Monday, November 11, 2013

UnTour Shanghai - Oodles of Noodles

I'm back in Asia and I'm delighted to say I managed a quick jaunt to Shanghai with Mr. P.  So, whilst Mr. P was hard at work, I decided to do what I do best, eat! 

A quick search on the internet led me to UnTour Shanghai and after a few straight forward email exchanges, I was booked onto their Oodles of Noodles tour the next day.

I met up with Carla - our guide - at Fuxing Park along with two other delightful foodie fanatics.  Well, one of them was a journalist, sent to write a piece about the tour for one of the local papers.

We set off walking through the park, with Carla giving us a brief history of it.  Our first stop was a little noodle shop where we got to sample a bowl of their signature sesame peanut noodles.  With peanut sauce on top, they were quite claggy, but at the same time, delicious.  Simple, but very effective. 

Our next stop took us to another little laneway noodle shop where we sat upstairs and our guide ordered us two bowls of noodles; a pork and caramelised scallion noodle and a spicy pork and preserved cabbage noodle.  The pork and caramelised scallion noodle was out of this world delicious!  I loved the sweetness of the scallions mixed with the salty pork.  These noodles don't look like much, but it's packed full of flavour.  They were in fact my favourite.
The spicy pork and preserved cabbage noodles weren't so much spicy but more oily due to the chilli oil.  These didn't really do much for me, but it's all down to individual taste.
Our next stop took us to a fish noodle shop, and Carla ordered us a bowl of their signature Yellow Croaker fish noodles and a bowl of hairy crab noodles. 
The croaker fish noodles weren't anything to write home about and the hairy crab noodles were quite sweet.
And so we took a light break and wandered to a wet market where there were lots of vegetables, fish and seafood, dried goods and lots of other interesting foods.  Walking through the French concession area with a guide was fabulous.  We walked down little laneways, saw a couple of really interesting antique stroke café shops and listened to Carla telling us fascinating tidbits of the area.
Alas, the afternoon drew us onto our last noodle stop, a muslim eatery near to an underground station.  The noodles are handmade on the spot in front of customers and all I can say is that it must take some skill and many months, if not years, to become a seasoned noodle maker.  We sampled a beef noodle soup noodle and a hand cut stir fried noodle in a tomato sauce with beef and vegetables.  Both were delicious and the hand cut noodles were nice and chewy.

I loved this tour, even if I was a little noodle'd out by the end of it.  It was informative, delicious, relaxing and such a great way to spend an afternoon in Shanghai.  I'd recommend Untour Shanghai in a heartbeat.  I just wish I had had the time to do their breakfast tour!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back in Blighty - Ye Olde Steppes!

It's been a while since my last post.  Over a year in fact.  After such a long hiatus, I thought I ought to begin again whilst back in Blighty.

In true English fashion, I went to a tearoom, a very quaint one in the beautiful village of Pembridge, Hertfordshire.  It even came with a rosy-cheeked mother hen hostess who greeted us in the manner of old friends.

Décor is very olde English such matching floral curtains and table cloths, a doily on each table, wooden dressers, fireplaces, Union Jack flags, a vintage till and so on. 

This place also serves as a village shop selling fresh vegetables, sweets, jams, cards, homemade cakes etc.

After having a little look around, my three companions and I sat around a table in the main room and surveyed the beautifully thought out menu.  From what I could tell, so many of their ingredients are locally sourced such as the Hereford Hop (cheese), eggs, ham, pickle, jam, the list goes on.

Their food menu consists of soups, salads, sandwiches, baked potatoes, cream teas, homemade cakes.  All of it, deliciously tempting!

I haven't had a pork pie nor a ploughman's for a good five years, so I opted for their special, pork and ham pie ploughman's lunch.  One of my companions went for the red onion and goats cheese tart and the other two ordered the normal pork pie ploughman's. 

Check out my ham and chicken pork pie ploughman's lunch with crunchy salad and all the lovely trimmings: Branston pickle, coleslaw, cheese, salad, apple, crisps, bread, butter (admittedly far too generous).  Washed down with a refreshing bottle of organic cider.  It was blissfully scrumptious!

The onion and goat's cheese tart, served with coleslaw, salad and Tyrell's crisps (from Hertfordshire).  This also went down a treat. 

The food was a hit with all of us. And for me, it brought back memories of lunches which consisted of just some good old English bread, cheddar and pickles, a packet of crisps and fun times with friends.  Simple, but tasty, and really quite nostalgic. 

Pembridge Village Shop & Tearoom
High Street
Herts HR6 9DS