I can – and do – spend hours in Chinese supermarkets. In England, whether it’s the giant hypermarkets – Wing Yip at Staples Corner and Hoo Hing up the road on the North Circular, or See Woo on Lisle Street in London’s Chinatown, they are hands down my favourite places to shop for food. I’ve favoured See Woo for years, mainly because there are relatively few tourists thronging its aisles, even though it’s just a block from Leicester Square, a no-go area for Londoners. (I wrote about See Woo here.)
But I was in a hurry before my parking ran out one day last week, and I sprinted into Loon Fung on the main drag of Chinatown – Gerrard Street. It’s one of the last food store holdouts in a street full of restaurants of wide-ranging quality, and I had forgotten that it always has a great selection of fresh noodles.
I bought fresh wide flat cheung fun noodles, which are almost like a lighter kind of lasagne pasta, (Yautcha does a wonderful light dish of cheung fun with mushrooms), shitake and enoki mushrooms and choi sum greens, along with my particular vice – fluffy pre-fried fresh tofu, and some fresh long green garlic shoots.
When I got to my mother’s that evening I simply fried the shitake and sliced garlic shoots in groundnut oil, and flung in the greens with a few tablespoons of water. I splashed in some dark and light soy sauce, a few drops of heady sesame oil – don’t use too much – it’s far too overpowering in quantity, some Chinese rice wine, and a pinch of sugar. Then I clamped on a lid to let the greens steam.
A few minutes before the greens were ready, I added the enoki, and the fried tofu, chopped to soak up the flavours, and which got stirred around for a minute or two to heat through.
The noodles I plunged in boiling water for a few minutes to heat and soften, and I served it all together in one dish.
We ate sitting outside on my mother’s terrace in the evening sunshine, with glasses of rose, and two slathering dogs at our feet. (Unable to discern that there was no meat in our supper.)