Sunday, February 1, 2009

Year of the Ox

Today was London's Lunar New Year celebration. It really was a big street party, with diverted buses, streets blocked to cars, performance stages and food vendors. The Irishman and I enjoy Chinese food with a vengeance, so we made it a point to visit the festivities and partake in some of the delicacies. First stop on my list was the secret Chinese bun bakery.

When friends Kat and DK visited in December, they introduced me to the wonder and delight of the Chinese bun. Shamefully, even though as a New York resident I was a regular visitor to it's Chinatown, I had never had a Chinese bun before Kat and DK decided to stop for a quick snack while we wandered through London's Chinatown. We inadvertently found one of the best hidden gems in London, The Golden Gate Bakery, full of bins of buns and sweet and savory Chinese street food. Golden Gate Bakery also makes birthday cakes, but those are irrelevant - if you go, you want a £1.30 traditional pork bun or go crazy and get DK's favorite, the chicken curry bun (also £1.30). He felt somewhat traitorous for liking it so much, as it is obviously an Indian curry bun; he justifies liking it so much because he thinks it exemplifies the culinary fusion of cultures that is so prevalent in London. I say, whatever - it tastes good.

So the Irishman and I wandered with the crowds through the Chinatown gates and made it to our bakery destination to pick up two pork buns and a good-luck almond cookie to share. After pulling over and devouring our treats, we continued down to Trafalgar Square to see the stage performances. Despite the arctic temperatures (-1 deg C!), it was a lovely start to the Year of the Ox.

Pictures of the festivities and our treats are here.

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