Tag Archives: chinese food

chinese new year today, just an ordinary day in london

5 Feb


Digital StillCamera

its chinese new year day of the pig today, so we , ex east-west club members met up in a pub near chinatown. i was expecting more chinese members to be there, but there was only me and another chinese guy. the rest were westerners.

on the way there by bus, i overheard a chinese couple,on the top deck in the next seat making a reservation by phone in a kimchi restaurant near the british museum for 18 people. he was talking rather loudly that is why i can overhear him. a group of them, all young looking chinese people (i heard them speak in a language i could not place, so dont know what they were, korean, japanese or chinese i have no idea) boarded the bus at victoria same as me. they were not 18 though, so more of them might be going there in a separate group. this was his second attempt, when the first one was unable to take his booking for so many people.  he wanted a booking for 18 in 20mins time. i was surprised to hear him say 18 people, until i realise it is chinese new year today. i think he got a positive response on his second phone call. i think he might be a bit optimistic about the time though. i think  they will be late because we were stuck in traffic at piccadilly circus. shaftesbury avenue was just not moving traffic at all. the jam extended all the way up charing cross road to tottenham court road. so busy and what is with all this traffic really.

i left the bus and walked to the meeting place as it will be quicker. not that i was in any hurry of course. its a mystery why that area should have so much traffic at that time of day. it was about 1.30pm. it is not a public holiday here, as uk dont celebrate chinese new year as such.

later after about 1hr at the meetup, when i went to buy the grocery in chinatown, i saw they were only just now putting up the lantern decorations that they string across the street. the place was crowded though, and all the chinese shops were open. no holiday for the workers and staff who man the stores and restaurants. and they were very busy too. so business wise, it is very profitable to open today. there was a long queue at the new loon moon store, but i managed to by pass that queue and went to another queue in a side annex where the vegetables are , and which no one from the main store seem to know about. no queue there. so i was able to getaway with a quick in and out with the frozen fish balls and fresh bean sprouts. 

my free outing to canterbury

18 Sep


Quite an enjoyable day trip to canterbury today.

there were 50 people, mainly women, only a handful of men and all of them chinese. i got a free snack of chinese char siew pau, one woman told me of it to go and ask for it from the guy who had a bunch of it in his hands. and when i wondered why they are not having it too, they said they already had theirs and eaten it;  which was quite delicious but perhaps it is because it has been a long time since i eaten something like it, so anything would be delicious…

this is the first time it seems this chinese group had organised something like this, so there was a bit of a hiccup right at the start. i guess it is foregiveable, after all they were quite young chinese boys and girls. it is sweet of them to go to all this trouble really.

the bus was too big to negotiate the soho square area, what with its small one way roads and sharp bends. so after an hour’s delay when the coach wandered all over the place trying to find a way in;  we walked to shaftesbury avenue to catch it.

it was a long ride to canterbury. i thought it would take one hour but in the end it took 3hrs, with a stop of 1hr (loo stop) at blue water shopping complex.

(first time i been to bluewater. heard so much about it but i think it has been overtaken by the two westfield complexes in shepherds bush and stratford. it is only 2 stories tall, sprawled over quite a big area, and dont look as luxurious as the other two westfield centres; spaces must be cheap i guess; we never went up to the first floor, and i think there is nothing there, or maybe a restaurant.

the ground floor eating places were busy. and that was about all that was busy. the shops themselves seem empty. 

it was a thursday so maybe it is  quiet on weekdays. perhaps weekends are their busy days.)

one of the girls who organised this trip was telling me when she was doing her A levels in canterbury, the school would bring them to bluewater as a school outing. it was something the school did. 

canterbury is a walled town , we could see the surrounding walls. the coach parked near the sainsburys, and we walked to the chinese restaurant.

lunch was rather nice.

a chinese soup of pork bones and dried chinese veg and chinese dates. later the waiter took out the pot and gave a whole lot of the veg and pork bones with the soup. i quite like it, and i seem to be the one who ate them mostly. haha. my mother used to do a similar soup.

then came a plate of chicken and mushrooms, (big and fat chinese mushrooms which i love) and a plate of beef balls and chinese wood fungus. and a plate of fried lettuce.

there were only 3 of us at the table so we got them all to ourselves, though we did pass some plates over to the next table of 4 who had the same combination.

the couple , man and woman, at my table are small eaters.

to finish there was a plate of cut oranges and apples, they were granny smiths i think because they are quite sour, but i like them.

the chicken was very tender. They were thinly sliced chicken breasts. i wonder how they got them to be so tender.

the chinese restaurants know a way of tenderising the meat … whenever i eat at chinese restaurants their meat is always so tender. i recall papaya was used as a tenderiser as it contains papain an protein enzyme.  but maybe this restaurant uses a commercial tenderiser. i wonder whether  soya sauce is a tenderiser. thank goodness this lunch was not overly salted. 

after the lunch we strolled down to the entrance to the cathedral which will be our meeting point. there was a £10.50 (i think, cant remember the exact amount) ticket to get into the cathedral itself.

the grounds are not accessible and it was difficult to see the cathedral from outside the gate.

a strange cathedral, this,  which is surrounded by buildings so u cannot see it from afar. i prefer to see the outside as i have seen the insides of so many cathedrals, i am jaded. they all look the same from inside really… some have nicer stained glass than others but really if u have seen one cathedral you have seen them all. haha.

an exception maybe for the churches in venice, where each have a famous artist painting the interiors.

one of the men in the group  told me that he came with his wife and kid 40yrs ago, now his kid is 43yrs old. he is in his 70s now. i asked him did u get to see inside the cathedral? he said the charge was like £2 then.

anyway because of the charge, many people were hanging about at the entrance, i saw a row of school kids sitting on the pavement along the street that ran from the entrance to the main shopping street. so maybe canterbury was the other destination apart from bluewater for school outings haha.

We were left to wander around on our own.

There were quite a lot of young people about. which is rather nice. the weather is really nice, so lots of guys were wearing shorts; some of them have very smooth legs…its quite disconcerting to me, the legs are so white and smooth; and they are muscular guys too; so the legs do look quite attractive, but then i am rather biased as i think men’s legs and feet are really very attractive whether shaved or not haha.

do they shave them and why? they cant all be cyclists can they? or is there a fashion amongst the young for shaved legs nowadays?!

there was a nice stream running underneath the main shopping street. it was very fast flowing but shallow, and i can see the weeds drifting and waving about in long  streams . the water looks very clean. there were two guys advertising boat trips on it.