I am in the home stretch. Nine days left. LET’S DO THIS.
A couple days ago I went to dinner with a few foodie friends at Silk Road, a Camberwell institution serving food from the Xinjiang region of China. It’s cheap and extremely tasty, known especially for its lamb skewers with cumin and chilli, smacked cucumber, plump dumplings and stamina-building tripe dishes. Everything on the menu is distinctly flavored – there are no interchangeable, sweet-and-salty or sweet-and-sour sauces here. One of their signature dishes is something called big plate chicken, and a slightly smaller (but still massive) version called medium plate chicken. I don’t know how it’s cooked, so I won’t attempt to explain it, but I can describe how it tastes: stewed on-the-bone chicken fortified with the heady flavor of star anise, along with boiled potatoes and green chillies in a sweet broth punctuated and lifted by hits of Szechuan peppercorn and dried red chilli. It’s served with floppy, chunkily hand-cut noodles so thick and wide they could almost be classified as dumplings. It’s comfort food, cranked up a notch.
We didn’t order the big or medium plate chicken for our dinner, but I got the medium as part of a takeaway order for Laura, among (too many) other things. It has been enough for three meals and counting. Yesterday I mixed some corn into the chicken stew and reheated it along with the noodles. It was every bit as aromatic and delicious as it was when it’s fresh, though the corn made the whole thing a bit too sweet. Nonetheless, I happily wolfed it down for lunch, and it was so filling I only ate yogurt for dinner.