I had a few spare hours to myself in London last week, so I decided to check out Chinatown. I’ve never had a proper wander there before despite how close it is to the West End and Soho, which is really a bit ridiculous isn’t it?
Edinburgh doesn’t have a Chinatown, though we do have a handful of Asian supermarkets and a few restaurants my parents are happy to call “proper Chinese food”. A lot of asian cooking is westernised here, which is a shame as there are so many incredible vegetables and flavour combinations out there that Scottish folk might never get to try, just because chefs are worried they won’t appeal to a hypothetical chips-and-cheese palate.
If I’m honest I was lured in with the promise of P2BUS, the Korean beauty shop hidden away in Newport Court. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rows of sheet masks and adorably packaged cosmetics, hair dyes in boxes with pictures of Blythe dolls and Sailor Moon eyeliners, and I love looking through the endless bottles of magical potions. The amount of stuff P2BUS stocks is just unreal, and I swear I must drive the poor salesperson barmy with my questions every time I come in!
My mission to find a bakery that sold vegan pineapple buns was fruitless, but I did discover that bo lo bao don’t have any actual pineapple in them. Mind. Blown. I did find a vast array of cakes with slightly un-PC names like the *coughcough* Mexican buns I used to devour by the handful as a child. Or the “wife cakes” filled with candied winter melon.
What I struggle with when ordering Chinese food is that there isn’t really much that doesn’t contain meat or fish. It’s something that has been a learning experience for my mum, who doesn’t eat meat but is on the fence about things that contain shrimp paste, fish sauce, and chicken broth. I’ll leave my Chinese culinary explorations to just snapping photos of cute cakes then, and move on. How adorable are these wee iced numbers though? They’re about 80% sugar and look like toys, but dang they’re pretty!
If someone would like to open a vegan Chinese bakery before I next head down to London though, that would be much appreciated ;-). Until then, I’ll just have to settle for endless cups of bubble tea. But no cake for me :-(.