Local resident Celia Thaysen shares her favourite Asian restaurants and supermarkets in Shepherd's Bush.
Good food makes me happy. It can be the difference between an average day, an amazing day, and a salty mood. During lockdown, I craved comforting and soothing dishes that reminded me of safer, more secure times. For me, growing up with my Hong Kong Chinese parents, that involved turning to my childhood favourites of dim sum, Cantonese takeout, dumplings and noodles.
Seafood dim sum
Luckily, we have a fantastic selection of Chinese restaurants, takeaways and grocery stores right on our doorsteps in Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush. Now more than ever, we need to support our many excellent local eateries and shops as they re-open their doors to customers. And with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in full swing as of this week, you can bag yourself discounts if you're eating out from Monday to Wednesday in the borough.
At the height of lockdown, I’d make regular pilgrimages to Thai Smile on King Street, an Aladdin’s bazaar of East Asian and South East Asian foodie staples and treasures. It was here that I ventured out to buy my precious ramen, frozen dumplings, fresh tofu and rice noodles, spices, Japanese ponzu dressing, and Korean gochuchuang chilli paste. When I tired of baking banana bread or yet another variation of pasta and sauce, Thai Smile provided the ingredients so I could try my hand at making dim sum, rice rolls, and baos.
People are understandably tentative about this return to normal and some may not want to make the journey into central London, but with so many great local dining spots, Chinatown isn’t the only option. Shikumen is a diamond in the rough, hiding in plain sight on Shepherd’s Bush Green, a few steps from the Empire. Inside, it’s reminiscent of the beautiful traditional townhouses of Old Shanghai: spacious, elegant and discreet. Who needs the glitz of Mayfair’s Hakkasan or Yauatcha when you can experience Shanghainese culinary refinement so close to home! Their Peking duck is their signature dish and is a thing of beauty. Glossy slices of tender duck carved at your table, that you can wrap in pancakes with cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce. My personal favourite is their xiao long bao soup dumplings, delicately steamed parcels filled with fragrant pork and broth.
Sliced duck breast
Shikumen is available for delivery and has reopened its doors for dine in customers. You’ll need to make an advance reservation and you can even book one of their private dining rooms. Shikumen is offering all HF Circles readers a 10% discount on presentation of this article.
Shepherd’s Bush is also home to Ho-Ja, a Taiwanese street food restaurant, popular for its chicken popcorn and bubble tea. As we headed into lockdown in late March, Ho-Ja expanded its onsite minimart into an online supermarket, delivering fresh fruit and veg boxes as well as a variety of Taiwanese staples and snacks. Ho-Ja has also been playing its part to support the local community, making weekly donations to Ealing Foodbank, the local homeless shelter, delivering food to key workers and cooking school lunches for children in Willian Church Estate during May. Ho-Ja is now open for dine-in and NHS workers get 50% off all hot food.
When I don’t want to leave the comfort of home, I turn to Yum Sing on Goldhawk Road, especially for Cantonese specialties and dim sum. Having dabbled with other takeaways, Yum Sing has proven a family favourite offering consistently good quality, generous portions and value for money. Order direct or via JustEat and Deliveroo.
xiao long bao soup dumplings
Pre-lockdown, Tian Fu, on Bulwer Road next to Westfield, was often buzzing with a mix of hungry shoppers, Chinese families and local students. They have an extensive menu of Sichuanese dishes, with hotpot proving a popular choice. Tian Fu reopens for delivery and collection on 16th August. The smaller Muyang restaurant on Goldhawk Road serves similar fare, but with more of a focus on deliciously moreish cumin and garlic spiced BBQ skewers, hailing from the Xinjiang region. You can order online directly from their website. Other good local options now open for delivery are Weizi Prawn Hotpot, and Sanbao on King Street, offering homestyle cooking in a no-frills setting.
Whatever your budget, whether you want to eat out or at home, give one of these excellent local options a go.
Shikumen, Dorsett Hotel, 58 Shepherd’s Bush Green W12 8QE, 020 8749 9978
Ho-Ja, 39 Goldhawk Road W12 8QQ, 020 8746 7801
Thai Smile, 283-287 King Street W6 9NH
Tian Fu, 39 Bulwer Street W12 8AR, 020 8740 4546/ 020 8743
Yum Sing, 106 Goldhawk Road W12, 020 8743 3336
Muyang, 33 Goldhawk Road, W12 8QQ,
Weizi Prawn Hotpot, 236 Blythe Road W14 0HJ, 020 7602 2888
Sanbao, 188 King Street London W6 0RA, 020 8563 7882/ 020 8741 2428