Beigel Bake – an East London Institution

The Brick Lane Beigal Shop – a family run business full of East London history, tradition and astoundingly delicious bagels. My Great Grandparents on my Jewish side used to shop for their bagels and their challah there.

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On Sundays you will find a line around the shop and out the door into the road, but if you are out in Brick Lane for the Sunday Market, I can give you a right-handed-three-fingered-girl-guides promise that it is worth the wait.

Esme was visiting London so I took her there to try these traditional London Bagels.

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As you walk in, the smell of freshly cooked bagels, challah and pastries fill your nostrils, making your eyes a lot bigger than your stomach.

There is a variety of fillings to choose from. My favourites are the smoked salmon with butter (£1.30) and the salt beef with English mustard (£3.20).

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The chew of the bagel is what makes it and these bagels have the perfect chew and are not dry whatsoever.

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The salt beef is home made and delicious. It falls apart and melts in your mouth and is not too salty. With the English mustard to give the perfect kick.

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Wong Kei – A London Chinatown Institution

At 4 stories high, with the ability to seat 500 diners, Wong Kei is a London Chinatown institution. Known for its straight forward, no-fluff, fast service (which some may find rude) – the restaurant is always full of students, tourists, and Chinese customers. The atmosphere is always buzzing and the great thing is, you can eat yourself into a food-coma, without breaking the bank. It has a special place in my heart from the days of being a university student in London.

Liz and I went for some good hit-the-spot Chinese food after a long hard day of work.

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We ordered a Crispy Shredded Beef as it is Liz’s favourite. It was the first time I had tried it there and it was very good.

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I like the roast meats there so we got a plate of Pork Belly and BBQ Pork on rice (£6). They pour a sweet gravy over it all to complete it. The Pork Belly has crispy skin on it, which gives a crunch to it and the BBQ Pork has a sweet and smokey flavour to it.

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I love Chinese vegetables. Growing up my mother told me that if I ate my greens, my hair would grow long and silky, and being a very girly little girl, this made me like my greens even more.

We ordered Choi Sum with Oyster Sauce, which was fresh, crunchy, and sweet (£4).

The service isn’t the best and you might have to eat on a table with other people, but overall, its a good eat.

http://wongkeilondon.com/

Tay Do – My Pick of the Great Pho Mile – Hoxton, London

Kingsland Road, aka The Great Pho Mile, is famous for its delicious Vietnamese restaurants. Restaurant after restaurant all the way down Kingsland Road, there are a number of choices. I am sure that everyone has their favourite one. Mine, is Tay Do Cafe.

Why? Well, I believe the tradition of the Pho Mile is the BYOB (bring your own booze) as well as the good food. Unfortunately all the restaurants on the road no longer allow the bring-your-own-booze policy, except for Tay Do. I like that they have continued this East London tradition – plus their food is fabulous and the menu is huge so there is something for everyone’s taste buds.

Yep, I am a huge fan. In fact, I am such a fan that I went twice this week. Once with Hayley, Kuda, and Jean for a girlie catch up dinner and the other time was for Charlotte’s birthday (with Tash, Astrid, Kate, Emma, and Renata).

Some of the starters that we had were:

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Chicken Satay.

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Fresh Prawn Summer Rolls – These are my favourite! They taste so healthy and refreshing with vermicelli noodles, mint, coriander, spring onion, large prawns wrapped in a rice wrap. A signature Vietnamese dish!

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Fried Spicy Squid – also delicious. They are fried with onions, red chilies, and spring onions and are very flavoursome.

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Vegetable Spring Rolls.

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The night of the girlie catch up, I had a bowl of Pho with thinly sliced beef. Pho is another signature Vietnamese dish. The beef stock takes hours to cook and it is boiling hot, then poured onto the flat white rice noodles and raw thin beef to cook them.

A side dish of bean sprouts, lime, mint, and chilies are presented for you to make the soup your own creation.

It is a fabulous dish for a cold rainy night to warm up your belly. (approximately £8 each)

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On Charlotte’s birthday I ordered a lemon grass and beef bun – and yes it is another signature Vietnamese dish. This is a very refreshing dish for hot summery weather. It is dry vermicelli noodles with a lemon grass, onion, garlic, sliced beef stir fry on top and a sweet chili fish sauce on the side to pour over it. Once you pour the sauce over it, mix it all up with the stir fry, and voila! (approximately £9 each)

Tay Do Cafe – My pick of The Great Pho Mile!

http://www.taydo.co.uk/

Pizza East – Shoreditch, London

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We went to Pizza East in Shoreditch for some freshly made pizza. It is one of my favourite pizza places in London. The atmosphere is buzzing, on one side there are large wood fire ovens where the chefs are cooking away, and on the other side there are breads, meats and cheeses being sliced. Its a large space and everything is made right in front of you.

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We had some calamari to start. Freshly battered and fried so that it was crisp on the outside with some tartar sauce on the side.

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I am a margherita pizza kind of girl. Some people might find it plain, but I think that it is the best way to enjoy a good pizza, without any toppings to distract from the taste of a good pizza base, home-made tomato sauce, and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Pizza East have a good selection of pizzas with interesting toppings and if you are a topping kind of person, I would recommend trying the spicy sausage.

Great pizzas and great atmosphere!

http://www.pizzaeast.com/

approximately £10 per pizza

Takoyaki Stall – Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London

There are a lot of quirky finds at Brick Lane on a Sunday when the market is on. Susan came over and with the sun shining and the birds singing and living right by the hustle and bustle of the market, what better to do that do a little exploring? So we got out exploring shoes and hats on and made our way!

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One of my favourite stalls is the Takoyaki stall. All that they offer are takoyaki of different flavours.

First you pick your filling: octopus, cheese, or prawn. I personally always go for the octopus because Takoyaki translates into “octopus balls”, which is the original filling. You can also go for a mixture if you are feeling adventurous.

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They cook these in front of you in a special dish which helps with the shape of the balls. It has the same type of texture as chocolate/cheese filled Poffertjes, a round dutch pancake, but takoyaki is a savoury food (obviously).

Then you pick the Japanese Mayo to go on top: original Japanese mayonnaise, Wasabi mayonnaise, or Teriyaki mayonnaise. I go for the wasabi mayo for a little kick.

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They then sprinkle with seaweed, mild chili, and fish flakes and voila!

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It tastes like a thick savoury pancake with a creamy filling in the center and if you love Japanese cuisine, I can tell you now, you will love this!

Itadakimasu!