Korean Fried Crispy, okay Crunchy Chicken

Went out for lunch, and had some nice Korean Crispy Chicken from the Leather Lane Street Food Market.

I really do enjoy visiting street food markets. It’s something I have missed during the pandemic and lockdown. I have been virtually working from home every day since lockdown in March 2020 and therefore haven’t needed to go out and grab some lunch. I’ve gone out, just not for lunch.

I really went to the market to have a look round. I have had some really good food there and some not so good. I like to try new places and I wasn’t sure about revisiting what I had before. I then saw the Korean Fried Crispy Chicken stand and they had some interesting choices. I did though quite fancy some chicken wings and crispy chicken wings sounded tasty.

I went with the Korean Fried Crispy Chicken wings which I had with the Honey Butter. The dish came with some fries. It was served in what I can only describe as takeaway fried chicken boxes, not the type I would usually have with street food.

The chicken coating was very crunchy, not so much cripsy, but crunchy. Nice, but not what I was expecting. There wasn’t a huge amount of flavour, but I did quite like the honey butter. The fries were okay.

I do think this would be a much better dish, if the chicken was more crispy than crunchy, more flavour, more sauce. Serve it with rice and salad or even some stir fried vegetables.

Would I get it again, probably not.

Wall of Flame

I really do enjoy visiting street food markets. It’s something I have missed during the pandemic and lockdown. I have been virtually working from home every day since lockdown in March 2020 and therefore haven’t needed to go out and grab some lunch. I’ve gone out, just not for lunch.

With some in-person meetings and really an opportunity for a change in scenery and routine I spent part of last week up in London, only the second time in London since March 2020.

It was a nice and sunny Monday so I headed out for a lunchtime walk and get some lunch from the Leather Lane street food market. I had enjoyed the Samba Box from the market a few weeks back, so I went to see what was available. I was tempted to visit the Samba stall again, but I decided I would try something new and different.

My first choice was the Yum Bowl, however the queue was quite long. I had queued for a while for a crispy pork bowl, but it felt that I might be there a long time. So changed my mind and went to the Wall of Flame for chicken.

It was a portion of coleslaw, chicken and fries. Well though I was looking forward to it, it was a little disappointing. 

The chicken was a little overcooked and dry. It had been cooked on a rotisserie and had been “marinated for at least 24 hours” in their special sauce. Though the skin was tasty, the rest of the chicken was dry. The coleslaw lacked dressing. I was looking forward to some crispy fries, but these were soft and lacked flavour.

Overall a real disappointment. I should have queued.

Time for a Samba Box

I really do enjoy visiting street food markets. It’s something I have missed during the pandemic and lockdown. I have been virtually working from home every day since lockdown in March 2020 and therefore haven’t needed to go out and grab some lunch. I’ve gone out, just not for lunch.

I have visited our offices in Bristol now and then, but have only had a couple of meals from the street food markets, some great paella and a delicious bento box.

With some in-person meetings and really an opportunity for a change in scenery and routine I spent part of the week up in London, the first time I had been working in London since March 2020.

It was a nice if a little grey day, so I headed out for a lunchtime walk and see what there was around.

In the part of London where our office was, it felt quiet and empty, again compared to Bristol which is much busier and more crowded. The streets were deserted and there was very little traffic. I was not surprised to see many of my coffee haunts and places I would go for lunch were either shut or had closed down. However there were still some places operating, but a lot less busy than eighteen months ago.

As I walked around I did wonder if the Leather Lane street food market was up and running and I was pleased to see it was. There wasn’t as many stalls as there has been on previous visits. It also didn’t help that I was having a late lunch, so many of the stalls were either shutting up or had run out of food.

After browsing the stalls I took the decision to have a Brazilian Samba Box. I had to queue, and then it started raining, but I stuck with it and stayed in the queue.

I chose the chargrilled chicken thighs which were served with Rio rice, black beans, coleslaw and lettuce.

It looked great and was very tasty.

The chicken was still tender and moist, I thought it might be a bit dry (as it was a last minute thing) but it wasn’t full of flavour. I liked the salad and the rice was nice as well.

I had mine served with chimichurri which was a nice accompaniment.

I really enjoyed the whole box and it was so nice to have something different, fresh and tasty.

Chargrilled Lamb Shish Kebab

Now as we leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some street food I had over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I just plain forget to write up the meal. 

So this is quite a long wait for this review which was four years ago in May 2017 It was a beautiful sunny day in Bristol and during my lunch break I popped out for a walk and went down to the Temple Quay street food market.

There were lots of choices and lots of people queuing. One of the challenges of the Temple Quay street food market is deciding what to choose. In the end the smell of the charcoal grill and the menu on MurrayMays van was very tempting.

The Lamb Shish kebab was £6.50 which is a more than I usually spend for lunch (well it was back then in 2017). However it sounded so good. It was charcoal grilled marinated salt marsh lamb leg, smokey babaganoush, wild garlic, pesto and preserved lemon. The kebab was served with a house salad, flatbread and dukkah pomegranate.

It looked great, despite the big preserved chilli on top, which in the end I didn’t eat.

The lamb was tender and had so much flavour. I really liked the flavour that the charcoal grilled process added. The accompaniments were excellent and a nice mix of taste and textures.

Despite really enjoying the dish, and having a similar dish in October 2017 as well, I don’t think I have made a return visit to the MurrayMays van. Sometimes I think this is because I fancy something else, or the queue for the van looks too long. However I also noticed on return visits that the  Lamb Shish kebab wasn’t on the menu, and the other menu items didn’t appeal. However now as we ease lockdown and I expect to be in Bristol quite a lot more now, I think I will search out the MurrayMays van and have another kebab for my lunch.

Time for some Ah Ma’s Dumplings

Now as we start to leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some street food I had over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal. 

Back in March 2017 I had visited the Temple Quay Street Food market in Bristol and had some great dumplings from Ah Ma’s Dumplings.

I first had dumplings from this stand a year before and had been impressed.

The stall has these huge towers of bamboo steamers laden with freshly steamed dumplings containing a choice of fillings.

My dumplings were then fried off in a pan. Alas the stall (at the time) fries the vegetarian dumplings in the same pan they fry off the meat ones. So if you are vegetarian you may want to have yours steamed and not fried off.

My dumplings were served with a delicious salad. I really enjoyed the dumplings.

Fresh and full of flavour

steak and fries

I was in London for the day I had two meetings, but with a long in between, I was thinking about where to have lunch. The weather wasn’t brilliant, but at least it wasn’t raining (yet).

I wasn’t expecting it, but just down Tottenham Court Road was a street food market hidden on the side. Called the Goodge Street Market it’s in Fitzrovia, London and the stalls surround the church there.

There wasn’t a huge market, but there is certainly enough choice of different kinds of food.

There was a quite a choice, but one stand stood out to me, which was the Argentinian El Parrillon stand. As with other stands they were offering free samples and I took a sample of steak.As well as steak, their menu also offered Chimichurri chicken in a box, or you could have a mixed box.

I really liked the sound of the steak and fries, so I ordered that. The service was efficient and friendly.

The steak was cooked to order on a plancha. It was then cubed on the grill and once finished was served with fries and salad. You had a choice of Aioli, spicy sauce or Chimichurri. I went with the Chimichurri.

The steak had lots of flavour and was very tender. The fries were a little over-cooked for my liking, but were crispy. The salad was somewhat disappointing consisting of mixed leaves and nothing else. The Chimichurri was really nice and fresh and enhanced the dish.

I really enjoyed the steak and fries, with the Chimichurri adding flavours and freshness.

Crispy Squid

Crispy Squid

The South Street Kitchen run a regular crispy squid stall, though the menu had the odd special dish, the usual offer is either salt and pepper crispy squid or sweet chilli crispy squid. Both dishes are served with pickled vegetables, new potatoes and chorizo.

Each serving is freshly cooked to order in front of you. The squid and the potatoes are taken and cooked in the deep fat fryer, before being tossed in the appropriate seasoning then dressed with the picked vegetables and garnished with sesame seeds.

The squid is tender, the batter is crisp with a real crunch. The potatoes add substance to the dish and the vegetables enhance it. Overall a great dish of food.

For me this is what street food is a really about. This is proper fresh food, it isn’t been hanging around under a hot plate, drying out! It’s not something that has been cooked in advance and then heated up in a microwave.

One “problem” with enjoying street food like this, is when you go to another eatery, which doesn’t cook the food this way, then you really don’t enjoy the experience.

Time for some dumplings

Time for some dumplings

I did think that I might miss the Temple Quay market this week because of the rain, however it stopped so off I went.

There were fewer stalls this week, and fewer regulars, but even so there was a great choice of food. I thought the rain might have put people off, but the queues were already really long. The queue for the Thai stall was already across the square!

I did start queing at the Scoff and Relish stall as the salad and grilled chicken sounded great and looked fantastic too, being chargrilled on they tiny portable barbecues. I also liked the idea of the accompaning scoff balls, savoury scones. Alas they were struggling with the demand and the queue wasn’t moving and the food wasn’t quite ready. Maybe next time…

In the end I went with Ah Ma’s Dumplings. There was a slow moving queue here too. The stall has these huge towers of bamboo steamers laden with freshly steamed dumplings containing a choice of fillings. There was no tiger prawn, scallop and leek (probably sold out) today, so the choice was pork and ginger, beef and spinach, chicken and coriander or vegetarian.

ah-mas-dumplings

I went with the veggie shitake and cashew pan fried dumplings along with the pork belly with hoisin bao.

I was impressed and tempted with the dumpling pots complete with vegetables, noodles and broth, likewise the sides of Asian salads sounded very interesting. That day they had carrot & courgette ribbons with a tahini, honey, lemon dressing; the other choice was sweet chilli pickled cucumber with toasted black sesame seeds.

The dumplings were really impressive, beautiful steamed dough that because of the pan frying. Inside was a filling that was deep, tasty and even a little meaty, but they were vegetarian (well ‘ish they are pan fried in the same pan as the pork and chicken ones, so if you are vegetarian you might want to have them steamed instead).

The bao was delicious, the slow roasted pork belly was both sour and sweet, full of interesting deep flavours and very tender. The steamed dough made is substantive. I have seen neater and tidier bao buns before, but the flavour of the filling made up for this.

Ah Ma has a growing reputation, having been mentioned as one of the top sixteen street food stalls in the UK in both the Metro and Olive magazine. In my mind that is a well deserved reputation, delicious food, beautifully made and presented and lots of interesting choices of flavours and textures. I hope to visit them again.

Well that was nice

templequaymarket

Popping over to the Temple Quay market for lunch it was a nice walk in the sun and there is something nice about buying street food in the summer weather. I managed to get there quite early, so was really spoilt for choice. Even getting their early there were already long queues for the Thai food and the slow cooked pulled pork.

I did think about getting Peruvian from the Uchu Perú stall, but though the food looked fantastic, I have tried to try new things, rather than buy things again. For those same reasons I also didn’t go for the tacos from the Little Taqueria as I have had them before (still need to write that blog post).

In the end after much thought, I went with Wild and Rustic who usually sell venison burgers, but this week had sous-vide chicken thighs cooked with lemon and thyme. These were then chargrilled before being served in a rustic sourdough bun with wild rocket confit garlic mayo, parmesan gremolata sweet potato crisps.

This was really delicious and I am glad I went back to the office to eat it, as I can imagine that trying to eat it straight from the box would be a somewhat messy affair.

The chicken was really nice, cooking sous-vide and then finishing off on the grill results in moist tasty chicken. The accompaniments really helped to finish off the chicken.

I really liked it, I did think it was slightly on the pricey side at £6.50 but then again getting the dish prepared in front of you and it tasting delicious, meant that I think it was a price worth paying.

A taste of Peru

Temple Quay Market

So how often do you get a chance to sample some authentic looking and tasting Peruvian food?

One of my favourite features of Bristol is the weekly street food market that takes place every Thursday at the square in the newly redeveloped Temple Quay. It is open between 12 and 2, but I suggest you get there early, as there are large queues and many times dishes sell out (especially the vegetarian ones).

There are a range of regular and guest stalls, and when I went there was a real choice. I did like the idea of Greek, the halloumi pitta sounded and looked delicious. There was also a pulled lamb sub, that also looked very nice. After looking around, I went with Uchu Perú, as stall selling Peruvian food, my choice dictated slightly by the shortness of the queue and the interesting sounding menu.

Uchu Perú Menu

In the end looking over the menu I decided that I would go with the sample menu, so I could have a bit of everything. The sample plate has smaller portions of all the dishes from the menu.

If you stay at the market the stall provides a nice plate, but as it was starting to rain I got my meal to go and they split it between two boxes for me to take away.

Ceviche, which was sea bass cooked in lime with prawns, chilli, coriander, red onion, sweet potato and Peruvian corn. This was fresh and sharp and really tasty. I wasn’t so enamoured with the Peruvian corn, but it was something that I can see other people liking.

The Quinoa Salad was made from black and white quinoa with carrot, radish, coriander, broad beans, feta cheese and Peruvian yellow chilli sauce. I really liked how the team put this together, and was like the Ceviche was delicious. The ingredients were fresh, tasty and worked really well together.

The final dish in my trio was Causa, which was freshly piped potato puree with Peruvian yellow chilli paste, served cold with tomato, avocado puree, purple corn mayonnaise, sweet potato crisp, pulled chicken, topped with togaroshi mayonnaise. As I was eating I did wonder what the pink stuff was, but re-reading the menu, I realised this was the purple corn mayonnaise. Delicious components that worked really well together.

I really liked how the dishes were constructed to order and they looked beautiful. I’ve not eaten Peruvian dishes before, these were delicious and I would certainly go back to Uchu Perú.