Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle II

The window to my soul

I could probably eat a whole Cantonese roast duck by myself as my final meal, I’d slip away happy and content. It’s not an extravagance, all you’d have to do for me is go to any Chinatown and pick one up from a roast meat shop. But imagine if you went to the wrong shop, I’d curse you with my last breath. Real soul food is comfort food unique to oneself, only you know what makes that dish just right and satisfies your soul. So in as much as it’s in my own interests that you buy me the best roast duck you can possibly find on my last day (hopefully not soon) here’s an updated Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle. You might also find it useful when deciding where to eat the best dish Birmingham has to offer, triple roast rice 三燒飯, which includes crispy belly pork 火腩, char siu pork 叉燒 as well as roast duck 燒鴨.
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Mr Txuleta’s Txuleta

Do not adjust your set, deep crimson txuletas. Galician left, Basque Cider House right

There are food moments I’ll never forget. Eating at Asador Etxebarri in the rolling Basque hills between Bilbao and San Sebastian is one of them. Victor Arguinzoniz is a grilling genius, the menu is a masterpiece. Every ingredient the best the region has to offer, cooked simply over fire using pioneering instruments and techniques. The main part of the meal ended with a Galician beef chop, a txuleta (or chuleta in Spanish), perfectly charred on the outside and crimson rare inside.
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Birmingham Samosa Tasting

Love triangles

Love triangles

Every Brummie knows a good samosa when we eat one. They started to appear as office treats around the turn of the millennium. Asian colleagues would come in laden with boxes of meat or veg samosa and sometimes paneer spring rolls. Always warm, the smell filled the office, you’d be drooling into your keyboard whilst you wait for the “come get em!” email to ping into your inbox. Like a flash you’d have downed two, one meat one veg of course, it would be rude not too. So much better than cheap and nasty supermarket doughnuts or sweets.
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Duck Egg Noodles and Chilli Duck Ramen

Duck egg noodles

Homemade duck egg noodles

Ramen, at the moment it’s everybody’s favourite noodle. And why not? Cheap and delicious. An everyday Japanese dish with so much variation and endless refinement there’s something for every taste. For me, a bowl of Hakata style tonkotsu is my favourite ramen. Rich pork stock, marinated egg, sweetly soft slithers of chashu and of course those firm ramen noodles. You can get good tonkotsu in London now so I don’t have to go back to Kyushu for them. Though sadly Birmingham is still sorely lacking any, let alone good, ramen joints.
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Black Country Pork Pies

The main contenders Don Guest vs Walter Smith

Pork pies, Melton Mowbray and the East Midlands. When Brits go wobbly sentimental about native foods it’s to the village idyll for which they yearn. For some reason this style of pork pie has become dominant in the British food psyche. Really you should look to the grimy industry of the West Midlands to find the best examples of this traditional British food. To The Black Country you must go.
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2014 in Food

It’s that time of the year that food bloggers regale you with lists of dishes in restaurants or corners of the world you’ll never go to and if you like that sort of thing you’ll not be disappointed. I’ll be doing that later, read on. But first I want to describe my favourite home cooked dishes of 2014 because you know me, I like to cook nice things. It means we don’t have to schlep to France or India for canelé or curry, we can bring these places to our kitchens and have the joy of creating something delicious.
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Posh n Dirtiest

A culinary eclipse, the worlds of Street and Fine aligned in Moseley yesterday. Once a year its shadow casts magically onto beaming faces smeared with meat juices. Only this time, they claim it’s the finale of the “Meatshack takeover Carters” trilogy. I’ve heard of going out at the top but come-on guys we need more, demand more before you put this show into retirement.
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A Gluttons Guide to Goutmas

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Gout, ask anyone who’s had it they’ll all tell you it’s not funny. This time of year is a full-on trigger alert festival of everything that’s bad for it. High protein, offal, shellfish, booze, dark green veg, all the warning signals for an apocalyptic flareup. It’s why I like to call it Goutmas! But it’s such a great time for feasting, really the only time of year in this country that everyone can be a glutton for a week.
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UK Burger Battle

Burgercollage

The Beefy Boys ‘Butty Back’ vs The Flying Cows ‘The High Flyer’

It’s been coming, we’ve had competitive BBQ for a while now and individual rib and brisket events. Now it’s competitive burgers. Though we did have a burger round at Grillstock festival this year, that’s where I first met The Beefy Boys. Their burger beat ours (Backyard Brummies) into second place, depriving us of a chance to go to Las Vegas for the World Food Championship. How ‘World’ was it? Debatable, how global is the baseball World Series? Anyway The Beefy Boys did us proud by placing second overall in Las Vegas and actually winning a round. Must be great to take on the Americans at their own game and beating them!
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