Monday, 4 October 2010

Fuzhou Fish Balls Ho Fun in Soup @ Young Cheng

Young Cheng in the heart of London's Chinatown has been on my radar for a few months ever since Pa Noodles bought some superior take-away Cantonese BBQ there. I finally got round to eating at this restaurant the other week. I was going to order some three roasts noodles (sam siu mein 三燒麵), before another dish caught my eye.

福州魚蛋湯河 Fuzhou fish ball ho fun in soup (£5.50) screamed out to me from the lunch menu and was begging to be ordered. However, I had some reservations owing to some bad fish ball experiences at HK Diner and Fuzhou Restaurant. Things were so bad in the state of fish ball that I resorted to rustling them up at home.

Thankfully, this bowl of noodles went someway in restoring my faith in the humble fish ball. After all, I could have no complaints about the generous helping of six puffy fish balls filled with ground pork complemented by slippery smooth ho fun noodles (河粉) in a bowl of clean tasting broth.

The fish balls were reassuringly misshapen, which to me indicated that they were own-made but sadly they weren't that 'QQ' or springy. That said, the ground pork filling – the defining feature of Fuzhou fish balls – was juicy and flavoursome. The broth would've been a tad plain but for some fried garlic bits that ever so subtly gave it a lift.

I also bought a portion of take-away roast belly pork (siu yuk 燒肉). This had nice crispy crackling and plenty of five-spice flavour. A winner and a bargain at £5.50; I'll be sure to return and sample the rest of their roast meats.

I visited the Lisle St branch of Young Cheng, there are a couple of others in Chinatown, and it's a bit of an 'all things to all people' kind of joint. At lunchtime, it serves dim sum and one-dish meals whilst the main à la carte selection includes Cantonese favourites of both the hard-core and tourist-friendly variety. In common with many Chinatown joints, service was fast and furious but without being too brusque.

Young Cheng on Urbanspoon

Young Cheng, 22 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BA (Tel 020-7287-3045)
Nearest tube: Leicester Square


  1. The roast pork belly looks really good!

  2. have u tried the foochow fishballs at Jen Cafe? how do these compare?

    the horfun looks slippery smooth and delish!

  3. Young Chen on Shaftsbury Avenue is my favourite Chinatown place. I invaribly get roast pork belly & roast duck on rice with Choi Sum for the bargain price of £6.00. You usually get a free bowl of pork bone broth at lunch too.

  4. Chiara - welcome! The roast pork belly (siu yuk) looked good and tasted good too!

    Vix - I'm afraid I haven't tried the Fuzhou fishballs at Jen Cafe. I just usually eat their dumplings!

    LGS - I ate at the Lisle St branch of Young Cheng rather than the Shaftesbury Avenue one but it's good to hear that the latter is good too.

  5. Good value for money for the pork belly! I have yet to find any good fuzhou fish balls in Melbourne.

  6. That pork belly looks like the business, and those fish balls sounds great too. Out of interest (and from my first ever brush with 'fish flavoured' dishes) do the fish balls have any fish in them? You can tell i'm a novice at this sort of cuisine.

  7. That's an excellent price for so much siu yoke! Glad it lived up to its appearance too.

  8. I went to the Young Cheng on Shaftesbury Ave because someone recommended it as having better roast duck than Four Seasons. Sadly it was not better (in my opinion) and I am stuck back with FS's shitty service just for some good duck. The fish ball noodles do look good though! Looks wholesome, like something you'd want to eat when flu season hits!

  9. 3HT - I can't believe you can't decent Fuzhou fishballs in Melbourne.

    Gworm - the fish balls do contain fish but I can forgive you asking the question, given that 'ants climbing up a tree' = minced pork with vermicelli and 'phoenix talons' = chickens' feet.

    Su-Lin - the siu yuk was excellent and at £5.50, an unbelievable bargain!

    Catty - I can only speak for the Lisle St branch and on the two occasions, I've tried their Cantonese BBQ, it's been pretty good. You're not gonna believe this but I still haven't been to Four Seasons, after all these years in London.