Seafood Laksa – Yanwo (Golden Fish Noodles), Farringdon

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See, told you I’m addicted! Yes, it’s laksa for lunch today. Was feeling a tad hungover and was head down bum up at work, non-stop till way past 1 o’clock. Thought I give myself a treat and went to checkout this joint just across the road from where I work.

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Golden Fish Noodles is located along Farringdon Road, across from Mount Pleasant and just next to Exmouth Market. I was intending to grab something from the food trucks in the market but most of the trucks had a long queue of customers and Junk just could not be arsed queueing up today.

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As you can see from the menu, definitely not as budget as Chop Chop but it won’t break the bank either. I really should force myself to try other stuff apart from laksa. Perhaps the Beef Ho Fun in a sauce or the Belachan Chicken Fried Rice can be my next target.

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Seeing I’m feeling a tad hungover, decided to be health and have tea instead of a soft drink. Ordered the “Iron” Guanyin tea. Also asked for a glass of ice on the side so I can make my own ice tea.

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At £7.80 which is close to £3 more than the Chop Chop version, one would expect more ingredients in this Seafood Laksa. So there was 2 big deep fried prawn wonton, 3 fish balls (don’t laugh!), 4 big slices of squid, quite a few cubed fried tofu, loads of green beans and bean sprouts in a thick and satisfying gravy laced with curry leaves.

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I’m glad they use thick egg noodles here instead of the more common rice vermicelli. Though the noodles felt mushy, they were actually very well cooked with still a slice bounce. The only complain I have is I could do with more gravy and the spoon had a massive bowl which makes scooping out the gravy awkward.

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Empty bowl, satisfied tummy.

Hmmm… did not notice there was service charge added to the bill till later. I would not have tipped as generously as I had if I’d known. Then again, the service was very good. Both the waitresses were attentive and efficient. They really should reprogram the till to show the right business name soon.

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Golden Fish Noodles
102-104 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3EA
0207 7837 5293

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*Update: It would seem that my point about the restaurant reprogramming the till to match the restaurant’s name was partially accurate. Walked by the joint today and noticed that it was no longer Golden Fish Noodles but Yanwo instead! Would seem like I visited in midst of a transition. Makes me feel like a revolutionary!

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Yanwo Restaurant
102-104 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3EA
0207 7837 5293

Singapore Laksa and Kway Teow – Chop Chop Noodle Bar, Kings Cross

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Oh no! Not laksa again I hear you say? Yes, Junk is almost addicted to the stuff and this post and next will be about one of my all time fav dishes.

So one day last week towards the end of the working day, I found myself a tad hungry and could not get the ideal of having a big steaming bowl of laksa out of my head. Started looking around on Google maps for any potential to appease my craving. Lo and behold! Found both Chop Chop and Hare and Tortoise outlets within walking distance from the office.

chopchopshopfrontChop Chop is a budget place serving a range of Asian/Chinese dishes. By budget, I really mean budget. One can have a starter, a drink and a main course easily under £10. Quality is not fantastic but portions are always generous.What the Boom might call, a reliable “Chew and Spew” joint. Apart from the outlet in Kings Cross, I know of one in Shepherd’s Bush and another near Fulham Broadway. There are many reviews complaining of rude or bad service which I have never encountered and I have visited all 3 outlets.

chopchopmenuOnce you are seated, you will be given a pen and a marking sheet with numbers representing dishes on the menu. Simply indicate the number of portion of the selected dish on the marking sheet.

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Of the umpteenth times I have eaten at Chop Chop, I have always told myself to try out some of their other dishes. But I could never tear myself away from their Singapore Laksa, it’s simply one of my comfort dishes.

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A bowl of Singapore Laksa at £4.90 (this have increased their prices over the years. I still remember when a bowl was only £3.90) will contain 3 good size prawns, maybe 5 thick slices of fish cake and a handful of fried tofu. The small plate of chilli oil in the first picture cost 50p more.

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They use thin rice vermicelli here and believe me, the portion is huge! The rice noodles are accompanied by crunchy bean sprouts all drench in a spicy, rich coconut milk based sauce.

Slurp, slurp, chew, slurp, there, all done!

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Also got a takeaway portion of Boom’s fav dish, the Kway Teow. This also cost £4.90 and I was intending to have it for lunch the next day as it was my WFH (work from home) day. Came the next morning, thought better of it and gave it to Boom for his dinner instead. What a nice person I am huh?

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So the Kway Teow is quite rightly made with thick rice noodles, prawns, char siew, fish cake, bean sprouts all stir fried with dark soya sauce. Boom told me the next day that the Kway Teow was a perfect cure to his after drinks cravings and boy was the portion big he said. The Boom don’t lie.

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Chop Chop Noodle Bar
1 Euston Road
London NW1 2SA
0207 833 1773

Beef Rendang Set Lunch – Sedap, Old Street

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Sorry folks! I have been on hiatus for a couple of weeks between jobs and also took a well earned holiday along the way. Now I’m back and I’m glad to say I’ve moved location and hopefully the better, newer and varied food available will give me the kick to eat and write more!

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Lunch today is just a trot down the road and I’m proud to say I steer cleared from the laksa on offer and opted for the set lunch. Sedap is a small restaurant along Old Street which I have visited awhile ago. My experience previously was not too bad though I thought the portion was a bit on the small side. Read other food blogs about the place and it would seem the standard and portion size has taken a plunge recently so I’m keen to verify my fellow blogger’s observation.

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For the set lunch, you select a main course from item 16 to 41 of the main menu with prawn, duck or fish dishes costing £1 more. I tried the Beef Rendang the last time I visited and if I recall, it was not perfect but totally serviceable. So I ordered the Beef Rendang as my main, the Kerabu Vegetable Salad as the starter and Egg Fried Rice as the protein. Total came up to £7.80.

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I think everything I’ve ordered was pre prepared as I was served within minutes of placing the order. Can’t complain as rendang needs a lot of stewing while the salad is more of a pickle. I was really looking forward to the Kerabu Vegetable Salad and thus was a tad disappointed at the minute portion. Taste wise, it was good though. Thin slices of cucumber and wood ear mushroom pickle in a sweet and slightly sour dressing which I think contains tamarind. Crunchy and refreshing, wished the portion was bigger.

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For those of you aficionados of Beef Rendang (Boom, I’m referring to you!), you would think that the colour of the rendang is slightly off. I thought so too as the version I’m accustomed to is usually dark brown and rather dry. This was green and had quite a good amount of gravy. Taste wise it was reasonable, the whiff of pandan leaves was prominent and the gravy went very well with the egg fried rice. Once again, portion size was my main gripe. 5 pieces of stamp sized beef which could be stewed more till tender was not worth the £7.80 price tag.

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The Egg Fried Rice was the surprise of the meal. Almost all rendition of Egg Fried Rice I have encountered is just rice fried with scrambled egg. One will be lucky to get some garlic and seasoning. As you can see, Sedap’s version added some dark soya sauce which adds an extra dimension to the otherwise easily boring rice dish. Simple, basic but I really enjoyed it. Could eat another big plateful with no problem!

In all, I think my fellow bloggers were correct. The portion and standard of Sedap has indeed took a nose dive since my last visit. But I will check out their laksa in the near future before I give my final verdict. Will be sure to report back!

Sedap Restaurant
102 Old Street
London EC1V 9AY
0207 4900200

Nasi Lemak and Curry Laksa – Woolfson & Tay, Bankside

A couple of post back, I promised to return to Woolfson & Tay to check out their Nasi Lemak and Curry Laksa when they are on the menu. True to my word, I managed to do both this week! Why the rush you might ask? Well, my stint in this part of town is ending soon so best put in the effort when there is still time. Not that eating some of my favourite food is much effort 🙂

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First up was the Nasi Lemak for Tuesday’s lunch. The topping option was Curry Chicken or Veg Curry and as usual, went for the half and half which cost £5.50. Also packed a portion for my Pinoy tester who was gamed enough to give this a try.

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The Chicken Curry like the Braised Chicken was made with chicken thigh pieces and was perhaps a tad too spicy for the typical Caucasian. The gravy was rich and thick with coconut milk.

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The Veg Curry was also pretty good with fried tofu slices, cabbage and other mix vegetables. What I loved about the Nasi Lemak was the small but very crispy Ikan Bilis which provided the crunch in contrasts while the humble slices of cucumber adds a refreshing note.

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Overall, pretty good. Only gripe would be that the rice was a tad mushy, especially after the gravy assault from the 2 curries.

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Next up, the Curry Laksa. Once again there was a chicken or veg option and yes, I went with half and half at £5.50. The Pinoy chickened out this time. Apparently her stomach said today is not a curry day. I was wondering how the laksa will be packed for takeaway, was half expecting those big soup containers but I think packing the gravy separately is a much better idea.

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The chicken comes in the form of a dry chicken curry, very similar to what was served with the Nasi Lemak.

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The same goes for the veg curry. Was glad that thick rich vermicelli was used, soft and silky, goes so well with the crunchy beansprouts and blanched green beans.

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Totally satisfied! I might just repeat the effort next week.

Woolfson & Tay
39 Bear Lane
London SE1 0UH
0207 928 6570

Braised Chicken and Veg Mapo Tofu – Woolfson & Tay Cafe, Bankside

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Another great find thanks to Twitterverse! Came across a tweet about this South East Asain Food Market which leads me to this bookshop nearby that also serves homecooked South East Asian dishes for lunch. Since it’s just a short walk away, off I went!

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Woolfson & Tay is a small independent bookshop with a even smaller cafe which also doubles as the cashier. There are 2 dishes daily, veg and non veg, £5.50 if you eat in and a discount of 50p for takeaway. If you are greedy like me, you can also have the half and half (i.e., half portion of both dishes) at £6 if eating in. Same discount applies for the half and half for takeaway.

I discovered this quaint little place on Thursday which was when one of my all time favourites, laksa was on the menu! But I bought my own lunch for that day so had to put my appetite on hold. I was so excited the next day that I was at the bookshop before food was ready, the glut, the shame…

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The setup for lunch service was the epitome of simplicity. A food warmer holds one dish, an electric pot holding the other with a rice cooker by the side. Shows you don’t require complicated setup to run a food business. As you can guess, I went for the half and half to go which cost me £5.50. The 2 dishes available were Braised Chicken in Spicy Bean Sauce and Veg Mapo Tofu.

My first reaction when I took my first mouthful was “this is homecooking, like what Mom would make”. Humble, simple and heart warming.

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Chicken thigh was used to make the braised chicken which I highly approved. The umami of the slightly spicy bean paste was offset by the freshness of the chinese leaf which accompanies the chicken pieces. Not unlike what I would cooked at home.

The Veg Mapo Tofu was equally good. Instead of minced meat, finely sliced green beans, baby corn, carrots, wood ear fungus and other veg was used. I like the idea of mixing both silken and fried tofu. Gives the dish another dimension in mouth feel.

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Can’t wait to see what’s on the menu next week! You bet I will rush there and report back on either Nasi Lemak or Curry Laksa day.

Woolfson & Tay
39 Bear Lane
London SE1 0UH
0207 9286570

Curry Laksa – Hare and Tortoise, Blackfriars

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After spending a couple of years in the Continent and getting my fill of the various types of European cuisine, I find myself starting to crave for the common fare readily available in my home country. Laksa was a much craved after item. When I moved to London, was ecstatic when the Asian restaurant around the corner from me have a version of Curry Laksa! From that day onwards, I order nothing else but Curry Laksa whenever I visit Hare and Tortoise. The Boom might tease me for this but I don’t care! To me, nothing else in the menu interest me.

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I have since moved away from where I first lived in London but am glad there is a Hare and Tortoise branch just across the river from where I’m working. The Boom gladly came along as though he is not addicted to the Curry Laksa like yours truly, he has another dish which he can’t help but ordering. Pot and kettle…

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If you are intending to pay the Blackfriars branch a visit for lunch, do go before 1pm and try to avoid Fridays as they tend to be pretty crowded. Having said that, we never had to wait long for a seat even when there is a queue. Some pictures of the menu above and below. Nice pictures to give you an idea of what you are ordering.

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The menu is mostly filled with Japanese options with sushi, tempura and donburi. But they also have some South East Asian options like my Curry Laksa, Char Kuey Tiew and Curry Chicken with Rice. The Curry Laksa is £7.10 which I believe have gone up in price since I first tried it back in the day. Not surprising I guess.

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The topping and noodles of the laksa as always is more than generous. You get 3 big slices each of chicken breast, prawns, squid, naruto and fried beancurd. Big bunch of beansprouts and sliced cucumber adds crunch to the thin rice noodles. The all important gravy made with the typical spices and heavy on coconut milk is rich and creamy. Scattered throughout were curry leaves which somehow I don’t think adds much but perhaps their taste have been leeched into the gravy.

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I think the portion and ingredients is well worth the £7.10. Another dish I would highly recommend is the Miso Ramen while Boom swears by the Char Kuey Tiew as well as the Curry Chicken with Rice.

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Hare and Tortoise
90 New Bridge Road
London EC4V 6JJ
0207 651 0266

Singapore Laksa – Mudmee, Artillery Passage Bishopsgate

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Managed to find some free time today so decided to have an eat-in lunch rather than takeaway. Passed by this small Thai restaurant Mudmee if I snake my way from Liverpool Street Station to Brick Lane via the small passageways and decided to give it a try.

As I was pretty early, managed to get seated as soon as I walked in. Dare not take too much photos of the restaurant and food as I was given a couple of dirty looks by one of the waiters while I was taking pictures of the restaurant’s facade. Looks like apart from the regular menu, they also have an Express Takeaway lunch menu.

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Unfortunately, nothing on the Express Takeaway lunch menu took my fancy so I went with my numero uno comfort food, Singapore Laksa! Sacrilegious to order Singaporean food in a Thai restaurant but I need some TLC today. To make it a 2 course lunch, I also ordered Peek Gad Yud Sai which is deep fried stuffed boneless chicken wings. The laksa was £7.90 while the chook wings was £4.90 which takes the total to £12.80. Not exactly cheap, let’s see whether it can live up to my fav from Keke’s.

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Both my orders came within 5 minutes and I’m glad the laksa looked the part. Gave it a stir and was pleasantly surprised that they used both rice vermicelli as well as thick egg noodles. There was generous slices of fish cake, squid and prawns all in a coconut milk and spiced based soup. Taste wise, pretty good, 2 thumbs up! Well, it’s not exactly Singapore Laksa, more like a Thai rendition with strong hints of lemon grass and slightly on the sweet side like a Thai Red Curry. There was quite a few curry leaves scattered throughout I guess to replace laksa leaves and my only complain would be it’s missing some crunch, some bean sprouts would be nice.

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What about the stuffed chicken wings? Looks wise, it fits the bill but was sorely lacking taste wise. Both the wings and stuffing lacked seasoning and requires furious dunking in the plum sauce provided. They have also been over fried, though crispy is tough and dry. Really disappointed.

If you intend to lunch here, be early. It was jammed packed with queues snaking out the door by the time I’m halfway through my lunch.

Mudmee
12a Artillery Passage
Bishopsgate
London E1 7LJ
0207 247 0772