Tag Archives: 3 uncles

3 uncles

27 Aug

london 7.12pm 30C sunny tuesday 2019

i have been looking forward to the opening of a cantonese roast meat shop near liverpool st station. it sells only roast meats, like roast duck, roast pork, char siew, and hainanese chicken.(now i come to think of it, they dont sell soya sauce chicken). it used to be in chinatown we can get restaurants just serving these meats, and on hindsight at very reasonable prices, like £5 or £6 for a plate. but they are long gone those restaurants.   and now these 3 guys who called themselves 3 uncles, are trying to replicate those places in hongkong , or even in malaysia, where hawkers stalls sells these roast meats for the lunch time trade.

i went quite late in the day at about 5pm, and as i approach the place i saw 3 people , of chinese origin standing looking at the board which says 50% off till end of august, and they were being addressed by a chap at the door, telling them they have sold out of meat, and am getting in new supplies and it would take about half hour. they were a japanese woman and her son, who had just graduated from being a soft ware engineer, having allready got an electronic degree;  and a english bloke, her husband?later i found out they live together in canary wharf, and were being tourists in the area…having taken  a holiday from work, and spending it on a staycation, exploring london. which explains why they were in the area. and they told me they only now stumbled across this place, having noticed the half price offer on a board outside.

so we chatted together while we waited, and also when they started taking our orders, i started chatting to two girls who were in the queue, and found out they heard of it from a friend who told them this morning the queue was out of the door. and that was why they are here, from word of mouth recommendation. one of the girls work in the city but lives in croydon, and makes the commute everyday to work, she said. costs her about £250 a month in train fares. but still cheaper than finding a place to rent nearer to work.  so late in the day, outside there were a stream of workers walking by to the station as they finish work, whilst inside , there was us, and a big family of chinese people, with children. i think this evening customers must be tourists, who happen to stumble across this 50% offer, and some office workers. but no big queue at this time. they will stay open till about 10pm. there is no cooking on the premise, which will cut down the costs. and having a shop of their own means they can open longer hours, unlike if they were part of a food hall. and they only need 3 people up front, it was a older man (one of the 3 uncles?) to chop up the meat, a woman to bring the ingredients together, and another younger man to take the orders and the money… there will be others in the background, cooking the meats, and transporting it to the place. 

i got the duck and char siew with lo mein, costing normally £9.50, came to £4.75, which makes it very reasonable, and quite a bargain actually though it wasnot a huge amount. and served in a paper box.

but it gave me a pang of nostalgia for the good ol days, when we would go into those chinatown restaurants and have a plate of duck rice, with proper china plates and accompanied by chinese tea. lots of duck too with gravy. and chilli sauce. wish i have gone more often to eat there , if i had known what i know now. oh, how i lament that those days are gone!!

 

 

added, i just have a thought. why do we need to buy these meals at all, when it is very easy to walk into a chinese restaurant in chinatown where u see hanging roast ducks in the window and just ask them to cut you a half a duck, or cut off a portion of char siew or roast pork, (i remember if u tell him not to cut it into small pieces, you get more of it)whatever it costs, to take away. we could do that in the past, and i should think we could do that nowadays. just look in and see if there is a man cutting up meat at the window. he should be able to sell cuts of meat to take away. this way you can get lots of meat, without paying for the rice or mein (noodles), which is easy to make yourself. the only thing is that the chinatown meats are very salty… whilst these are not. i wonder if the saltiness is part of the ingredients and is what makes these roast meats so delicious… the skin so crackling, the smell, the taste.