Lunch at Ping Pong, London

Hannah and I went to meet her sister, Anita, for lunch. For ages we couldn’t decide what we felt like eating. After about an hour of contemplation, hunger just got too much and we ended up with Ping Pong, which is a chain for a decent Chinese. We slipped in for a table just in time before the lunchtime crowds gushed in, and there was a massive line that we smugly watched from our table.

For the menu, you’re given a little checklist where you tick what you want. If you want more than 1 of one dish, you just write the number in the box. 4 -5 dishes are usually recommended per person.

They even have set menus at the back if you have no idea what to go for.

You can also get your own tailor-made!

Thankfully, I know my Asian food. And I know it well. As is very common in the UK, most of it is westernised Asian food, but I’m still good with that as there’s a lot of my classic favourites still on the list, as well as some other interesting items that you wouldn’t usually find at a proper Chinese!

They also have a very well stocked bar.

However, after the scanning the menu, I couldn’t resist the lychee and ginger iced tea, which was fresh ginger slices shaken with lychee juice and jasmine iced tea. God, I never thought I’d see the day that I would be ordering ginger. I’m becoming more like my mother every day. Actually, fingers crossed – it’s a good thing cause that means I’ll be a hot mama when I’m her age!

Anita ordered a green tea, which came in the coolest insulated glass and a little packed that was held up with a skewer.

Hot water was then poured through the packet. The glass kept it hot for absolutely ages.

The first dish that arrived was the Roast Pork Puff, which was deliciously sweet and so so good.

We ordered the Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling with Spicy Mango Sauce, as well as the Beef Gyoza Dumpling with Chinkiang Vinegar and Ginger.

The Spinach and Mushroom was good…

But the Beef Gyoza was GREAT. It was basically a beef meatball in a grilled dumpling. How could anyone not enjoy that?

After a wait that was longer than our starving tummies would have liked, our leaning tower of dim sum arrived.

We ordered a range of different things – a selection of different dim sums, char siu bao and some broccoli.

The dim sum was good. Not the most fantastic I’ve had (although it’s unfair to compare to Asia), but good dim sum for a chain restaurant. Enough to satisfy your dim sum cravings!

I also love a good char siu bao. For my uncultured white friends that don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, it’s a steamed pork bun. And it’s pretty damn delicious.

The edamame was dusted lightly with salt and pepper, and edamame is always generally a pretty good call.

I actually really enjoyed the king prawn and scallop sticky rice, wrapped up in bamboo leaves.

The prawn and scallop was inside the little pouch of rice.

The service was unfortunately abnormally slow. It was busy, but Chinese food is never that slow. Anita out of the numerous times she’s been here, it’s never been that slow, so hopefully it was just a one-off bad experience. Eventually, after speaking to the staff, her last dish arrived – the Mixed Vegetable Spring Roll.

I was pretty full, but I kept seeing different tables of people order the same thing, and FOMO (fear of missing out) struck hard, so I had to order it. I pointed at it to the waiter, but he brought me something slightly different – the Duck Spring Roll with Hoi Sin Sauce. It was alright, but I prefer duck pancakes not in a fried roll!

I told the waiter (who was very, very nice) that he’d gotten me the wrong one, and he came back with the Wu Xiang Lamb Spring Roll with Wu Xiang Sauce. This was one of the dishes that I’d never tried at a Chinese before – it was like minced Lebanese lamb but with an Asian twist. I really enjoyed it, but I was really full now, especially since I had to wait ages!

It was gushing with rain outside, and the music had started pumping in the restaurant. The bar looked so tempting, and with the small plates flowing out, I could have easily stayed there all afternoon. However, after our little complaint of how slow the service was being, it would have been a little awks, so we battled through the rain!

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