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