I must apologise, I have been away for a while. Mostly, I have been eating and drinking in Barcelona. A nice long blog with lovely photos to come all about that, I promise.

In the meanwhile, this post is dedicated to dumplings, booze and my darling friend Sinead.  I love eating with Sinead; together we go to the edge of gluttony and beyond – sod the bill and calories and everything else. Every dish we consume together is thought about, discussed and then wolfed. She was the first person I met who I could fully share my obsessive love of food with – from oysters to mini chicken kievs – we share a passion for that YUM factor. I miss not living on the same corridor as her.

When we decided to meet in Chinatown, I knew I had to take her to Fushia Dunlop’s resturant; Ba Shan.  I was looking for an excuse to go after a delightful dumpling feast there with Paul many months ago.

Sinead and I surpassed ourselves: gobbling down a dizzying array of Chinese small bites and traditional street food. We talked about flavours, we dipped in chilli oil, we downed tsingtao beer, we had a Sichuan pepper-eating contest – I think we drew at 3 in one go each. (For those not acquainted with the Sichuan Pepper; they are devilish little peppercorns that are both hot and cold, numbing your mouth in an addictively painful tingle).

Neither of us cared much for the other people dining, as we giggled, shouted and (accidently) threw food all over the floor. We both finished the meal with a loud, proud burp. I’m sure I remember being told in China that eating nosily and belching were considered good manners – a sign that you enjoyed your meal and a compliment to your host. I think we displayed the best manners Ba Shan has ever seen.

 Here are a few of the dishes we sampled. The photos are terrible I’m afraid;

 

Chinese Burgers

Chinese Burgers; little greasy pockets of slow cooked pork and pickles

Pot-stickers dumplings. Chicken and chive finger shaped finger food.

Pot-stickers dumplings. Chicken and water chesnut stuffed into crispy dumplings; finger shaped finger food.

 

Pork and chive dumpling, with chilli and garlic sauce. Oh, sweet dumpling joy.

Pork and chive dumpling, with chilli and garlic sauce. Oh, sweet dumpling joy.

 

Dan Dan Noodles, and in the background garlicky chilli aubergine with minced pork. Sloppy spicey meaty goodness.

Dan Dan Noodles, and in the background garlicky chilli aubergine with minced pork. Sloppy spicey meaty goodness.

 

As you see with this photographic evidence we really put some food away.  What the photos don’t show is the mini sweet and sour pork ribs, the spicy pickled cucumbers, the deep fried king prawns, the extra round of dumplings and the bright blue jug of cocktails that finished the night.

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