Steamed fish roll, Hunan, London

Hunan, Belgravia, lunch

Rough draft of a menu from a lunch at the no-menu Hunan Restaurant (many of the dishes are in the Hunan cookbook):

Pork mince in a lettuce wrap

Cucumber noodles

Spinach roll

Red oil beef

Spinach stuffed prawns

Chicken with dou ban sauce

Chicken wrapped asparagus

Bamboo cup soup

French chips

Stir-fried liver

Steamed fish roll

Cold beef with pickles

Red intestines and spinach

Pig’s ears

Red bean pancakes and jelly

I’ve had almost everything on the menu at Hunan over the course of writing their book. The myriad of variations on flavour, ingredients and cooking technique has roots in tradition but also offers a certain amount of innovation. And each time I’ve visited the restaurant, there has been something new.

The French chips has remained one of the most popular dishes on the menu over the 30 years or so that the restaurant has been open. I think the spinach rolls might be one of my favourites though.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.


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