Peak of the Week

So that's the hump of the week been and gone. Not a classic day in terms of food although I have attempted to eat my body weight in Minstrels while watching Twilight (EMO teeny vampire tale with preachy celibacy theme: think Angel crossed with the Jonas Brothers); Role Models (frequently hilarious broad comedy about two energy drink reps forced to do community service and 'buddy' with two children) and Baz Luhrman's insane Australia (indefinable, sprawling hybrid of Pearl Harbour and City Slickers with about 18 other films for good measure). Mind you, there was time for a little Baozi action earlier. I probably don't want to know which cut of pork was in the noodles but damn it was good: fiery, flavoursome, filling, three 'f' words you want from any noodle dish. The excesses of the spice - and that's speaking as one who's experienced and enjoyed Dave's Insanity, the best / most aptly named sauce on the market - were balanced by the peanut salad: cooked peanuts, with carrot, pickled cucumber, celery and tofu skin. The tofu skin resembled... well, the organ I suspect made up the bulk of the noodle dish's protein, but it's seriously good. A pork baozi was superfluous but how can you resist? I mean, £1.20 for the best damn pork bun ANYWHERE? A world beating pork bun for less than a Sunday paper? Or roughly the same price as a double cheeseburger from the golden arches? You'd have to be a better, and thinner, man than I to pass that opportunity up.

The quick feisty lunch kept me ticking along til 10.30pm (and if I hadn't noticed the houmous in the fridge, I could probably have kept going til the am) and prompted a discussion - which my wife may well divorce me over - about how boring most Chinese food is. Yes, there are some great dishes, sometimes only dim sum will do it, and there are certainly days when I'd kill for a duck pancake (or a good crispy beef, mmm), but so many times, in so many places, everything ends up tasting the bleeding same. Not so other similar cuisines such as Thai where, as Will pointed out, the sweet and sour balance is key, or, it has to be said, Szechuan Chinese as demonstrated by Bar Shu and Baozi. In the latter case, two mains, two sides and a pot of tea got us a whole heap of flavours and a little change from a twenty. That's pretty darn grumbleproof, if you ask me.


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