It’s no secret I am missing those bustling Singapore hawker centres.

I miss those tasty, affordable, freshly whipped-up-on-demand dinners which I could grab on my way home. I crave those flavours and cannot believe I am about to say this, but I miss some of those spicy kicks too!

I am on a foodgasm mission to re-discover those mouthwatering Asian flavours. I think I may have found one to include in my Top 10.

Cha Chaan Teng is located on 36-38 Kingsway, Holborn. It is translated to ‘tea restaurant’ in Hong Kong and in some other parts of Asia such as China. As Hong Kong became more influenced by British culture, these tea restaurants branched out from just selling tea and cake, to selling affordable local westernised comfort food.

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This small-fronted restaurant takes you on a journey downstairs to a large open plan seating and kitchen area. It has only been open for three months and I have to say, the food is lip smackingly tasty. It has a diner-cafe feel. It’s relaxed yet chic. Our waiter proudly explained that the cuisine reflects a combination of both eastern and western influences, basically taking the concept of a greasy spoon and reinventing it! Now that is my idea of heaven.

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It’s clever. It’s luscious and it feels like street food in a comfortable, cosy booth. It’s right up my street. Cocktails are only five whole pounds until 8pm and I recommend the Shanghai Supernova (Absolute vodka, plum, honey jasmine, lemon and sparking wine).

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The dishes we chose were just the right amount for three people, the menu is extensive and I literally wanted to try a little of everything but it’s a great excuse for me to return and sample the rest!

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Prawn Crackers: Classic Chinese style prawn crackers tossed in a lightly spiced toasted rice and coconut shallot crumb

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Lobster prawn toast: Golden brown prawn toast, topped with chunks of wasabi prawn and flash fried lobster tail

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Crispy Duck Bao: Mandarin-cured duck leg meat, finished with hoisin, cucumber, spring onions, carrot pickle and toasted rice crumb

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The rest of our culinary ecstasy included:

Sweet & Sour Pork Shoulder: Cooked home-style with a balancing crunch and salty injection from the crispy pork crackling and chunks of red onion, green pepper and charred pineapple.

Popcorn Chilli Beef: Bite-sized chunks of soy marinated rump steak, tossed in dried chilli, garlic, spring onion and caramelised almond crumb served with a black vinegar sweet and sour dipping sauce

BBQ Hoisin & Coca-Cola Ribs: Slow braised for 3 hours in hoisin, dark soy, ginger and garlic with a splash of Coca Cola

Flash Fried Greens (V): Pak choi, flash fried and tossed into the wok with vegetarian stir-fry sauce, finely chopped garlic and rice wine

Garlic Seamed Rice (V): Steamed rice cooked in homemade garlic oil

I highly recommend a visit to this restaurant, you won’t be disappointed!

N x

2 Comments on “Cha Chaan Teng Right On Your London Doorstep

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