No prizes for guessing who was amongst the first people we asked to join us in the market. When we moved down to Southwark, I spent several fruitless days wandering around the area looking for something cheap, tasty, filling and which would hit the spot as far as my spicy chilli, noodle and rice cravings were concerned. You can take the gal out of Malaysia but you can’t take Malaysia out of the gal.
Honestly… I wrote to my favourite eateries telling them about the lack of non-chain, hot food, Asian eateries in the area and sent them my research on foot fall, the type of competiton in the neighbourhood, the type of customers there would be (local offices and tourists from the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre etc), available A3 retail units nearby – that’s how desperate I was.
Imagine my delight and surprise then to see this unassuming sign, across the road from the Union Street Theatre, right on my way to work, yet tucked away and easy to miss…
Oooo… eyes open wide, I crossed the road oblivious of the traffic and sniffed the air tentatively. It was 9am, so not much was happening. I peered in expectantly as the little person in my head filed the place away for further inspection.
12:00 sharp I was out of the office and down the road… lovely curry spicy smells drifted on the breeze as I got nearer. There was a queue outside… good sign. As I went walked up I could see there were two stalls – one with pre-cooked steaming hot curries and stir fries, yellow chicken curry, tom kha gai, chicken with basil and cashew nuts, vegetarian green curry, salmon red curry. Mmmmm……… The formula is simple – you can have steamed or fried rice, or fried noodles, paired with any of the hot dishes.
On the side, a seemingly innocuous but oh so essential table of condiments – mind bogglingly hot sliced bird’s eye chillies in fish sauce (oh yeah, bring it on!)…
…chilli oil with dregs, sweet chilli sauce, crushed peanuts and lemon slices – so you can tailor your meal to your satisfaction. On the other stall, they cook fried noodles or rice to order from a menu of Thai favourites.
These are cooked to perfection – really well seasoned, noodles have just the right amount of bite (not too sloppy), and fried rice with a spicy kick. They use heaps of fresh vegetables, spices and herbs and it all tastes good, good, good. Nothing too fancy – just honest, tasty, cheap food like you would find in South East Asia, where workers, families, young and old can sit down for a great meal. As an added touch of loveliness, they give away free prawn crackers on Fridays but you have to get there early before they run out. What more could you want?
It turns out I wasn’t the only one who thinks Bangkok Kitchen is awesome, as the excellent She Simmers wrote about them here. A gem of a curry rice shop indeed…
I’m thrilled to be partnering with Bangkok Kitchen on this, our first South East Asian street food market. Farhen and Guitar, business partners of BK, have been so incredibly helpful – we’ve got off to a brilliant start. So, who next?