Chinese anyone? – Gourmet San on Bethnal Green

Photo: Mette Bassett

Jeg går for det meste i en lang bue uden om kinesisk mad. Når det kinesiske køkken har været gennem Vestens hakkemaskine bliver det nemlig tit spyttet ud i den anden ende i form af publikums-pleasere som kinabokse, forårsruller, fedtede billigbuffeter, sursød sovs og chop suey i lange baner. Stillet over for det valg vil jeg til enhver tid foretrække japansk, vietnamesisk, thai eller koreansk.

Men kinesisk mad er så meget mere end det, og for nylig fik jeg lov til at prøve en af de mere interessante af slagsen. Gourmet San ligger på Bethnal Green Road og er lidt af en Østlondon institution. Så populær er den, at der tit snor sig en kø foran de ydmyge lokaler. Og med rette. Tag helst en håndfuld venner afsted, for så kan i bestille en masse forskellige retter og få max smagsindtryk.

Gourmet San er en Szechuan restaurant, dvs. den står på retter fra Szechuanprovinsen i det sydvestlige Kina, der er kendt for at proppe retterne med smagsindtryk via masser af hvidløg, chili og de berygtede Szechuan peberkorn, som får ens mund til at prikke og snurre. Dem var der i den dybstegte krabbe-ret vi fik serveret, som desuden var proppet med for os vesterlændinge uvante smagskombinationer i form af bl.a. chili og nelliker. Øvrige retter vi gik ombord i var: fisk i chilisauce, spinat og broccholi stegt i hvidløg, kinesisk kål, grillspyd med lam og rejer og en forfriskende agurke-hvidløgsret. På kortet er også mere usædvanlige kinesiske “lækkerier” i form af grisefødder, tunge, lammenyrer og den slags.

Priserne er rørende lave, grillspyd koster 1 pund stykket, grøntsagsretter omkring 5 pund, hovedretter 7-12. I’ll be back!

Gourmet San, 261 Bethnal Green Road, 020 7729 8388

Læs The Guardians anmeldelse af Gourmet San.


English: I tend to avoid Chinese food in its Westernized version because that normally equals greasy noodle take-aways, sweet and sour sauces, boring chop sueys and deep-fried spring rolls. But recently I got the chance to try something completely different: authentic and cheap Szechuan style food.

My friend who used to live in East London has spoken warmly about one of her favourite restaurants, Gourmet San on Bethnal Green Road. So we went, and I wasn’t disappointed. Food from the Szechuan province is famous for being packed with interesting flavours. That means a liberal use of garlic, chilis and the famous Szechuan peppercorns that make your mouth tingle. We had those in a deep-fried crab dish which was like a potpourri of unusual flavours.

We also sank our chopstick into broccoli and spinach fried with garlic, chinese fried cabbage, skewers with lamb and prawns, a whole fish with delicious chili sauce and an interesting and very refreshing dish, consisting of “battered” cucumbers mixed with a bit of garlic and vinegar. If you’re more adventurous than us you can also order pigs trotters, beef tongue and other “weird” Chinese delicacies.

Prices are cheap, around 1 pound for a skewer, 5 pounds for a vegetable dish and 7-12 for a main. It’s a good idea to bring a handful of friends so that you’re able to sample a lot of different dishes. I’ll definitely be back!

Gourmet San, 261 Bethnal Green Road, 020 7729 8388

Read The Guardians review of Gourmet San.

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

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