"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, August 04, 2008


Jive Miguel
He's in from Bogota

What’s the deal with all this China related craziness ? Nearly every bookshop I went into the other day had dump bins full of books about the country. The countdown to the Olympics is in full swing (does anyone actually give a toss ? ) and every other newspaper article seems to be about how quickly the Chinese economy is growing.

Shame it’s all based upon one of the most repressive regimes going, who are also one of the World’s top polluters. One World, One Dream indeed. So long as that world and dream are China’s, presumably.

Lunch today (coincidentally, more or less 100 years after the firt Chinese restaurant was opened in London) was with HS at new Chinese joint Baozi Inn. Specialising in street food from Beijing and Chengdu it’s the latest offering from the people behind Bar Shu. It’s a tiny place but as we were there at midday there was no problem in getting a table. It’s a quick in and out sort of place - service is pretty brisk – which would be perfect for anyone on their lunch break.

Prices look reasonable but can mount up if you start ordering extras although this is to be expected though anywhere in London’s famous West End.

Noodle dishes arrived first. My Peace and Happiness noodles looked nothing like their picture in the menu, with its big slices of Chicken, Duck and Sausage and I couldn’t locate any of the advertised sweet pickled garlic. It tasted ok but the soup lacked depth and complexity. The whole dish became a bit of a chore to eat – too much dull stock - so I swapped with HS half-way through.

His Sichuanese fragrant and hot pork noodles were much better. Excellent noodles came with a stir-fry of pork with just enough heat. It came on a bit like Spaghetti with a Pork Ragu made by a chilli-lover which is not necessarily a bad thing. There was also some decent Spinach with Soya beans on the side.

The Baozi (buns) and dumplings arrived a short while after the noodles. I liked the filling of the Pork Bun but the Egg one was pretty unmemorable. I found the dough a bit er…doughy for my tastes although HS tells me that they were pretty echt. Nicer were the Chengdu crescent dumplings that had a silky covering and good heat from the pool of chilli oil they sat in.

All in all pleasant enough if not exactly revelatory although this food is supposed to be ‘street’ so I wouldn’t expect it to be. What was good was that I didn’t have a dry mouth for the rest of the day like I got after Cha Cha Moon.

Also, as HS reminded me during the meal, I can at least post the above without any fear of censorship. Those in China are not so lucky. Mind you, they probably don’t attract the attention of internet crazies so I guess we’re even.

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