Peninsula Cheung Fun

Regular readers will know that I am prone to developing food obsessions – be it ingredients, whole cuisines, sushi (always), a restaurant, a wine, a whatever. This time round – its dim sum. I decided that I absolutely must learn more about dim sum, pronto. So, on Sunday morning a group of us (including Lizzie and Helen – my teaching volunteers), trekked down to Greenwich for a belly busting feast for five. I even skipped breakfast to make sure I was properly ready and hungry for my education and I hardly ever, ever miss a meal so you know I meant business.

It seemed that every aspect of our visit happened on a grand scale. The journey to North Greenwich was convoluted, the place itself is basically a massive open space dominated by crazy skyscraper structures, the Peninsula restaurant is also huge, accommodating a potential 400 covers and the dim sum, well – what was lacking in portion size was gained back tenfold in quantity. I’m just going to highlight the dishes I really enjoyed – because to blog the lot would leave us all rather fatigued I’m sure.

The first dish to reach our table was the jellyfish – exciting for me as I’d never tried it before. Definitely a ‘texture thing’, it has no real flavour of it’s own but comes doused in a mild yet delicious chilli sauce. The texture was kind of like eating rubber bands (I imagine), but in a nice way (honestly) and strangely addictive. It had me craving it today, the same way that I crave the octopus.

Yam Croquettes at Peninsula.

Next to arrive were these yam croquettes – again exciting because I’m really not sure I’ve eaten much yam before – of any kind. Strange considering you can barely walk to my local station without tripping over piles of them. The exterior was light and crunchy and the filling sweet and moreish.

For me, the highlight of the entire meal was the ‘fried dough stick cheung fun’ ( top photo). This was honestly the most delicious dim sum I have ever eaten;  soft and silky rice noodle roll with the sweet, fried dough stick within.

Turnip Cake at Peninsula.

I ticked another one off the ‘must-eat’ list with the turnip cake. I’ve been intrigued by this since I saw it on a few different blogs around Chinese new year and the fried slices had the exact pleasing stodgy texture inside that I had hoped for and a mild savoury taste with little surprise nuggets of bacon, shrimp and mushrooms. The cake, although delicious did highlight my insecurities about chopstick etiquette as it needed cutting into pieces for sharing and I only realised after the meal that there was a separate pair of chopsticks specifically for this purpose. I just hope I didn’t dive right in and greedily snatch anything.

Custard Tarts at Peninsula.

And finally, the custard tarts that I almost didn’t order – even thinking about that possibility now makes me breathe a sigh of relief. Quite different from the British version, that pastry was so very thin and flaky, like shortcrust but layered (the primary ingredient is lard, which explains why it tastes so good). This is filled with a wibbly wobbly bright yellow egg custard – I was forced to eat two. I have no idea whatsoever if these tarts were a good example of their kind but they tasted damn fine to me and I will certainly be ‘testing’ as many as possible, as soon as possible.

 So there’s my small selection of the many plates which just kept on coming – steamed tripe with ginger and spring onions, spare ribs in black bean sauce, coconut mousse, squid in satay sauce, beef balls with greens – I could go on. We hoovered up the whole lot rather excitedly if the mess on the table at the end was anything to go by. Come to think of it, the mess was mostly on my side but, like I say, my chopstick technique needs a little work. If I run with my newly acquired dim sum obsession though, I reckon I could be an expert by the end of the month.

Peninsula Restaurant
Holiday Inn Express
85 Bugsby’s Way
SE10 0GD
0208 269 1638

Peninsula on Urbanspoon

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  • Avatar
    Reply Jonathan March 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Great write up. The jellyfish dish still brings back shudders for me. But mainly because we were fooled into thinking they were onions!

    The ‘fried dough stick cheung fun’ looks brilliant. It’s one of my favourites as well.

    Can’t wait for the next dim sum trip. Anyone fancy going to Dragon Castle?

    Jonathans last blog post..Battered Creme Egg in Bruton

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    Reply Helen March 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    We should definitely go to Dragon Castle Jonathan – I’ve wanted to go there for AGES.

  • Avatar
    Reply Y March 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    How interesting, especially that fried dough with the noodles around it. I’ve never seen it served that way before. Just goes to show, you can go to hundreds of these places and still stumble across a new item of yum cha. All the more reason to make it a mission to visit all of them! 😉

    Ys last blog post..Recently, lamingtonrons

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    Reply nina March 31, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I was intrigued by the milk tarts….didn’t know that the Chines made these!!! A lovely meal….I must be honest though, I think I might also have missed out on the jelly fish!!!

    ninas last blog post..A Proudly South African "Hot dog" or Boerewors Roll

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    Reply johanna March 31, 2009 at 9:07 am

    that sounds like a regal feast! i would never have ventured into a holiday in for a chinese meal… but there you go, the real gems are hidden! i love my dim sum, too, but have so far only tried the west end haunts: yauatcha being my favourite so far, but i do pop into ping pong for a lunchtime snack occasionally. i’ve never seen turnip cakes or yam croquettes there, but i didn’t expect them to be fully authentic, rather cater for ignorant westerners like me ;-))

  • Avatar
    Reply Pete March 31, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for the write up Helen, I must try this one given we are not too far away. I would really urge you and any other South-East Londoners to try Hong Kong City, 43 New Cross Road, SE14 5DS. It is my personal London hidden gem, but up there with Royal China Bayswater in terms of quality but at a far better price. It also meets my criterion of being full of Chinese families on a Sunday lunchtime, normally a great yardstick for the quality of the food.

    I have to say I was hugely disappointed by Dragon City after going with high hopes. The food was average, the room lacked atmosphere, but on the plus side there were some interesting ‘specials’ which made a change from the usual repertoire of dim sum dishes I normally choose (most of which you cover in your post.)

    Petes last blog post..Evaluating the project

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    Reply Lizzie March 31, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Glad you liked it! My family often refer to jellyfish as ‘rubber bands’. I love the texture of it. Definitely up for a trip to Dragon Castle, I’ve heard lots of good things about it. Saaaf London must be the place for dim sum!

    Lizzies last blog post..Le Café Anglais

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    Reply Gourmet Chick March 31, 2009 at 9:31 am

    That fried dough looks fabulous. How fun to eat Chinese with expert guidance as well.

    Gourmet Chicks last blog post..Dollar Grills and Martinis

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    Reply Christie @ Fig & Cherry March 31, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’m obsessed with dim sum too! I could live on just dumplings for the rest of my life… (well, some of it!). Can’t wait to try out your recommendations when i get back there in a few months.

    Christie @ Fig & Cherrys last blog post..Fridgewatcher: satisfying my curiosity

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    Reply OysterCulture March 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Its hard not to be obsessed with dim sum. I’ve had the jelly fish before and was stumped at how to describe it but toothsome seems to be the right word along with chewing rubber bands. Once you dug it it was very tasty – my version had a chilli hot sauce on top and yours looks to have some chilli flakes thrown on for good measure. The fried dough sticks look wonderful and I think that might be one dim sum dish I have not tried, note to self. Thanks for sharing – wonderful write up.

    OysterCultures last blog post..The Best of Both Worlds (Citrus Part II)

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    Reply Mark March 31, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    sounds great. I hardly know anything about dim sum (sushi always gets me before I can choose anything else) but now I want to know more!! What a texture fiesta!

    Marks last blog post..If you had to…

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    Reply The Winesleuth March 31, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    yum! reading this post made me nostalgic for my years in Taiwan. How I remember those turnip cakes! And yams, I love yams. I’ve definitely got to get myself down there. Thanks for bringing this place to light!

  • Avatar
    Reply The Graphic Foodie April 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Had my first dim sum experience the other week at Ping Pong in Southwark.

    It was not my choosing as it was a big bithday get together but can anyone confim that Ping Pong is a McDonalds equivalent for dim sum because I didn’t think very much of it!

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..REVIEW: Marrocco’s Restaurant, Hove

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    Reply Helen April 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Graphic Foodie – Yup, it’s just a chain place. Like the McDonald’s of dim sum indeed. Not very good but alright if you are desperate every now and again!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jamie April 2, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Wow does this meal look fantastic! And a feast for five divided by only 3? My kind of feast! That dim sum does look so good.

    Jamies last blog post..RISOTTO QUEEN

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    Reply Helen April 2, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hi Jamie – There were five of us there – but I mentioned Lizzie and Helen specifically as they were giving me my dim sum lesson.

  • Avatar
    Reply The Graphic Foodie April 2, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Right-o, will power on with it!

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..Thai Monk cocktail at Blanch House, Brighton

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    Reply Nicisme April 2, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Looks interesting Helen, you do find some great places to go.

    Nicismes last blog post..Muesli giveaway!

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    Reply Lizzie April 2, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Whoa whoa whoa Pete – New Cross Road? I live on New Cross Road! I’ll have to get myself down there.

    Lizzies last blog post..Le Café Anglais

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    Reply Helen Yuet Ling Pang April 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Forced to eat two egg tarts?! You poor thing! Glad to hear you enjoyed dim sum. We’ll have to go to another restaurant soon, as I still have plenty on my list to get through.

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..Roka (Japanese) revisited – London, England (8.5/10)

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    Reply Jeanne April 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Great write-up – and only a couple of stops from home for me! I hit Chinatown with some friends a while back and had dim sum at a restaurant there (was it Golden Dragon? Or maybe I’m dreaming?) where I had the yam croquettes and turnip cakes for the first time – OMG I am in love with them both!! I think we need to do a London food blogger dim sum outing to Chinatown… Thanks – you have ME craving dim sum now!!

    Jeannes last blog post..Nectarine & ginger tarte tatin

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