Grandma’s kitchen seems to have such a reputation that we’d actually heard about it before we’d even left England. (Thank you Jess, if you ever happen upon this blog!)
Unfortunately, the first time we planned to go was when I went down with laryngitis, so Tom went with a friend from work and they came back raving about it. There are branches all over the city, but the closest one to us is on Zhonge road at the junction with Tiyuchang, which is where we stopped for lunch today.
I have a problem at the moment – I can’t resist any kind of dumpling or xiao long bao - I seem to be addicted to dunking anything in vinegar. So of course the first thing on the list is the fried dumplings. Next I went for the pumpkin and lily root soup, and then Tom added spicy beef and vermicelli soup. Then on the spur of the moment I ordered green tea cakes (as you can probably tell from this unlikely combo we ordered in a bit of a rush!) Having said that it worked out surprisingly well – green tea cakes are now a new favourite. We have yet to
identify the filling (it’s got the consistency of mushy peas and tastes a bit like sweet rice pudding), but the outside is fried and crispy with a sesame seed rim stuck on with red bean paste. Yes ok it sounds like something out of a discarded episode of star-trek, but honestly I ate four in a row without breaking for air.
Meanwhile Tom was trying to find a way of extracting the vermicelli from the soup, but was fighting a losing battle. If anyone has any good techniques, please share. They were so slippery and jelly-like, it seemed the only way was to drink the soup dry and then attack the rest with chopsticks.
Anyway, this shouldn’t detract from the dish (I’m trying to think of a new way of saying “tasty” – Tom is offering “scrumdiddlyumptious”) which seemed to be both spicy and sweet simultaneously. It definitely beat the pumpkin soup, which though very sweetly and delicately flavoured (and marbled with egg white), was just a little too bland for me.
Total bill including drinks was 59 yuan.
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