Yelly Eats

Eating Taiwan in London!

We’ve walked past this little place on Rupert Street in Chinatown that specialises in Taiwanese dishes so many times for ages, either on our way to another restaurant in Chinatown or on our way to Yolkin (the cutesy shop that sells macaroon ice cream sandwiches, also found on Rupert Street). We’ve always been curious about the food and how good the food was because there was always a queue of people. But we never really had the opportunity to try the food, because we were always going for a meal somewhere else. But thankfully, last Saturday provided an excellent opportunity to stand in the queue and chance it!

We waited in the queue for about 20 minutes and looked at the menu that was very helpfully next to us, by the shop window, next to where we were queuing. We ordered a few dishes to have individually and thoroughly enjoyed our choices! For our individual meals Alan had deep fried salt & pepper pork chop with rice (which was served with preserved greens and braised pork), I had a very generous bowl of Sichuan dan-dan noodles that had an extremely tasty peanut sauce and the right amount of heat and spice and Yuki had the Old Tree thin noodles soup with oysters which as deceptively small but was incredibly filling! We also ordered a side of Taiwanese style salt and pepper crispy squid which sooooooooo good! It had the right amount of plum favouring sprinkled on it too!

The space has maybe 20-30 seats but always seems packed to the rafters. So if you’re aiming to go and try the food, be prepared to wait a little. It’s a fairly good sign that a lot of their diners look Taiwanese, and that they all seem willing to wait in the cold for their chance to be seated. To me that means the food is good enough to queue and wait for, and it was a taste of home away from home.

I so wish I could’ve been to Taiwan, to try the restaurant food, and the street food and the fabulous snacks. However, I’m more than happy to trust the opinions of all the customers queuing up by OTDB. There is something infinitely comforting about the small space with the assortment of tables all crammed to maximise possible revenue. It reminded me of the little eateries (which we called carinderia in Filipino) which my friends and I used to go to to eat cheap but delicious food.

The food at OTDB is more than just cheap and cheerful though. It is yummy and ultimately comforting. I suppose to me it is such a comfort because the food traditions in Asia, especially around Southeast Asia are very similar to what their neighbours are eating. Also, everything is relatively…incestuous for a lack of a better word. Everyone has a version of a dish that is similar to something from another country.

Apart from the culturally similar flavours, I absolutely enjoyed the numbing heat of the Sichuan dan-dan noodles. I’ve had a couple of other versions of it, and I think this is, by far, my favourite version of the spicy stringed yumminess. I think the addition of the peanut flavour provides a different yumminess to the numbing heat of the noodles. My tolerance for spicy food has definitely waned a lot, because Alan and I stopped actually eating hot food. I’ve got a spicy new favourite now though…and I think I’m going to start eating a lot of spicy noodles again!

Yelly Eats

Craving Korean comfort food

Alan will be making feijoada tonight so that is an absolute treat and completely comforting.  But I find that because of the weather I am craving a lot of Asian food at the moment.  I am particularly wishing we lived in London so that I can order Korean food from Deliveroo!

I would love, at the moment, to be able to indulge in a large half soy half spicy platter of On The Bab’s yang yeum Korean fried chicken.

yang yeum fried chickenPairing that with their spicy pork buns

OTB Spicy pork buns…and just to be completely stuffed, I’d like to finish it with a warm and comforting bowl of bibimbap!

OTB Bibimbap


Yelly Eats


A few weeks back I finally started making kedgeree.  I remember seeing cooking shows in Manila talking about kedgeree.  The idea of a curried rice dish appealed to my very Filipino palate.  We have rice with everything.  Plus, in the shows, it looked like a very easy dish to do.  I never got around to making it.

So when Alan announced we should try to make kedgeree, I was excited.  I’d seen the Hairy Bikers and the Spice Men (Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh) do their versions and I always end up wishing I could try it myself.  So I searched for a relatively easy looking recipe.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work but I was hoping it would.

And it did!  And it was good!

KedgereeSo after making it once, I made notes, tried to remember what my thoughts were on improving the taste (mostly add more salt!).  I’ve done it a few more times but this time, I think I’m brave enough to share my version of how to make a quick and easy version of kedgeree.


  • 4 fillets of smoked haddock (can be just 2, I just like a lot of fish in my kedgeree)
  • 500ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used medium)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g basmati rice
  • 500ml water
  • 25g flat leave parsley, chopped finely
  • 25g coriander, chopped finely
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, quartered (optional)


  • In a saucepan, heat up 500ml of water and add bay leaves.  When the water starts simmering, add smoked haddock fillets.  Allow the water to come to a boil and turn down the heat to medium and allow the haddock to poach until it turns a light colour.  Poach for 10 minutes.
  • Once the haddock has poached, drain water and allow the fish to cool.  Once cool to touch, peel off the skin and flake the fish into large flakes.
  • In a pan, heat up the vegetable oil and add the onions.  Allow onions to become translucent and slightly brown around the edges on medium heat.  Add curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and dried coriander and heat until spices become aromatic.  Add the lemon juice to form a paste.
  • Add rice and mix until the rice grains are coated with the spice-lemon paste.

Rice and spice!

  • Add salt to spice and rice mixture.  Mix until everything is well-incorporated.  Pour 500ml of water and mix slightly.  Cover pan and allow water to boil.  Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow rice to cook and absorb the water.  Cook covered for 10 minutes on low.
  • Once rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed, stir in flaked fish and chopped parsley and coriander.
  • Top with hard boiled eggs and serve.

Kedgeree my wayMy recipe has a bit more spice, a bit more salt.  But that’s to my taste.  Feel free to customise to your taste.  If you try the recipe, I’d love to know how you get on!  I have fallen completely in love with this beautifully spiced rice comfort dish.

This recipe will serve a greedy 4 or 6 average eaters.

Yelly Writes

Of passports and celebrity sightings

I am now officially eligible to apply for British citizenship…but I am a proud carrier of a Philippine passport.  I am planning on applying for UK citizenship though, if only for the ease that it presents when I do intend to travel to parts unknown because apparently you get visa-free access to 173 countries with a UK passport!  Not that I’m a traveler but it would be good to take be able to take advantage of travel deals, to have the convenience of going on a mini-break to almost anywhere, if and when I can.

But until then, I shall have to renew my Philippine passport every 5 years.

I went to London today to renew my Philippine passport because my passport expires in June this year.  I came armed with my tablet so that I could read my ebooks or work on work emails while I waited.  Because there would be a wait.  One thing that hasn’t changed much is the waiting in line in Philippine government institutions.  The Philippine embassy in London isn’t any different.  But as soon as I stepped through the double doors of the Philippine embassy in London on Suffolk Street it felt like being back home.  You could hear conversations in Filipino and for some reason there was an aroma of steamed rice wafting all over the embassy!

I like to come prepared and I like to make sure that I prepare for every possibility (or at least, I like to think so!).  Before I left for the embassy, I made sure I read and reread the instructions for passport renewal.  Also, if you are applying to renew your passport, if you can, I suggest you print a copy of the application forms because, whilst there are forms that you can fill out at the embassy, it makes things move along quicker if you have all your forms filled out, your money ready, and your passport and other supporting documents available and in order according to the numbering on the forms.

You get to the embassy and take a name from the number thingmebob and wait for your number to be called.  It was a bit of a wait because not everyone came with the right documents, or they didn’t have photos or they didn’t fill out the forms right, or they didn’t have the right forms.  I guess, after filling out forms for my UK residency (there were pages and pages) I learned to prepare and pay attention to detail.  Am not trying to say anything bad about my countrymen at all.  I’m sure anyone who worked in an environment where I worked would make sure all the boxes that needed ticking would be ticked and all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.

It took all of 5 minutes to submit my documents, get them inspected and me to make the payment.  Then I was sent upstairs to wait to get my photo taken.  They call you when your passport is ready for pick up so I had the rest of the day to spend in London.

I was horribly hungry so I went to my new favourite place to eat:  Tokyo Diner in Chinatown.  It’s a brilliant little space on the corner of Newport Street.  The food is tasty and authentic and you get a small serving of Japanese rice crackers and bottomless genmaicha (brown rice tea) on the house.  They don’t accept tips, by the way and prefer that you pay in cash.  (They also give you extra rice if you ask for it…as much rice as you can manage!).

Tokyo DinerI ordered a tamago don from the lunch specials menu and waited for my food to arrive.  And when it did, it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Tamago DonI did my usual people watching and noticed this beautiful and familiar blonde sitting in the corner of the restaurant.  I thought she looked like Myanna Buring from Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  At one point, she moved to the table next to me.  I noticed her looking at my food and when she ordered, she placed an order for the tamago don lunch special as well!  I was certain she was Edna Braithwaite from Downton Abbey.  I even did the creepy thing of taking a sneaky snapshot!

Myanna BuringI sent her a message on Twitter to ask.  And she confirmed that she was indeed Myanna Buring and that I should’ve said hi.  Ah well!  I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be me-time.  One never knows whether you can interrupt celebrities these days.

TweetMyannaBuringAnd the celebrity sightings didn’t stop there.  After having my late lunch, I headed back to Liverpool Street.  I was early but all I had to do was hang around Liverpool Street Station for the direct to Harwich Town train that left 16:44.

London Liverpool StreetI went to WH Smith to get myself a free drink (thank you O2 Priority!) and as I was walking back to the main central area of the station I heard a girl giggle heartily and the sound made me smile so I turned to look at where the sound was coming from.  It was from a very pretty Filipina-looking girl in a black turtle neck paired with black palazzo trousers and chatting to someone animatedly on her phone.  My jaw dropped.  Two celebrity sightings in one day?  I had to say hello to a fellow Filipino and one of the prettiest faces in country.  So I turned on my heel and went to say hello to Dominique Cojuangco (Gretchen Barretto’s only child).  Then I started to doubt myself.  I may have just imagined that the girl was who she was.  Also, I didn’t really want to act all stalkerish.  Everyone deserves their alone time and I thought most celebrities enjoy time where they can be themselves and have time to their thoughts.

I did the usual and sent her a tweet and she did say that it her and I should’ve said hi.

TweetDBCojuangcoAh well!  Next time, maybe?


Yelly Eats

Finally Kedgeree!

I love curry and Alan has introduced me to the fragrantly delicious world of Indian food.  After trying lamb biryani for the very first time, I have never looked back.

Even when I was in the Philippines, I would hear about kedgeree.  How it was nice and comforting.  But I was never really brave enough to try to cook it.  In the Philippines, it was because I didn’t have smoked haddock readily available.  In England, it was because I thought kedgeree was difficult to make.

So a couple of weekends ago, I told myself it was time to bite the bullet and make kedgeree. I used a recipe that looked simple enough, from the BBC Good Food website.  I took a deep breath and added the ingredients to my shopping list and took the plunge!

And, oh boy, was it GOOOOOOOD!!!

I don’t know why I thought it was difficult.  It was so similar to cooking a paella which is something I can do with my eyes closed.

Kedgeree prepIt may have a few stages more than my favoured paella but it was similar and it was equally as comforting!

KedgereeIf you’d like to have a go, John Torode’s recipe is the best to start with!  Enjoy!

Yelly Eats

Beseder the Bell and Brisket!

When I was little, my father talked about salt beef and chicken soup all the time.  He always waxed poetic about how life was in kibbutz that he stayed in.  He studied in Israel and loved his time there, eventually converting to Judaism.  Most of the memories that I remember him sharing with us while we were growing up was about the food that he ate.

I am more partial to chicken, but will eat beef, occasionally.  But I do love salt beef.  Especially when it’s done right.  We met the lovely Bel Shapiro of The Bell and Brisket, oh maybe, three years ago, at the Brewer Street Market (I think it was in the Brewer Street parking building).  Her salt beef is beautiful and delicious and yummy and succulent and flavourful…I could go on.  I am such a fan.  But this fan hasn’t been able to have a salt beef fix in a very long time.  That salt beef desert ended last Friday though.

I got a “naked” Old Timer from The Bell and Brisket (sans any carbs) so I could enjoy the lovely salt beef in all its deliciousness, only adorned with horseradish and mustard and complimented by pickled gherkins and beets and it was beseder!  Well, not just good.  It was AMAZING!

Old Timer


Yelly Eats

Spinach and bacon quiche

It’s quite the wintry day today and I couldn’t really be bothered to cook anything too complicated for lunch.  Hence the quiche.  I could, in theory, make my own puff pastry.  But the whole point of making a quiche this afternoon was that it was going to be quick and comforting.

This has been quite successful so I’m quite happy to share it.

Spinach and bacon


  • 320g shop bought puff pastry sheet
  • 260g spinach
  • 250g bacon (about 6-8 rashers)
  • 1 medium sized onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and minced finely
  • 150ml single cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or 10g butter)
  • 100g grated mature cheddar (or Monterey Jack)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Unroll pastry and lay over a 25cm loosed based round flan tin.  Once the flan tin is lined, put back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  3. In a sautee pan, heat up olive oil and add minced onions and sautee.  Once onions turn transluscent, add garlic.  Stirfry the garlic and add the bacon. Once bacon is golden brown, add the spinach and cover to wilt the spinach.  This should take about 2 minutes.  Once spinach is wilted, give the mixture a gentle stir.  Put the lid back, take of the hob and set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl beat eggs well and add single cream. Spoon 1/3 of the spinach and bacon mixture into the cream and egg mixture to temper the eggs.  Mix well and then add the rest of the spinach mixture.
  5. Bring out the pastry-lined flan tin and fill the pastry with the spinach-milk and egg mixture.  Top with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
  7. TIP:  To avoid the now infamous “soggy bottom” and because you are putting in quite a liquid mixture and a soggy bottom is almost inevitable, I find that putting in a baking sheet in the oven while it’s preheating will help the soggy bottom from not being too soggy.  Once you’re ready to bake the quiche, just slight the flan tin onto the baking sheet.
Yelly Eats

Comfort food for dindins

It’s been quite the tough week, this week.  I’ve got a lot on my plate in terms of the day job.  So it was fitting that today, of all days, I cooked adobo for dinner.   Nothing fancy.  Just adobo, rice and braised sliced greens in a bowl.  I had prepped the adobo earlier and it had been marinating for a few days in the freezer.  I brought it down a couple of days ago so that it could thaw in the fridge until I decided to cook it.  There is nothing better than making a dish that reminds you of home when you’ve had a relatively rough day.



Yelly Eats

Chicken Licken

I love chicken.  I love it fried, braised, barbecued, stewed, roasted.  Chances are as long as it’s chicken, I will eat it and I will love it.  I could probably eat chicken all year without complaining.  You could probably say I am slightly pollo loco!

I’m lucky that most of the fast food restaurants in the Philippines serve chicken.  While it may sound weird to some people, chicken is almost always served with rice and some sort of gravy or sauce.  But most places that serve fried chicken will almost always have mashed potato and gravy on the menu as a side.  It probably seems very American but there you go.  Fried chicken and mashed potato in gravy is, in my opinion, a match made in fried chicken heaven!

When I lived in Atlanta for a while, my love for Southern fried chicken grew.  Chicken in the South was so much better than KFC (and don’t get me wrong, KFC in the South seems to be even better than the usual, but that may just be me!) and the mashed potato was even more amazing than the mashed potato that you got in those little styrofoam tubs that you got from fast food restaurants.  I was in chicken heaven.  Every single element of southern fried chicken made me smile: from the crispy fried chicken batter to the juicy chicken pieces!  To borrow KFC’s slogan, PROPER southern fried chicken was of the finger-lickin’ good variety.

I moved to England nearly 4 years ago and I think I spent nearly that much time looking for great fried chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, the various southern fried chicken take away places do have their merits, particularly the ones near us.  They’re okay, not amazing, but okay if I needed a fried chicken fix.  But obviously, it was chicken and chips (I used to call them fries) and not chicken and mash…and I almost always had to make my own gravy.  No one seemed to think that mashed potato and gravy was a good flavour combination.  I even went to my old standby KFC, expecting to see the same things on the menu but boy, was I disappointed!  There was no mashed potato and there was no gravy and the chicken wasn’t as good as I thought it was.  And so began my quest for the perfect southern fried chicken.

I’ve bought chicken from lots of places, from different supermarkets, had meals in a lot of restaurants but I’ve never really found the kind of chicken that I really enjoyed: crispy, flavourful batter, slightly salty and juicy chicken.  Until that fateful day in July.  Alan had read about Roost who served chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.  And not just any chicken, it was chicken marinated in buttermilk, battered and fried!  It was proper southern fried chicken, the way southern fried chicken is supposed to be made!  Or at least that’s what it said it was.  After looking for nearly 4 years, I think you wouldn’t blame me for being slight skeptical.

We made our way to the Dalston location Friday after work where that week’s Street Feast London was happening and ordered a serving: 2 pieces of buttermilk chicken with gravy and mash.  I was prepared to be disappointed.  But as I stabbed my fork into that crispy batter, the crackle that I heard calmed my doubtful heart.  Batter that sounded like that had to be some sort of good!  And bite of juicy chicken with a little bit of batter made me smile.  It was SO good!  The next bite had to be a fork-full of chicken, batter, mashed potato and gravy had me closing my eyes in absolute enjoyment.  I’m salivating while thinking back to that first mouthful of chicken-mash-gravy.  The chicken was perfect and the mash was creamy-buttery.  I made the decision to share a 2-piece chicken meal with Alan (yes, I have been known to demolish a 2-piece chicken meal with gravy and rice in the Philippines!) because we were at Street Feast LDN and there were other food places to try (and, if I’m honest, because I had prepared for disappointment, I didn’t want to have too much of the chicken left over if I didn’t like it!  I am, apparently, a fussy eater!).  But as we walked away from that parking lot in Dalston, I was thinking about the chicken.  I wanted to turn around and order another chicken with gravy and mash to take back with me!  It was THAT good!

We had our next taste of chicken when Eat Street was at Exhibition Road 2 weeks later (a little thing called the Olympics had descended on London).  This time we each had a 2-piece meal, absolutely no sharing!  And I’m very glad to report that the chicken and gravy and mash were as perfect as I remember.

If you’re ever in London and in a street food market, and you spy the Roost truck, run, don’t walk, to it and ask for a 2-piece chicken meal with gravy and mash as a side.  You won’t regret it!  To find out where Roost are, follow them on Twitter.  They are @weareroost.

I cannot wait until the next Roost fix!