It’s no longer news that London is now home to a huge Asian/oriental food hall. Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall houses 33 kiosks that features a variety of Far East cuisines, and a room that can accommodate 450 diners. In a nutshell, it’s a Asian cuisine only food court. Location-wise though, it’s not the most convenient. The nearest location is Colindale, which is in zone 4 of Northern Line, and still requires a 10-minute walk afterwards. But given my east Asian origins, I had to make the effort to check this place out.
For me personally, I have mixed reviews over this venue. The venue is absolutely massive. Apart from the main food hall, there are also shops and restaurants. As I stepped foot into the food hall, it’s as if I’m immediately being transported back to Asia. It’s apologetically loud, with a slightly run-down setting, thoroughly mimicking the east Asian style. There’s also a massive screen at the centre of the hall playing football matches (Asians follow the Premier League and Champions League too!).
Coming to food, there’s literally every east Asian cuisine available. Hong Kong, Shanghainese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino…you name it! A wave of excitement ran through me as I’ve never seen this amount of variety of east Asian cuisines all in one place.
Little Thai Silk Tom Yum Noodles
We’re full of anticipation for this one. However we started having our doubts when we first saw it. Tom Yum Soup is meant to be relatively clear with red spicy oil floating on top. This one looks rather rich, more orange than red, and resembles a laksa more. Here we chose the Seafood Tom Yum Noodle Soup. There is a fairly generous amount of rice noodles and toppings, including prawns, fried tofu, mushrooms, etc. Down to flavours, it wasn’t really spicy. It does have a tangy flavour but seemed to lack that hot & sour punch. It seemed to have added coconut milk in the soup but an authentic Tom Yum Soup shouldn’t have any in it. In overall it’s a tad underwhelming to the palate. It’s decent for a noodle soup but for a Tom Yum Soup it’s not up to par.
Perhaps their Pad Thai would be better?
Coconut Tree is probably the only halal stall in Bang Bang. Here we ordered the Hainan Chicken Rice, a Singaporean national dish. Traditionally, the chicken is chopped into pieces, topped with abundance of scallions, served with chicken oil rice, sliced cucumbers, chilli sauce, and a chicken soup on the side. It’s served in this particular way because you’d want to fully utilise the whole chicken. The chicken is first poached and the remaining stock will be turned into the soup. The skimmed fat in the stock from the poaching process is then used to make the rice, along with some garlic & ginger.
Judging by the looks of this one, it seemed fairly authentic. As for the taste of it, it was decent. It’s fragrant, with very tender meat. When I was young, I most look forward to the chicken oil rice, who doesn’t love something that’s tastier and fattier! Did this rice hit the spot for me? I’m afraid it missed the mark a bit. It has that fatty sensation but needed a more savoury touch to it. The rice was slightly too sticky to my liking as well. On the other hand, the broth was lovely and warming, and the chilli sauce was garlicky and not overwhelmingly spicy. In overall, it was okay with a slight hit and miss there.
Taiwanese Street Food
We didn’t order much from this one. We only ordered a portion of the Salt & Pepper Fried Tofu Cubes as a snack dish. I have always been a sucker for these when in Taiwan. Full of anticipation, I took a bite into it…and here’s my verdict. There’s a decent seasoning on the coating of the tofu. However, it’s not crispy enough. Moreover, the tofu hasn’t been marinated beforehand so it actually turned out very bland inside. Simply putting it together, it was a bit of a disappointment.
Wonder Bake Tarts
Tarts are quite a national staple to a few east Asian countries. For instance, Hong Kong style egg tarts, Macanese Pastel de Nata, Coconut Tarts etc. Wonder Bake brings some of these most popular tarts to Bang Bang Food Hall. We picked the Hong Kong style egg tarts, Macanese Portugese Egg Tarts (pastel de nata), Cheese Tart, and a Pandan Egg Tart. Out of the four, the most memorable one was the Cheese Tart. Cheese Tarts have gained popularity across east Asia in recent years. I never managed to brace the horrendously long queues the last time I was in Asia (that was when it first got popular as well), so I don’t really have anything to use as a benchmark. In my opinion, it was dencent. It highly resembles a cheesecake. However it’s denser than I expected and turned out comparatively heavier.
The other tarts were merely mediocre. I would expect some exceptional ones here at Bang Bang but I’m wrong apparently. One major thing that bugged us is that the pastry crust was too dense. We actually ended up scooping out the remaining fillings and left the pastry out. The fillings were decent but nothing particularly impressive. The one I most looked forward to was the Pandan Egg Tart. I was intrigued by the combination of Cantonese and Indonesian flavours. However, it pretty much tasted just like the regular Hong Kong style egg tarts. There wasn’t much pandan flavour in there apart from tainting it green. It simply tasted less eggy and perhaps just a tiny bit lighter, but that’s pretty much it.
ChaTime Bubble Tea
Last but not least, we washed every down with a cup of bubble tea from ChaTime. If you’ve been following, I always order the regular bubble milk tea with less sugar – less is more and original is best. ChaTime has already established its reputation internationally so you couldn’t go wrong with it.
To sum up, I think Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall is a pretty unique spot but it’s more gimmick over actual quality. The venue is amazing and reflects a lot of the Asian vibes. However, the food wasn’t particularly impressive and it was slightly disappointing given the high expectations it’s been giving to everyone. I know many people disagree with me about Bang Bang as in a lot think the food’s amazing etc – perhaps it’s only because we’ve ordered the wrong food items? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions!
Nearest Underground station: Colindale