My minor China crisis.

September 15, 2010

I have to say I’m not very knowledgeable, or especially enthusiastic, about the subject of Chinese food. Of course I’ve mainly encountered only the fairly grim version doled from takeaways to those with a beer-prompted hunger and no desire to cook. On the few occasions I’ve ventured into Chinatown to look for something more authentic and of better quality I’ve ended up with gruel and a sneer from shouty waiters. The likes of Hakkasan weren’t around when I lived in London.

In Leicester I do patronise the Marchee Wok, an upmarket takeaway in upmarket Stoneygate, where the food is of fair quality, but even then my usual approach is simply to get a huge tray of their capital spare ribs to gnaw on as comfort  food after the latest dispiriting home defeat for City.

Anyhow there is a bevy of Chinese restaurants now on High Street in the city centre and I can feel myself tempted to give one a try out. Real China  in Highcross looks like standard issue anglo-chinese buffet, while Shanghai Moon looks seems to cater for a predominantly Chinese clientele and has extensive dim sum  menu. It’s somehow slightly intimidating.  And this week come a newcomer, Taste of China. I’ve only been in to pick up a menu but it looks intriguing. The decor and atmosphere is of a fast food cafe, but the menu  has several of the distinguishing characteristics of “interesting” Chinese restuarants – a refusal to explain unfamiliar items for the benefit of insular Brits, imaginative translation and a number of dishes to make you scratch your  head.  Among the items on offer here are “Beef Internal Delicacies” “Beef tendon lo main”, “preserved egg  and salted egg congee”  “luncheon meat and two eggs noodles in soup” and “coffee and tea mixed”. They also serve Borscht.  

I hope there’s not too much of a whiff of “oh those funny orientals” about this. As I said, the ignorance is all mine and I’d like to know more about the food and what I might like.  So has anyone out there got any recommendations either in terms of restaurants or dishes that they’d like to recommend?

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3 Responses to “My minor China crisis.”

  1. Jessica & Mike said

    Personally I’ve not eaten at any of the restaurants you mentioned, but Mike says that Shanghai Moon has the best reputation.
    On my two trips to China I’ve found the array and cooking styles of Chinese food utterly confusing- provinces seem to have their own specialities and cooking styles which seem not always to make their way West. I’ve had food I’ve loved, and also food I’ve hated! The best restaurants always seem to be the ones that specialise in a type of dish, as opposed to offering many styles- but then that could have been down to the dishes I chose.
    Comparing menus in China to menus here I find little crossover, and wonder how much of the food is authentic, and how much westernised. But if a restaurant is pulling in the local Chinese population I’d say that’s the best bet!

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  2. Kevin said

    I’ve spoken to a couple of my Chinese students today to find out where they eat. Both recommended Shanghai Moon and one also liked Peking on Charles Street. They will be trying Taste of China soon, so I’ll let you know.

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  3. Jessica & Mike said

    Ummm… actually, you might want to read this before you try Shanghai Moon: http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/news/Food-safety-council-menu/article-2659079-detail/article.html

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