but it has definitely declined over the last 18 months.The dim sum is still excellent and so are many of the special dishes such as the fresh fish and hotpots.But generally,the main dishes fall short of the mark and the new decor simply doesn't flick my switch.

I still love to go on a sunday lunchtime with my racing paper becauses the place buzzes.

Wings has also been recommended to me recently by a Manchester Restauranter,so on your joint recommendation I shall give it a try next week and report back.

Anthony's is superb but not the sort of place you would want to go to every week as it is serious food and the menu seldomly changes much which is how he maintains the standard.It is sacrilege that it hasn't got a Michelin Star(rumour has it that they didn't want to make him the youngest ever recipient of a Star,over Marco's head).

I strongly recommend The 3 Acres at Emley,2 miles from Junction 39 of the M1,between Huddersfield and Wakefield.Superb ambience and decor.Majors in Fish and Traditional English cuisine cooked with a modern twist.I have friends from Cheshire who drive there weekly,who say it knocks the spots off anything in the North West.

http://www.threeacres.com/contact.htm

Best Wishes

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have just discovered this unbelievable place.

Having avoided so many terrible places in Chinatown, it makes a change to have somewhere that genuinely excites.

Went last night, had the Beijing dumplings, salt and pepper squid, hot and spicy beef to start and then Grandma's frogs' legs and the hot chilli meat and fish clay pot with soft noodles.

All this, 4 beers and the bill was less than 40 quid. How they manage this is beyond me.

Truly an excellent restaurant :smile:

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  • 5 weeks later...

I had lunch here today with a school friend I haven't seen in nearly 18 years. A very pleasant and enjoyable meal over which to catch up.

Like Thom, I was was a little disconcerted to be presented with a new menu but soon recognised some of the more outlandish dishes, the place is becoming famous for. First we tried the Pig's Maw slices with chilli. Slightly gelatinous in texture, spiked witha fierce chilli oil- but damm these were moreish. Followed by the Lamb Chilli Pot, which if anything was better than the first time I tried it with truly, beautifully tender lamb. My friend opted for Stir fried eel with coriander gravy. This was served with noodles and again fabulously tender pieces of eel, which is a testament to the deft skills of the chefs. I did think the eel was not as flavoursome as it should have been, but very enjoyable nonetheless. With rice, a couple of beers and bottled water we paid just £30.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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yes, I'll second that - had it for a birthday lunch about a fortnight ago + am seriously considering a round trip train journey from London just to have that one dish again.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Grrrrr....I'm anxiously awaiting Liverpool. I've only eaten at the Manchester restaurant, but for what its worth, its very good.

The portions are gargantuan, and I'm no mean trencherman, and everything they serve is full of flavour. They seem to have got rid of the different menus concept now - everything is on the one menu .

Have the spring onion bread. Its really greasy and incredibly yummy. Great with that chilli broth and a couple of tsingtao's.

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  • 3 months later...

Two words for you - freakin fabulous- the only way to describe a stellar meal here last night; in the midst of a boy's night out in Manchester. I took three Red Chilli virgins with me who, I am delighted to say, all threw themselves into the experience with real gusto. It was rammed when we arrived at 6:45pm, so we had to retire to a pub for 30 mins before a table became free.

But on returning, we started with a slightly safe option of salt and pepper ribs, which were nonetheless delicious and had a fantastic gnarl factor. Followed by Husband and Wife's lung slices. I was a little wary of ordering these as I took some friend's here last year and they hated this dish. Not so these guys they loved it. Finally, re starters, we had Beijing Dumplings- which were equally well received and a mammoth portion for £4.

I can't eat here without having the delicious spicy hot poached lamb. The chaps were aghast of the generosity of the portion size of this dish. As I wrote above- they really wanted to explore the menu - one of the guys ordering Stir fried pig intestines with blood sausage. This came out bubbling away in a clay pot with ferocious intensity- but once this had abated it left cracking dish; the intestine being the real winner with a gelatinous texture but real depth of flavour. I admit I talk too much- so whilst we were waiting to be seated we met a charming Irish family who were regulars. They recommended one of the "Home Style dishes"- Stir Fried French bean with chilli and minced pork. Blimey, the dish of the night. Crunchy bean, chilli heat and moreish porky bits. What's not to like? Finished with a fish dish of crispy yellow croaker (yes, I have never heard of it either). This came with a rather ubiquitous sweet and sour sauce- but on the night worked well to ease our palates from the chilli heat of the other dishes. In short, a cracking meal and I would heartily recommend any of the dishes above.

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Two words for you - freakin fabulous- the only way to describe a stellar meal here last night; in the midst of a boy's night out in Manchester. I took three Red Chilli virgins with me who, I am delighted to say, all threw themselves into the  experience with real gusto. It was rammed when we arrived at 6:45pm, so we had to retire to a pub for 30 mins before a table became free.

But on returning, we started with a slightly safe option of salt and pepper ribs, which were nonetheless delicious and had a fantastic gnarl factor. Followed by Husband and Wife's lung slices. I was a little wary of ordering these as I took some friend's here last year and they hated this dish. Not so these guys they loved it. Finally, re starters, we had Beijing Dumplings- which were equally well received and a mammoth portion for £4.

I can't eat here without having the delicious spicy hot poached lamb. The chaps were aghast of the generosity of the portion size of this dish. As I wrote above- they really wanted to explore the menu - one of the guys ordering Stir fried pig intestines with blood sausage. This came out bubbling away in a clay pot with ferocious intensity- but once this had abated it left cracking dish; the intestine being the real winner with a gelatinous texture but real depth of flavour. I admit I talk too much- so whilst we were waiting to be seated we met a charming Irish family who were regulars. They recommended one of the "Home Style dishes"- Stir Fried French bean with chilli and minced pork. Blimey, the dish of the night. Crunchy bean, chilli heat and moreish porky bits. What's not to like? Finished with a  fish dish of crispy yellow croaker (yes, I have never heard of it either). This came with a rather ubiquitous sweet and sour sauce- but on the night worked well to ease our palates from the chilli heat of the other dishes. In short, a cracking meal and I would heartily recommend any of the dishes above.

best get a table booked for friday night then.... might save me from a station kebab on the way home.

you don't win friends with salad

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Just got back from Red Chilli Leeds, Beijing dumplings and steamed pork buns both well made and pretty enjoyable, the two stars were our main courses though, the poached lamb chilli dish, and braised pigs trotters, both amazing, and totally different to each other, the lamb dish had me sweating like Gary Glitter in a playground, and the trotters were the perfect antidote, superbly cooked, and in a very tasty sauce which managed to avoid all the Chinese sauce cliches.

Will have to try the Red Chilli in York, will be difficult to walk past Akbars without popping in for their wonderful Lahori specialities, but I'm sure I can manage it.

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best get a table booked for friday night then.... might save me from a station kebab on the way home.

I missed this. I think Heathcote's new venture - Grado- had been mooted for the evening , but I am more than happy to dine back here.

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      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
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