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Red Chilli Chinese restaurant


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I ve had it in leeds manc and york , it seems hotter in york but otherwise the same basic dish

but when you go to restaurant called red chilli order a dish that the menu tells you is v hot, that the waiting staff advise you on ordering is v hot, every post on here says its v hot to then complain the dish had too much chilli in it ?! Its not called a hot pot for nothing!

you don't win friends with salad

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My OH and a friend both went for the forever vegetarian set menu .... Whilst they both enjoyed the set menu, it definately wasn't the best value for money in this restaurant & if one of them hadn't also been eating the meat dishes  I think they would have gone a bit hungry, or at least needed to order more food.

that sounds unfortunate. I took a big group of colleagues to the Leeds branch at the end of Jan, and a couple of the chaps had the veggie set menu and seemed to be stuffed.

I can imagine that some of the other dishes on the menu would seem pedestrian by comparison. It was noticeable that when they let me do the ordering, that all the dishes I added (the standard as discussed on this thread) - they were the biggest hits of the evening!

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I ve had it in leeds manc and york , it seems hotter in york but otherwise the same basic dish

It seems to vary slightly depending on the chef (I'd had a degree of heat-levels even within the Manchester restaurant) but I have to say I've never known them serve the hot poached lamb without a copious amount of dried chillis.

Just to be clear we're not talking about long finger-sized dried chillis of the sort you see draped along the fixtures and fittings in bad Mexican restaurants, these babies are no bigger than your little fingernail and have a punch to match.

I just managed to inadvertantly book myself into Red Chilli twice in one day - lunch and dinner tomorrow. That did seem slight (only slight) overkill so against my better judgement I swapped my lunch meeting to Abode.

Luckily I'm also taking the team there for dinner next Tuesday so I'll still get my twice-in-a-week Red Chilli fix.

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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I ve had it in leeds manc and york , it seems hotter in york but otherwise the same basic dish

It seems to vary slightly depending on the chef (I'd had a degree of heat-levels even within the Manchester restaurant) but I have to say I've never known them serve the hot poached lamb without a copious amount of dried chillis.

Just to be clear we're not talking about long finger-sized dried chillis of the sort you see draped along the fixtures and fittings in bad Mexican restaurants, these babies are no bigger than your little fingernail and have a punch to match.

I just managed to inadvertantly book myself into Red Chilli twice in one day - lunch and dinner tomorrow. That did seem slight (only slight) overkill so against my better judgement I swapped my lunch meeting to Abode.

Luckily I'm also taking the team there for dinner next Tuesday so I'll still get my twice-in-a-week Red Chilli fix.

Cheers

Thom

You are addicted.

Big time.

Thank your lucky stars its on your doorstep.

I'm envious,of course.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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You are addicted.

Big time.

Thank your lucky stars its on your doorstep.

I'm envious,of course.

I'm not addicted, I'll be alright, I just need one more hit of that chilli...

And luckily, I got it last night. A colleague was in town for the football (Altrincham born and bred, but ensconced in Rome for many years now) and when I asked what he fancied for a pre-match dinner he played into my hands by saying "Anything but Italian".

"Spice", I said. "I bet you miss a bit of spice out in that there Italy." He did. I suggested Sichuan, he said it was his favourite (though his normal fix of chilli, sought out the minute he touches down in Blighty, is a blast of Thai), I thought for a while (milliseconds) and then suggested Red Chilli.

Being with a newbie I played safe (and wheeled out the big hitters) by ordering us (all together now) spring onion bread, rice for two, Beijing dumplings and hot poached lamb. Service was a little slow (they were busy) but the food was as consistently wonderful as ever (overstuffed dumplings the only - welcome - derivation from the norm) so I won't recount the detail.

My chum was, frankly, blown away. In an ill-advised homage to Michael Winner he declared the lamb "Historic". If that blew him away the bill almost finished him off - £32 a head for the food and four Tiger beers (still no Tsingtao - they're blaming the exchange rate) - less than a tenner a head for the food.

Ah well, it should keep me going till the works do next Tuesday.

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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You are addicted.

Big time.

Thank your lucky stars its on your doorstep.

I'm envious,of course.

I'm not addicted, I'll be alright, I just need one more hit of that chilli...

And luckily, I got it last night. A colleague was in town for the football (Altrincham born and bred, but ensconced in Rome for many years now) and when I asked what he fancied for a pre-match dinner he played into my hands by saying "Anything but Italian".

"Spice", I said. "I bet you miss a bit of spice out in that there Italy." He did. I suggested Sichuan, he said it was his favourite (though his normal fix of chilli, sought out the minute he touches down in Blighty, is a blast of Thai), I thought for a while (milliseconds) and then suggested Red Chilli.

Being with a newbie I played safe (and wheeled out the big hitters) by ordering us (all together now) spring onion bread, rice for two, Beijing dumplings and hot poached lamb. Service was a little slow (they were busy) but the food was as consistently wonderful as ever (overstuffed dumplings the only - welcome - derivation from the norm) so I won't recount the detail.

My chum was, frankly, blown away. In an ill-advised homage to Michael Winner he declared the lamb "Historic". If that blew him away the bill almost finished him off - £32 a head for the food and four Tiger beers (still no Tsingtao - they're blaming the exchange rate) - less than a tenner a head for the food.

Ah well, it should keep me going till the works do next Tuesday.

Cheers

Thom

Yum,Yum

I'm eating it all again.

This is a very nice distraction for me,as I'm currently listening to Alice in Wonderland on The Fat Duck reservation line.

I'm twenty minutes in,and hoping its my lucky day!!!!!!!!!!!

Very happy dining.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Hurrah for Red Chilli and a thoroughly successful team-building night out.

Service was a little sketchy (we got a new waitress and stretched her to breaking point with very convoluted ordering), the room was packing and bustling, our first table for nine was in the ailse and the second squashed in a corner under a draughty window but the food...

...amazing.

Three of the team had been before, though one of these (who had foolishly visited without my guiding hand) had tried to order the poached lamb broth on two previous occassions and ended up with the wrong dish each time. The other five were newbies.

We didn't go CRAZY with the ordering (there were ladies present. Proper ladylike one's too) but we still managed to end up with enough food that we all left feeling stuffed and three of us had well-stocked doggy bags in tow.

Plenty of boiled rice obviously. Four potions of spring onion bread - a revelation to the uninitiated ("Bread! In a Chinese Restaurant?!" - Shades of Peter Kay...) - and four portions of Beijing dumplings (devoured by all with lots of lipsmacking).

Then our token veggie had aubergines in a sweet chilli sauce and a dish of salt and pepper stir-fried beancurd . The aubergine were great (not dis-similar to the Beijing aubergines), really smoky and creamy, but the beancurd was fantastic. It had real texture and there aren't many things in life which aren't improved by being dusted in salt and pepper and fried.

We also had two lots of the hot poached lamb (leading to at least four new converts), a Cantonese spicy beef (the shredded, batterered sweet stuff which can get a bit sickly but was great here), salt and pepper baby squid (fantastic), the fillet beef rolls (I missed out on these), rice and chicken with tomato (a real find - very delicate clean flavours but absolutely delicious; a soupy stock full of rice with a real clear taste of tomato) and some big noodle dish (dan-dan noodles? I didn't try this).

All went down a treat, though if I'd had my way there would have been a LOT more offal being consumed around the table. Personally I ordered the pork belly with preserved cabbage (as unctuous and intense as ever) and... the French beans with pork. I nearly missed this, as it was under the veggie menu (beans with pork rather than pork with beans) but boy am I glad I sought it out!

It was bloody lovely! I don't initially understand where so much flavour could come from but it was obviously contained within that oily, dark red, sediment filled sauce which was chockful of chilli heat and umami. I think I could eat my own shoes if they were basted in whatever that magic formula is.

The pork itself worked wonderfully. It was in mince form and weirdly it was only the other day I knocked up an impromptu stir-fry with lamb mince (plus chilli, five-spice, loads of soy and oyster sauce, and chopped spring greens with thin noodles stirred through) and it worked so well as a texture and seemed so well suited to wok-cooking I questioned why mince wasn't more prevalent in Chinese cuisine as keema for example is in Indian/Pakistani cooking.

Apologies If I am showing ignorance of the many, many mince based dishes one finds on the menu of your average Chinese-chippy.

All in all then another knock-out meal (if a little short on "extreme" dishes) with some fantastic new discoveries. The bill? Including a decent amount of Tiger beers (maybe 12 or 15? All in, not each...), two bottles of decent Sauvignon Blanc, and a smattering of soft drinks it was around £220, under £25 a head all in.

Fantastic.

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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i'd only take exception with the bread ordering at the start, that's just wierd :biggrin:

i've had the dan dan noodles it's like a super hot spaghetti bolgonese, especially so when you take it home as a doggy bag and the heat really intensifies. It was too much chilli with the lamb hot pot also.

you don't win friends with salad

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i'd only take exception with the bread ordering at the start, that's just wierd  :biggrin:

i've had the dan dan noodles it's like a super hot spaghetti bolgonese, especially so when you take it home as a doggy bag and the heat really intensifies. It was too much chilli with the lamb hot pot also.

To be fair we were absolutely ravenous so we just asked for everything to come out as soon as it was ready and aside from the veggie stuff it was the spring onion bread which headed the queue (this unconventional ordering system seemed to befuddle our waitress but she got the hang of it eventually).

Yes, the dan dan noodles did look like spag bol, in fact that was commented on around the table. But "too much chilli"? Come on Gary, I thought we'd weened you on to the hard stuff. Carry on like this and you'll be back ordering chicken and cashew in no time...

Thanks for the tip on the beans and pork though. Absolutely spot on, I think it's become a new standard dish for me.

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Not been to many Chinese restaurants aside from the casual, bog-standard neighbourhood ones that do a good job of feeding you. Tried Red Chilli while in Manchester and had Five Spice Beef, Shredded beef fillet in Cantonese sauce and hot poached lamb. This is the nicest Chinese food I've ever eaten. One more senior member of staff was wonderful and polite, though a huge congregation of staff members in the enterance completely ignored us. It was totally weird but all uphill after that.

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i would describe the service in red chilli's generally as idiosyncratic, they can be friendly, interested, competent, ignorant, rude, almost threatening across the different staff on the same night, but the food overcomes it. They are generally more the former than the latter, but you never know what you're going to get.

you don't win friends with salad

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I too have found them to be very pleasant in Manchester, especially if you go off piste for some of the more outlandish dishes. One sweet lass even tried to warn us off the Spicy Hot Poached Lamb- by waving here hand over her mouth and saying " No, No- too hot". :biggrin: Obviously, we thanked her and the told her not to worry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went to the new branch in Manchester last night. Positively quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of the Portland Street branch.

Spring onion bread, Beijing dumplings and steamed pork buns went down well. The dumplings are the best value foodstuff in Manchester, with 10 for about £4.

I went for the mixed meat hot-pot. Never has so much offal been put in one dish. And given that I'm a doctor, it felt like an anatomy lesson. Some stuff was unidentifiable. And it could have served 6. But it was tasty and interesting. Think I'll go back to the poached lamb dish next time. The other half had the mixed seafood with rice crackers, which was a good combination of scallops, squid and random fish in a spiced and slightly sweet sauce. Bizarrely served over what seemed like snack-a-jacks.

I like the new place and hope that they can sustain two branches in the city. Service was better here than the city centre place and the room is better set out. It will become my regular stop-off when I move to the new Children's hospital that is next door.

Adam

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We went to the Portland street branch last night.

Had the usual, beijing Dumplings and Hot poached lamb. Decided to try the French Beans with Pork and also the Spring onion bread based on recommendations here.

The French Beans with pork was amazing, like nothing I've ever tasted. I could live without the spring onion bread, but perhaps its because we they brought it out after our starters. Maybe it would go down better at the start of the meal.

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Dropped some strong hints to Mrs G yesterday morning about a visit to the Portland St branch, for a latish lunch, but she was'n't having any of it

She is not such a big fan as I am, so I don't impose on her too much

However I can feel another must visit quite soon

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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A four star review in the Metro on Wednesday for the new Oxford Road site. Fair do's to the reviewer, he went for some of the more extreme dishes including the lung slices and the meat-pot with the pig's skin etc.

For me it was back to the Portland Street original for a quick lunch with a mate yesterday. Hot poached lamb, rice for two, spring onion bread and a departure from my norm as the French beans with pork took the place of the Beijing dumplings.

All absolutely spot on apart from mildly amateurish service. Bill including waters and beers was £28. Yum.

My recent meals have included Abode, Le Gavroche, Sketch, Grill on the Alley, Harvey Nichols, Ithaca, Anthony's, The London Carriage Works, Blackhouse Grill, Oddfellows, The Modern, Tom's Chophouse and more besides but for some reason I only ever get around to writing up Red Chilli.

Note to self - Must try harder to post a greater depth and breadth of comments to present a more balanced and truer reflection of my myriad dining experiences and to dispel the notion that I am clinically addicted to Red Chilli.

Edited by thom (log)

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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A four star review in the Metro on Wednesday for the new Oxford Road site. Fair do's to the reviewer, he went for some of the more extreme dishes including the lung slices and the meat-pot with the pig's skin etc.

For me it was back to the Portland Street original for a quick lunch with a mate yesterday. Hot poached lamb, rice for two, spring onion bread and a departure from my norm as the French beans with pork took the place of the Beijing dumplings.

All absolutely spot on apart from mildly amateurish service. Bill including waters and beers was £28. Yum.

My recent meals have included Abode, Le Gavroche, Sketch, Grill on the Alley, Harvey Nichols, Ithaca, Anthony's, The London Carriage Works, Blackhouse Grill, Oddfellows, The Modern, Tom's Chophouse and more besides but for some reason I only ever get around to writing up Red Chilli.

Note to self - Must try harder to post a greater depth and breadth of comments to present a more balanced and truer reflection of my myriad dining experiences and to dispel the notion that I am clinically addicted to Red Chilli.

Me thinks this Sunday is worthy of the trek to the rainy city, although in fairness my last 3/4 visits the weather has been great.

As already stated above, the hint has already been made so,

Its almost a certainty.

By strange coincidence we met up with some friends from North Wales at Oddfellows over Easter, as its about half way from where we both live.

I shall post it on the Chester thread.

Be interested to have your opinion of the place!

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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  • 2 weeks later...
I walked past a Red Chilli restaurant on Charing Cross Rd in London today.  Looked tacky - anyone know if there's any connection to the lauded Leeds/Manchester chain?

Do you mean Red n' Hot? it is tacky but the food is the real deal.

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I walked past a Red Chilli restaurant on Charing Cross Rd in London today.  Looked tacky - anyone know if there's any connection to the lauded Leeds/Manchester chain?

Do you mean Red n' Hot? it is tacky but the food is the real deal.

The Manchester one is tacky also, although I've not eaten there yet, I just thought I'd have a look.

It does'n't look very inviting, and its up a long flight of stairs, did think of trying a couple of dishes here and then a short stroll to Red Chilli, all for the cause you understand :smile:

Well perhaps sometime soon

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Just arrived back from our Red Chilli fix and have some good news, especially if you live in Birmingham. It would appear they are looking for a site, but are finding it quite difficult, to locate one.

If you know of one? please get in touch.

Well, surprise, surprise, the chef, Old Xie was not in the kitchen today. In fact this is the only time he's not been there during our visits.

No problem, however it turns out he's on holiday in China("somewhere near Korea")

I had no need to worry as the tiny kitchen had seven people in there even though there were only three tables occupied. Clearly they were prepping, expecting a busy evening service.

Considering the above the food was very slow coming from the kitchen,normally its out in a flash on Sunday lunch.

That said when it did arrive all the flavours were totally spot on.

Well the Hot poached Lamb was the first order, followed by French bean and minced Pork, then we ordered Big Grandma's Stir fried Crab, this is also available with Sweet chilli or Ginger and Spring Onion.

We can't make our minds up as to which sauce we prefer having tasted them all at different times they are all terrific, have to try them all again :smile:

Now then, because I have assumed responsibility for ordering somewhat in a hurry, I am told off because I'm reminded that we were going to try one of the Frogs Legs dishes.

So ever the gentleman I summon the waiter, and much to his astonishment order the Frogs Legs with red and green peppers.

When the Lamb arrived it suddenly dawned on me the enormity of our task given the portion size of this dish alone, which is enough for two or more.

Still we tucked in and started to make headway into the mountain of food.

I think its fair to say that we have settled into the Lamb, Pork and Beans, and Stir Fried Crab dishes as favorites, however we did enjoy the Frogs Legs which had a sweet vinegar sauce and some very large pieces or black fungus which added a weird gelatinous texture to the dish. Very enjoyable.

We all know how good a dish the Lamb is, but strange as it may seem there were a lot, and I do mean a lot less of those fiery little buggers in the dish, and to my mind better off for it, it meant that I could concentrate more on eating than wasting valuable time looking for the little nasal explosives

The Crab and Frogs Legs are very more-ish but very messy to eat but we find them well worth the effort. The Big Grandma sauce is divine with the Crab and well worth all of the licking and sucking (careful) the spiny and sometimes painful limbs.

The service was its normal laid back lazy Sunday style, the waiters seemed slightly amused and even bemused as they watched from afar, at our attempts to demolish enough food for eight people.

All in all, everything is well up to normal standard, terrific saucing, which I would happily pay good money if I could learn how to replicate them in my kitchen

Good quality ingredients in very skilled hands,putting on the plate exactly what the punters want.

We were of course defeated by the portions, but not by much, we had a smaller doggy bag than ourselves and the waiters were expecting. :biggrin:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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      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.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Chinese food must be among the most famous in the world. Yet, at the same time, the most misunderstood.

      I feel sure (hope) that most people here know that American-Chinese cuisine, British-Chinese cuisine, Indian-Chinese cuisine etc are, in huge ways, very different from Chinese-Chinese cuisine and each other. That's not what I want to discuss.

      Yet, every day I still come across utter nonsense on YouTube videos and Facebook about the "real" Chinese cuisine, even from ethnically Chinese people (who have often never been in China). Sorry YouTube "influencers", but sprinkling soy sauce or 5-spice powder on your cornflakes does not make them Chinese!
       
      So what is the "authentic" Chinese food? Well, like any question about China, there are several answers. It is not surprising that a country larger than western Europe should have more than one typical culinary style. Then, we must distinguish between what you may be served in a large hotel dining room, a small local restaurant, a street market stall or in a Chinese family's home.

      That said, in this topic, I want to attempt to debunk some of the more prevalent myths. Not trying to start World War III.

      When I moved to China from the UK 25 years ago, I had my preconceptions. They were all wrong. Sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice was reported to be the second favourite dish in Britain, and had, of course, to be preceded by a plate of prawn/shrimp crackers. All washed down with a lager or three.

      Yet, in that quarter of a century, I've seldom seen a prawn cracker. And egg fried rice is usually eaten as a quick dish on its own, not usually as an accompaniment to main courses. Every menu featured a starter of prawn/shrimp toast which I have never seen in mainland China - just once in Hong Kong.

      But first, one myth needs to be dispelled. The starving Chinese! When I was a child I was encouraged to eat the particularly nasty bits on the plate by being told that the starving Chinese would lap them up. My suggestion that we could post it to them never went down too well. At that time (the late fifties) there was indeed a terrible famine in China (almost entirely manmade (Maomade)).

      When I first arrived in China, it was after having lived in Soviet Russia and I expected to see the same long lines of people queuing up to buy nothing very much in particular. Instead, on my first visit to a market (in Hunan Province), I was confronted with a wider range of vegetables, seafood, meat and assorted unidentified frying objects than I have ever seen anywhere else. And it was so cheap I couldn't convert to UK pounds or any other useful currency.
       
      I'm going to start with some of the simpler issues - later it may get ugly!

      1. Chinese people eat everything with chopsticks.
       

       
      No, they don't! Most things, yes, but spoons are also commonly used in informal situations. I recently had lunch in a university canteen. It has various stations selling different items. I found myself by the fried rice stall and ordered some Yangzhou fried rice. Nearly all the students and faculty sitting near me were having the same.

      I was using my chopsticks to shovel the food in, when I noticed that I was the only one doing so. Everyone else was using spoons. On investigating, I was told that the lunch break is so short at only two-and-a-half hours that everyone wants to eat quickly and rush off for their compulsory siesta.
       
      I've also seen claims that people eat soup with chopsticks. Nonsense. While people use chopsticks to pick out choice morsels from the broth, they will drink the soup by lifting their bowl to their mouths like cups. They ain't dumb!

      Anyway, with that very mild beginning, I'll head off and think which on my long list will be next.

      Thanks to @KennethT for advice re American-Chinese food.
       
       
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