Cheap Meat Pies – Woolworths and Coles, Perth Oz

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Junk had to go down south, way down south due to family obligations. Though the journey was long, it was well worth the close to 24 hours flight time. As usual, I never miss an opportunity to eat and wax lyrical about the junk food that’s available. Trust me, this one is really junk on an epic scale!

I know pie is nothing new to us Brits but meat pie is an institution to Oz. While we have burgers and chips at sporting events, the Aussie have meat pies. The family in Oz have their own favourite pies at a local independent bakery but I was against the AUS$3+ price tag for each. Inspiration hit me as I was chomping down on little party sized meat pies at the family reception, there must be some cheap and nasty frozen ones at the supermarkets?

So off I went on the hunt for cheap frozen pies! My only criteria were that they should be meat pies, should be singly packed and as cheap as possible. I also took the lazy, bachelor way out and microwaved all the pies as per instructions rather than oven them. What I managed to find:

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Mrs Mac’s Beef & Cheese Pie, AUS$2.00, 19% beef

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Snowy River Meat Pie, AUS$0.95, minimum 25% beef or mutton

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Coles Smart Buy Meat Pie, AUS$0.70, 25% beef or mutton

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Woolworths Homebrand Individual Meat Pie, AUS$0.70, 25% beef or mutton

The Boom thought it might be a good idea for me to have all 4 pies at one go to retain impartiality but I thought better. So I had the 4 pies for breakfast over 2 days after my daily swim.

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I decided to pit the named brand pies against each other so first up is Mrs Mac’s vs Snowy River. Mrs Mac’s is on the left while Snowy River is on the right.

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On face value, Mrs Mac’s definitely looked more appetizing with cheese oozing out of the pie while the Snowy River pie was filled with standard looking minced meat pie filling. Don’t be fooled by looks though! I actually much preferred the Snowy River one as the pastry was thin and crispy though it was cooked in a microwave and the filling richer in taste. The pastry of Mrs Mac’s pie was much thicker and the inner portion was uncooked though the bag has those fancy shiny coating which is supposed to aid cooking? The cheese sauce did not taste cheesy at all and the meat filling was not as rich as Snowy River’s version. At AUS$0.95, I thought the Snowy River pie was a much better value taste and quality wise.

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On to the supermarket homebrand pies. Coles Smart Buy on the left and Woolworths Homebrand on the right.

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Compared to the named brand, you can see that the amount of filling was less generous. Definitely lack the ooze factor despite me squeezing them with my fork to make them more photogenic. This time round, you get what you see! The Woolworths pie crust looked anemic compared to its rival and it had a chewy texture. Filling wise, the mince was too fine and tasted bland. The Coles pie was the better of the 2 with a thinner crust (not crispy though) and tasty filling with bigger cuts of meat but the Snowy River pie filling was better.

So in summary, I personally think the Snowy River pie was the best of the lot. It did not cost much more than the supermarket homebrand with adequate crispy crust and tasty filling. I was glad I split the pies across 2 days. 2 pies was enough to fill me up till dinner time both days, power!

Pad Prik King Pork and Green Chicken Curry – Grab, Mansion House

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Dragged the Boom out for lunch again today to try out another place I spotted across the bridge. So once again, the picture above is lunch for 2! Stop saying Junk is a glutton…

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Grab is a Thai takeaway joint with a focus on dishes served with white or brown rice. Apparently they have another outlet near Old Street with a bigger menu but this outlet by Mansion House is nice and convenient for moi! What really piqued my interest is the breakfast menu where they serve congee which to me is the quintessential comfort food as well as brekkie staple in most of Asia. I really need to get my lazy butt over the bridge in the morning to try out their congee! Will definitely report back with my findings.

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As you can see from the menu above the counter, the options are limited which is not a bad thing for those who are indecisive. It’s a 3 person operation and not very efficient as 1 person is permanently squeezing fruit and veg for the juices on offer. The foot print of the shop is miniscule so be prepared to queue outside. Having said that, they do have a small sit down area where you can eat downstairs. Would said it can sit 10 at best.

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The Boom decided to go back to basic and got the Green Chicken Curry on brown rice while I went slightly left field with the Pad Prik King Pork on brown rice. They were £6.25 and £6.45 respectively while the Som Tam which we shared was £3.95 I think. With 2 Cokes, the total bill came up to be around £18. Not cheap but did not break the bank.

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We both enjoyed the Som Tam,  made with julienned green papaya, carrots, green beans, cherry tomatoes and crush peanuts, it was tart, crunchy and refreshing.  Don’t be fool by the container size. The portion was more than ample for 2 as a side dish. Do watch out for the smashed up bird eye chilies in the dressing if you can’t take the heat.

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Boom gave his Green Chicken Curry a 6 out of 10. Typical Westernised, White-man version of a Thai classic. Typical of Boom, there is not enough protein in his portion. He would have liked more chicken.

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My Pad Prik King Pork was a bit of a disappointment. The problem: it was too dry, especially when paired with brown rice. I had to load up the container with soy sauce, Siriracha and the dressing from the Som Tam to moisten the dish. I know it’s a stir fry dish and this would probably be passable if the dish and rice were served separately. More sauce in the stir fry next time please?

The best gauge of how much I like a shop is would I make a return visit? Unfortunately, except for the breakfast congee.

Grab
68 Queen Victoria Street
London EC4N 4SJ

Flaming Dragon Curry – JJ Moon, Ruislip Manor

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Junk resorted to having dinner by herself in da hood last week. Blame the Boom for being mentally inflexible and leaving Junk all by her lonesome. In fact, the abandonment turnout to be a blessing in disguise as Junk managed to worm herself into a small pow wow by the pub’s regulars and had a great time! 😉 But that’s a story for another day…

image-4166-jjmoonJJ Moon is a Weatherspoon pub and is located directly opposite the Ruislip Manor tube station. Don’t be fooled by the frontage of the pub, it is very spacious inside and it even has a couple of tables in a small patio area right at the back. Come evening time, the front of the pub will be filled with regulars and smokers and can be rather intimidating but fear not, they don’t bite and are in fact a pretty nice bunch.

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Seeing it’s Thursday which is Curry Club in most/all (??) Weatherspoon pubs, I went with the hottest option on the menu. I’m sure you have seen menus whereby the number of chili icon by an item indicates how spicy it is? I never found that scale to be trustworthy and went “poo poo” to myself when I ordered The Flaming Chicken Curry with 5 chili icons. The meal with a pint of cider cost £5.99 and I threw in a couple of Vegetable Samosas for £1.
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After ordering, decided to study the menu in more detail and noticed a phrase in brackets “Y Ddraig Fflamllyd”. Looks like Welsh and it even has a trademark symbol next to it, this is a job for Google! From my searches, it would seem like it’s a product trademarked by a Welsh company producing ready made food for wholesale and retail. I guess Weatherspoon caters this curry from them. Welsh curry eh? Who would have guessed!

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Enough of sleuthing, back to the food. Starting with the mundane, the Vegetable Samosa were pretty awful. The filling was fine, typical mix bag of diced veg and the wrapping was also nice and crispy. The problem was its filled with oil! Guess the chef did not drain the samosa before service. Then again at £1, can’t really complain.

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From the mundane, we move on to the fiery. Wow! Junk is pretty blown away by this smoking chook! This really deserves the 5 chili icon I have to admit, its a rare occasion when Junk is left panting by the spiciness of food and believe you me, this left me slightly winded. Took 2 pints of cider to finish my meal. Well, I would normally have 2 pints or more anyways but this time, I needed it. Apart from the heat, the curry has a nice tangy flavour with bits of bits of red peppers laced throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Boom! I challenge you to a Flaming Chicken Curry showdown! Or are you too chicken (pun very much intended!) to take me on!

JJ Moon
12 Victoria Road
Ruislip Manor
London HA4 0AA
01895 622373

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup – Hing Loong, Borough High Street

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I know the weather is balmy and not exactly right for soup noodles. But when the soul needs warming, the weather is sometime not be enough to do the trick. Last week, managed to find some time to visit a local Chinese joint I have spotted on my wanderings.

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Located along Borough High Street, Hing Loong unlike a typical Chinese takeaway, has ample seating with simple, yet modern decor. The main menu looks like a typical Chinese food establishment but the lunch menu looks to be OK especially the 2 course lunch menu at £7.50 which include a drink. But I was tempted by Beef Brisket Noodle Soup and at £6.50, not exactly cheap, but we shall see.

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My order came within minutes of ordering as 1. The joint is not packed 2. Looking at the menu, they must have a big pot of brisket stewing away in the kitchen. The big bowl of noodle soup steaming which is a good sign, I do like my soup scorching hot. I went for the egg noodle option as I did not feel like ho fun (broad rice noodles) and the waitress promptly provided me with crush chilli oil when asked.

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I would give this 6 out of 10. The temperature was good, the noodles were not overcooked, the chinese leaf and slice spring onion garnish was adequate. The main problem I think was with the beef brisket stew. Can you see the white bits floating in the soup? That’s the fat rendered out of the brisket, probably through over stewing. The beef brisket submerged at the bottom of the bowl were soft but mostly disintegrated. Also, the stew could do with more five spice especially star anise. A good dash of Shaoxing rich wine will not go amiss as well!

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I might visit again when I need some soul healing…. but it will probably be awhile. Do like the hazy border around the closeup shot. If only it was as dreamy as it seem…

Hing Loong
159 Borough High Street
London SE1 1 HR
0207 378 8100

Live from @truckstopLDN

OK people, not going to write much. Just showing all the trucks at Truck Stop and a couple of nosh pics I remembered to take before stuffing my face!

Enjoy!

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The crowd, all well behaved.

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Vanduke, brother truck of Naamyaa Cafe

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Engine, serving hotdogs.

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Yum Buns, we actually had 2 yum buns, a chicken and a pork but Junk forgot to take a picture. £3.50 each or 2 for £6. Highly recommended.

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Baba G, Indian food. I was tempted by the Bhaji Box which at £4 is a good option for sharing.

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Healthy Yummies, they were selling pan fried scallops in the shell. A colleague of mine tried it and she said it was good. Long queues though, be warned!

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Spit and Roast, the Tweet got the Poutin here. For £3.50, you get a big tray of fries topped with cheese curd and rich, full of umami roast chicken gravy. We were not expecting the gravy to be filled with shredded chicken, good thing though! The Tweet wolfed the whole tray down in a couple of minutes. Spudcaterian!

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Cheeky Italian, I think they were serving arancini balls and calzone.

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Gurmetti – Italian pork burgers

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That’s Bleeker St Burger! They won the Young and Foodish burger bash but I didn’t feel like burger today.

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Mama’s Jerk Station – Pretty self explanatory.

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Bell & Brisket – Salt Beef Bagel

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I got this from Mother Clucker. Wanted whole pieces of chook but apparently it takes to long to cook. So settled for cup of cluck. Nice!

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Anna Mae’s – Mac & Cheese. I was truly tempted but the stomach protest

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The bar! The booze!

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Original Fry Up – Typical fry up, All Day Breakfast

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Daisy Green – Frozen Yogurt

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Shawarma Shack – Kebabs

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Fishdog – Coley fish fingers

Anyway, time to get sloshed, over and out!

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Truck Stop
Somewhere in Canary Wharf
Do buy tickets in advance to get tokens for 2 drinks!
@truckstopLDN