Red & Hot, Manchester
Okay, so the menu might make for rather gruesome reading: anyone for 'pockmarked lady's tou fu with minced meat' or 'husband and wife's pork lung slices'? If you can look beyond the descriptions you'll find there's much to like about this growing Szechuan chain with branches in Manchester, Birmingham and London. Best of all is the somewhat prosaic 'sliced belly pork in mashed garlic sauce'; although served cold, it's a deeply satisfying starter. Even the 'pockmarked' tofu dish is a fiery delight.
Red & Hot, 56 Faulkner Street, Manchester M1 4FH, 0161 236 2650
"The mark of any decent Chinese restaurant is not necessarily the awards that it's won or its trendy interior, but whether the Chinese community eats there or not."
No it's not. That just means it's good at catering to native Chinese tastes. The corollary of this line of argument would be that a greasy fish & chip shop would be good English food because the 'English community' eat there.
When Chinese restaurants began to spread across England in the 1960´s, far and away the best were in Nelson Street in Liverpool. Immigrant Chinese got off the boat in Liverpool and were met by people who knew them. The best cooks were kept in Liverpool. The others migrated south and it was interesting to follow the trail. The second best were in Manchester, the third in Birmingham and the quality deteriorated as one continued down the country.
Since that time the English influence has resulted in a degree of over-cooking and it is now difficult to find really authentic Chinese food. That silly woman doing a program from Chinatown in Soho putting chillies in everything is destroying the image of good Chinese cooking. During forty years or so of regularly eating in Chinese restaurants before leaving England I never once tasted chillie in anything other than Mexican or Thai.
By chance I found the Lee Ho Fook restaurant in Macclesfield Street in Soho. The customers all looked Chinese so I went in. No menu, they served roast duck with rice and steamed lettuce. Heaven! I have never had anything so good anywhere.
I asked the owner of my local Chinese why he didn´t have that dish on his menu and he wanted to know where I had found it. When I told him he said "Ha, that´s where we eat when we go to London but they won´t tell us their recipe"
See the comment from "Someone".
If people ate more Chinese, Asian, Indian type / style of food even once a week, there would be fare less internal body problems in the UK.