Saturday, January 06, 2007


To further play catch-up on my trip to London, I will write a little bit about a very good Chinese restaurant that we dined at. Charles and Kevin knew that I wanted to eat in London's miniscule Chinatown at least once, so they took me to this great place called Aroma. It's squooshed inside, like many of the Chinatown establishments, but we got a cozy table in the middle of the jam-packed, brightly-lit dining area.

Like several of the restaurants I ate at in London, Aroma was several tightly-squeezed stories, with bathrooms downstairs and a cooking area on the bottom floor. Apparently there was some dish-washing room on the top floor because I saw a few used plates going up in that direction. Apparently, Aroma is a "mini-chain," with two buildings throughout the city. Many are overpriced, and though I wouldn't call this cheap (what is cheap to an American in London, what with the value of the dollar being what it is?), it is cheap compared to many of the places you could eat at. True, there are some truly rock-bottom places - all you can eat buffets for a mere £4.50, but these are, um, probably not the best places to eat. But the guys liked Aroma, and I was happy to go on their recommendation.

We started with a starter (appetizer), a duck with rice pancakes. The waitress brought half a whole roasted duck, some cuke sticks and thin strips of spring onion, and a plate of covered-up thin rice pancakes. It was like a Chinese fajita of sorts. Before we could do anything, she took fork and knife and quickly made work of that duck! She pulled that meat apart like wrapping paper through a shredder! It was so cool to see her rip the meat from the bone the way she did, and she made short work of it, too - a mere one or two minutes after she started, we were eating shredded duck fajitas and tacos (sorry, the best analogy I know). This appetizer was about £13, but my friends said it was on them, so who was I to object?

It was all so good, and so filling that we hardly had room for our main course. Kevin and Charles ordered chicken dishes with chicken fried rice, which looked and smelled wonderful. I got an amazing duck in plum sauce (yes, more duck, I know), with plain old egg fried rice. The sauce was so rich and delicious, and the duck came in a dessert-bowl-sized mound of meat and plum sauce. I ate this alternately with the rice, and it was quite satisfying. But I labored to finish this dish, of all about £6.40 for the duck plus £2.50 for the rice, because of all the duck I had already eaten before!

Oh, I just found out a co-worker of mine is going this August to visit a Jamaican friend who lives there, so I have a use for my travel guides now! Maybe I will have to follow her there when she goes. If I do, I may reserve my restaurant visits for other places I haven't tried yet. But if I can, I think I will find a path back to here, or at least recommend it to my coworker. And you, if you find yourself in London at some point! Otherwise, I will just head to the Jasmine Asian Bistro in Towson, which is not exclusively Chinese, and doesn't please everybody, but is tasty nonetheless. Try their Thai bento box!

I have no idea who these people are, but I thought it would make for a good photo.