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sichuan restaurants in London

Sichuan in Acton is my usual, but last night we tried No.10 in Earls Court for a bit of a change. Although No.10 was better than most Chinese offerings in London we really didn't think it matched with Sichuan in Acton when it came to the food. The cold noodles and garlic cucumber were both great but the offal snacks and boiled beef were too bland. I only caught 4 sichuan peppers in a whole big bowl of boiled beef. At Sichuan in Acton there would've been tens or hundreds.

Conclusion - gonna stick with Acton's Sichuan for my tongue-numbing fix.

Sep 19, 2010
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Best pizza in London

Yeah. Santa Maria is very good - almost the best in London, although I still prefer Franco Manca for it's slightly sourdough base, and because SM don't serve any anchovy pizzas. SM is very small so be prepared to wait. They also seem to be very chummy with a subset of lingering customers to the annoyance of many waiting outside. Their carafes of wine are excellent and cheap and they sell great gelato, so I think that could be why certain regular customers linger for so long even when poor people are queued in the road.

It's an all-round great pizza meal if you can stand the wait. But Franco Manca is better when it comes to the pure pizza.

Sep 18, 2010
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Stinky Tofu in London or further afield

I've tried Chou Doufu (stinky tofu) in Yunnan, Hong Kong and Boston and as long as it's fried it's delicious. Steamed is like someone farting in your mouth.

But where can I find Stinky Tofu in London or even the rest of the UK? I've scoured the web to no avail so help me out here 'Hounds if you know anywhere that serves the stinky stuff. I'm sure it must be sold somewhere local because they served it up fresh on Big Brother last week (filmed up in Borehamwood).

Sep 06, 2010
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Thai in London

I've not heard about Nipa or been sadly. As for Sri Thai, we've dropped in there once and the owner is lovely. I didn't realise they did take away lunches. If they were more consistent with weekend opening then maybe we could try it, but during the week we're never in that area.

I've tried three Pataras now - Bangkok, Soho (Greek St) and the old S&P that is now Patara in South Kensington. I'd rate them as 5, 4 and 3 stars respectively - both in terms of the food and the setting. The Mayfair Patara I've not tried. It is the original under that brand name, although the South Ken S&P is much older and is the true beginning of S&P's foray into London restaurants.

In case you don't know S&P is a massive food company in Thailand that sells top-end preprepared food and has a few cafes as well where you can get this food. The nearest UK equivalent I can think of would be M&S Food. Imagine M&S teaming up with a top chef and launching a high-end set of restaurants to experiment and perfect their food and this is pretty much what Patara is for Thais.

Aug 27, 2010
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Thai in London

Sorry to re-bump this old thread but I thought I'd weigh in with my opinion having moved to London with my wife from Thailand earlier this year. We were passionate enough to specifically look for somewhere to live close to Thai 101 and Thai Smile Supermarket, so here we are with Thai 101 practically at the end of our street! The thing is that Thai 101 has not once lived up to the amazing menu, service and specials. Every dish is something we loved in Thailand and thought we'd never see in London... but never tastes quite right. This goes for the central dishes as well as the Eastern salads and laaps and southern fish gut curries. Everything is great but just not quite right. We now take inspiration from their wonderful menu, to go down to Thai Smile and try to buy the ingredients to make the same dishes ourselves. Mixed success!

The more well-known Esarn Khaew up the road in Shepherds Bush is far less fun with a much more reserved menu (and a moody host) but they surpass 101 with their Som Tum every time. They just know how to get this classic right. Their Isaan sausage too.

Thai Rice is also worth a mention for noodle soups - their boat noodle soup is the best we've found in this city, and as anyone who's tried living in Thailand will know, you need good boat noodle soup every now and then.

Patara Greek Street is another good Thai choice, but does the high end. Sadly they don't meet the tastebud nirvana of Patara in Bangkok (even though London is the original), but they come close. If you want to impress someone with Thai food that obviously cost money to put together then their Veal Osso Bucco Massaman Curry is gold.

Addies we've not tried - heard rumours in the Thai community that it's not that good and is mostly just popular for the nightclub it has.

Mantanah in Norwood was our most recent trip and as said before in this thread 'it is amazing'. Should we have spent all this extra rent to live next to 101 when Mantanah is in such a cheap area and the individual dishes are the very best? Now I wish I was living down in SE25. They're serving the best Thai food in the area, both interesting and with just the right flavours. Their atmosphere is friendly and local and I can't wait to return. Their curry of pork and young jackfruit was just one of many sublime dishes from their menu which includes copious vegetarian options as well as special sections for North, East and South Thailand.

Finally, the ultimate London foodie experience for Thai is a weekend trip to Wat Buddhapadipa in Wimbledon - London's Thai Temple. If you show before 11am with some food and reverence for the monks you can stick around until 12.30pm and then help yourself to a table of delicious home-cooked food from London's Thai community. It helps if you're Buddhist.

Aug 18, 2010
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

ISO shredded green papaya

Chop the papaya in half, and spoon out the seeds. Then use a potato peeler to take off the skin and from there you can basically just grate the papaya with a cheese grater or food processor. Better yet, buy a zig-zag peeler from anywhere.

I've done both for making papaya salads and they work perfectly.

Oct 06, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Cambridge Eating

Alimentum is excellent. It's not in the city centre so may have been overlooked by some of the above.

At the moment most of the best dining in Cambridge is outside the city centre anyway - Alimentum, De Luca Cucina, Back Street Bistro and The Kingston Arms are all to the south and Rice Boat is in Newnham just a little on to the west.

Jul 26, 2009
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Cambridge Eating

The University Centre is at the end of Mill Lane, around the corner of The Mill Pub over looking the Mill Pond green. The 1st floor restaurant - Riverside - is surprisingly excellent with a real flair for local food and traditional English dishes.

Jul 26, 2009
teaTomE in U.K./Ireland

Som Tom by the quart?

Som Tum doesn't keep longer than about 4 or 5 hours after preparation - I've experienced this fact a few times myself after getting doggy bags at S&I and Floating Rock and getting it on the streets in Thailand.

I think it's something to do with the fermented fish sauce reacting with the lime and papaya. Anyway... it's very discomforting and for this reason I've never seen it sold in bulk, even in the large supermarkets in suburban Bangkok.

What you may be able to buy is a bag of the shredded papaya (plus a few other things) that you could then just put the sauce over each time. But the sauce itself is best crushed fresh and has quite a few ingredients anyway so it might defeat the purpose. At the moment I'm just doing everything fresh each time, including shaving and shredding the papaya. It doesn't take that long.

If you're in a hurry just go get take-out from S&I, Montien or Floating Rock

Jul 14, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

S&I Thai for the non-fire eater?

Khao Kam Moo
(fatty pig's leg on rice - looks like brown fatty meat on rice in the photo)

This a great dish seen all over markets and foodcourt stalls in Thailand - S&I's is a lovely faithful version and just like the Thais do, you can use the sauces on offer to adjust the spice to your taste.

Apr 10, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

And the best dish I've had so far in 2009 is...

Well I've not been in Boston much this year, but I'll jump right in with one dish I had in 617 that was simply outstanding...

Tres Leche cake at Green Street

Now if I'm allowed to include dishes from here in Thailand as well... will be a long list.

Apr 10, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Where to Find a Good Tres Leches Cake?

Green Street!!!
Wednesday is Taco night.

i've attached a photo of the sublime Tres Leches cake.

Mar 25, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Searching Boston for a Francesinha (Portuguese)

Snack Bar were pretty skeptical when I asked if anywhere else local would have it. They doubted Portugalia or Casa Portugal would have it.

Snack Bar are from the Azores themselves. Their Portuguese Man-o-War sub is high-volume but not that appealing. Too dry.

Mar 09, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Market for Thai ingredients?

The Chinese markets (Super 88s) aren't very good for Thai ingredients. In fact Boston is pretty poor. I've found this website useful before
The place listed in Burlington is okay, but we used to travel up to the Saigons in New Hampshire when we could.

Feb 26, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Green Street, taco Wed? I had no idea!

Was packed at 7.30 last night. I ate my tacos standing after an argument with the lady who had apparently been reserving the bar stool I'd been sitting on for 15 minutes, for her friend who didn't turn up for hours.

Feb 12, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Green Street, taco Wed? I had no idea!

As always Green Street delivered. Pretty good tacos (although two of the excellent tortillas per taco is unnecessary... one is perfect). The standout taco of the 5 was the steak, with a wonderful picant sauce. The others were good but not stunningly so. As always the offal plate was the winner for bar dining (today was calf brain terrine).

I'm kicking myself now for not trying more of the Mexican themed cocktails on offer - the thought of a Green Street Margarita is intriguing, but I was stuck on the $3 Bohemias.

The absolute highlight of the Wed Mexican night was the Tres Leche Cake, which just became the new number one dessert in Cambridge. Thank god the owner married a Mexican!

Feb 11, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Searching Boston for a Francesinha (Portuguese)

No luck at Casa Portugal last time I was there

Feb 03, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Searching Boston for a Francesinha (Portuguese)

Having tasted this beauty once in London, I'm eager to sample it again and figure that the Portuguese population of Greater Boston may be sufficient enough for this gem to exist somewhere nearby. Has anyone seen this veritable king of sandwiches on menus around town?

From wikipedia:
Francesinha (meaning Little French Girl in Portuguese) is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiƧa, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with molten cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce.

Feb 03, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Francesinhas in New England? (Portuguese sandwiches)

I've tasted this wonder of humanity in London before...

please someone say that New England has this legend of the sandwich world somewhere!

Still in search of Som-Tum (Green Papaya Salad )

If I remember correctly, S&I will do it Thai style (lime-based juice, peanuts and small shrimp) or Laos style (fermented-fish-based juice with crab bits) - just ask if they can. Laos style is traditionally spicier and more difficult for your digestive system.

Floating Rock did a Farmer's Thai-style papaya salad last time I was there that was nuclear spicy to the level that the staff were concerned for us even though my DC was Thai.

I should also mention that Phien's Kitchen in Lowell does a fantastic som tum.

Jan 12, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Your favorite inexpensive, spicy meals?

Does anyone on Chowhound ever try anything else at Floating Rock other than the Tiger Tears? They're good enough but many of their other dishes are a spice-level above and the Tiger/Hunter Tears (NamTok) at many Thai restaurants is better.

Get the Farmer-Style Papaya Salad there. Ask for it genuine and the baby should pop-out by midnight.

Jan 09, 2009
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Why is Thai food in boston so bad?

I think I recall that Bangkok City Restaurant on Mass Ave near Symphony claims in their window to be the oldest Thai in Greater Boston. Maybe 20 years or so, I'm not sure.

Has anyone ever eaten there? Their website makes some nice claims about how authentic their cooking is compared to bad over-sugared American Thai.

Regarding your point: it's no secret that many of the japanese/sushi places in Boston are korean- or chinese-run. Perhaps it is the same for a handful of Thai restaurants, whether at the staff level or just the managers/owners.

Dec 29, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Why is Thai food in boston so bad?

You make a good point that frustrates a lot of us. All I can say in defence of these restaurants is that the bread and butter in their industry are the huge percentage of customers come in asking for phad thai, tom yum and not much else. They set-up their menu and waitstaff in the expectation that you just want 'a usual' and that you would probably run a mile from anything authentically spicy or slightly outlandish that is the normal back home.

There are plenty of thai dishes that thai's love to cook and serve, but people unprepared for them may be in for a shock that would make them unhappy with the restaurant. Dancing Shrimp is a Thai dish that is a good example (the shrimp are live) and real Som Tum (which is the true national dish of thailand) is usually at an acid/spice level that is painful and the fermented fish sauce on it is expected to cause toilet issues.

I agree with you that getting the real deal good stuff shouldn't involve you needing to show them your credentials as a thai foodie, but it does help.

Dec 23, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Why is Thai food in boston so bad?

I've been living in Bangkok for half a year or so, and from what I can see online about Sripraphai it looks like the real deal - in Bangkok this would be a good medium to high priced restaurant.

Can Boston compete?

For medium/high class Thai, maybe not completely - but Brown Sugar Comm Ave does a good job if you know yourself what to order, and maybe ask for stuff off their Thai language menu. If you know the Thai names for a few good dishes you fancy, then just ask for them and they'll know what to cook. Their Tom Yum Goong is fantastic and spicy.

For authentic everyday Thai, then I think you've got balls to come on here criticizing Boston's Thai food without having tried S&I Thai in Allston, which has had plenty of coverage both here and on other websites and papers. Its Thai language menu is streets ahead of the (already decent) competition for no-frills real Thai. I'm amazed that so many of the fantastic cheap street-side dishes I get in Bangkok are excellently recreated 12 timezone hours away in Boston, and I thoroughly recommend you bone-up on your knowledge of a few Thai phrases and a few Thai classics (like som tum) and head there.

From the point of view of someone keen on Thai food, with a lot of experience of it - I say Boston has plenty of good Thai and that your OP is wrong. You've based your argument over going to a handful of places but there are well-over 100 Thai restaurants in Greater Boston, there is a big Thai community, even their King was born here!

Dec 23, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Hell Night menu posted

I read recently that good Habaneros should taste sweet, so maybe it was one of them after all (although Wikipedia disagrees with that taste summary).

Good luck in the bathroom tomorrow.

Oct 28, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Searching For Jasmine Tea

If Tea Zone is really closing then

1. I will cry

2. The next best option is the excellent Timeless Teas on Newbury St above the Cafe L'Aroma (opposite H&M)

Oct 14, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Places like Green St

and don't forget Garden at The Cellar on Mass Ave between Central and Harvard

Sep 27, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Korean BBQ?

Just a quick note, I don't think Hanmaru ever did BBQ - they concentrated mostly on stews and soups.

Chung Ki Wa gets my BBQ vote, streets ahead of the competition - although there is plenty of room for improvement. I never went to the Burlington place but heard good things from trusted people (ie. my girlfriend).

Sep 01, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

I need the restaurant of a lifetime...both food and athmosphere

Have you considered T.W. Food in west Cambridge? It would be a romantic 20 minute walk from there to the Weeks Bridge and looks like it might offer slightly more romantic, intimate and special-occasion dining than the rest of the food options around Harvard.

I've not been myself but a few friends I've spoken to have raved about the tasting menu and the intimacy. Just a thought considering you've been recommended every other restaurant in town so far.

Jul 14, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area

Color - Allston

Color doesn't get good reviews on Yelp anymore. If you bother to look in 'rating details' (the pop-up link on the business listing page) you'll see it's been under-mediocre for 6 months now.

Jul 11, 2008
teaTomE in Greater Boston Area