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

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

Thai Red Beef Curry – Bangkok Kitchen, London Bridge

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Had to run an errand and a trek to the Post Office was required. Remembered there was a small food truck next to the London Bridge Post Office and there a long queue the last time. Asian food stores with long queues always piqued by interest.

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Scoured around on the interweb, realised that the Bangkok Kitchen food truck is the offshoot of a small takeaway joint in the Southwark area which I came across during one of my walks around the area. This food truck only opens from 1200-1400hrs and all dishes are £4.50 served with either rice or noodles.

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There were 4 steamer trays on display today and I think there was a normal stir fry chicken, a Thai Red Beef Curry, Thai Green Chicken Curry and the last tray was filled with pad thai noodles. Chicken is not my meat of choice so beef it shall be! Well, at least I hope it’s beef 🙂

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Like Mama Thai, you can help yourself to the condiments on offer to customise your meal to the way you like it. Chose from crushed peanuts and a few different chili sauces. They were thoughtful enough to provide small containers so you can keep your condiments separate from the main meal. I really appreciate such small gestures, its the little thought that counts!

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So at the bargain price of £4.50, was the Thai Red Beef Curry any good? I have to say that it’s not half bad. The curry was thick and rich with coconut and spiced generously with star anise and kaffir lime leaves as well as the usual culprits that makes up a Thai red curry paste. On the veg front, you have big slices of green capsicum and crunchy green beans. Like the fact that the veg are not cooked to a mush. Both the beef and rice portion were more than generous and the only complain I have is that the beef was a tad chewy. Then again, you pay for what you get; don’t expect top grade filet steak at £4.50.

Bangkok Kitchen
Next to London Bridge Post Office
19A Borough High Street
London SE1 9SF

Aromatic Duck Noodles – Lemongrass Kitchen, South Quay

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You know when you are choosing a restaurant for a sit down meal, the ambiance of the restaurant will be one of your selection criteria? When it comes to takeaway, I think the speed and ease of ordering and collection is the equivalent to the atmosphere of a sit down meal. No matter how delish the food is, if I leave the shop with a ball of agro sitting at the bottom of my tum apart from my order, you bet I’ll be reluctant to return. Today’s joint is case in point. Good food, lousy service!

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Had to make a trip back to my other office today for a meeting and since we are moving, thought I give Lemongrass Kitchen another chance. This small takeaway shop is located in South Quay Plaza and is the only Asian food joint in the South Quay area. Its serves a limited lunch menu with pre-made dishes in a steamer table. There is a fridge area which holds a selection of sushi, salads and tubs of noodles.

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If you are after the hot food, queue up at the cash register, make your order and you will get a receipt with a number. Then you mill around in the small shop while waiting for 3 moronic servers to assemble your order. I’m serious, they are really moronic! Let me explain… Today, I ordered the Aromatic Duck Noodle and went for the tom yum soup base (other soup options include lemongrass and lime or miso). Server 1 spooned the soup into the noodle tub and hand it Server 2, Server 2 then places it into the microwave and set the timer. Server 3 then took it out of the microwave, closed the container, looked at the receipt, opened the container again to check that the contents matches the receipt before placing my order in a plastic bag. All these tasks done at snail pace! The same happens when you order dishes from the steam table. Server 1 scoops rice/noodles into container and pass it to Server 2, Server 2 tops it up with the dish selected and hands it to Server 3. Server 3 then checks and double checks the order before bagging. Cmon! This is not exactly a production line, why spilt the task up that finely? If each of them manages an order from beginning to end, it will save so much time!

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It makes my blood boil watching them work. I know this place is popular with the workers in this area, but I think the source of the queue and the milling is predominantly caused by the inefficiency of the serving crew. It does not help that the shop has introduced 3 sizes for their hot meals. It just causes more confusion for the servers.

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Ok, enough ranting, does the noodles justify the agro? The tom yum soup base is nice and spicy with hints of lemongrass and lime leaves. Maybe it’s a bit too oily but it hits the spot on a cold and windy day. The egg noodles are those used in wonton noodles
, thin but with a nice bite. The duck I think was slightly roasted before slicing and is nice and tender. The other condiments include spinach, chinese leaf, julienned carrots, bean sprouts and pieces of fried tofu. Since the last time I had it, the price has increased by quite a lot, in fact all prices has increased across the board. The duck noodle was £5.85 the last time I had it. Today, it’s £6.55. I’m undecided as to whether it is value for money.

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As much as I like the noodles, it is not enough of an incentive for me to endure the aggravation of getting it. The price does not help.

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Full Menu

Lemongrass Kitchen
Unit 5 South Quay Plaza
185 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SH
0207 537 9392