This "city" never ceases to amaze me.
You wouldn’t believe that in such a remote suburb of north-west London, there is a huge complex of Asian food (the largest complex of its kind in Europe and probably also outside Asia!). With stalls, restaurants, bakeries and a crazy, vast selection of food from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, India and more.
I call it "city" in quotes because London is really more of a small country than a city. It took us an hour and a half (by high-speed train + fairly fast tube) to get from our house in South-East London, to the crazy Asian food complex “Bang Bang Oriental” in Colindale, North-West London.
I have not eaten such a sequence of delicious Asian food for a long time, with a combination of just the right flavours and interesting variety. Out of the eight dishes we tasted, five or six were absolutely delicious. The portion sizes were outstanding, and the audience consisted not only of young hipsters but also quite a few families of Indians, Japanese, Britons and Africans. Some equipped with plastic boxes - eating on the spot and packing leftovers to take home.
Here are few dishes we tried:
Thai beef soup is based on a rich broth - This Thai soup is the one thing we always search for when we arrive in Thailand. It has aromatic flavours of cinnamon, clove, gentle star anise and more. Quite different from what you would typically expect from Som Tam. Surprisingly, it was a bit spicy, although usually brown aromatic Thai soups aren’t. Rating: 8/10.
A Cantonese duck - This is the most succulent roast duck you will probably find. Be careful of the bones though, but remember: it might not be all “posh” like Peking duck, but it is more juicy and flavourful. The place also has highly addictive roast pork slices, do not miss them. 9/10.
Chinese Dumplings - “Bang Bang Oriental” is dominated by Chinese stalls. One of these stalls offers a large variety of handmade dumplings. We chose the minced pork and mushroom dumplings, and appreciated the freshness of the dough, the juiciness of the filling, and we were generally surprised to eat such a delightful dish right after the duck. Such a sequence of deliciousness is not so obvious. 9/10. Next, we had the Cheung Fun - a Hong Kong style rice roll noodle filled with chopped meat. Although the rice noodles were soft and fresh, the filling did not impress me much. I give this one a 7/10.
Steamed charcoal gold-coated buns, filled with egg yolk custard, was the next treat that caught our eyes. You can also find them in the Hong Kong bun stall. Visually, they were very impressive. Tastewise, I would say that the bun was gently sweet, and the yolk filling was sweet and savoury. All in all, 8/10.
Then came the Malaysian Laksa. This is one of my favourite Asian soups. The Malaysian stall (named “Coconut Tree”) has a huge variety of dishes (more than any other stall in “Bang Bang Oriental”). I chose the more gentle, coconut-based Laksa (which I prefer over the Curry-based one). It is made with coconut milk, lemongrass paste, chilli or paprika oil, chicken, prawns, fishballs and more. This laksa is among the best ones I have tried in London during the years. 9/10.
The next dish we had was Singaporean-style king prawns coated with a rich and creamy buttermilk egg floss. Although the crispy egg floss topping is not for everyone, butter-loving foodies (like myself) may find them extremely addictive and delightful. I took some food bloggers to Bang Bang to try them and they described it as an “explosion of butter”. Anyway, I give them 9/10, and stand bravely behind my choice :)
And now, for dessert. Have you heard of BingSoo? This is a Korean delight made of milk “snowflakes” (tiny frozen milk flakes), concentrated milk, fresh mango, mango sauce and mochi (ice cream and sticky rice balls). This is a big dessert, suitable for sharing like most dishes in Bang Bang Oriental. It is refreshing, freezing cold and not too sweet. 8.5/10.
In conclusion, “Bang Bang Oriental” is the place for foodies, families, hungry friends and people who are willing to share big bowls of Asian goodness. This is one of the best places for Asian food all over London, and definitely worth the long journey from Central London. Follow us on Instagram @curious.in.london for more reviews & food recommendations around London!