One of the things I love about London is that once you think you’ve explored the whole city, you discover something new. Minh, a Vietnamese restaurant humbly wedged between two stores, in East London’s Canning Town is my latest discovery and obsession. Ever since my first visit, I’ve been back and I still can’t get enough – and you can find out why.
Price Tag: £
Occasion: Casual date night, friends, family
Location: 390 Barking Rd, Plaistow, London E13 8AJ (Canning Town station)
This place is incredibly affordable! Appetisers start from £5 and mains £6 (yes £6), the main dishes are very generous, so you can share a starter between two people. Overall, I spent £13 for a starter, drink and appetiser.
I first ordered the Sweet Chilli chicken wings, Cay Ngot (£6.50), they also provide a spare rib version too. Overall, the skin had a lovely crispy texture, and the meat was tender. Additionally, the sweet chilli sauce was a perfect balance between the two flavours as it wasn’t too spicy or sweet.
Next, I ordered the Salt & Pepper Squid, Rang Muoi (£7.50). I love squid and I would definitely say this is one of my favourite battered squid dishes. The batter was crispy, light and seasoned well with salt and pepper. The texture of the squid was perfect, it was not overcooked, which usually leads to a rubbery texture – it was tender. I also enjoyed the onion and chilli garnish, the onions were crunchy and seasoned so this complemented the squid nicely. Additionally, the portion size was very generous so you can share between two people to save money.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, go for the Pak Choi (or Bok Choi) £6 which is a Chinese cabbage. Overall the flavour was great and not too overpowering, I just wish it was a little more crunchier and cooked for less time.
A good menu design is always key, and Minh does this fairly well. The menu has images of the dishes so you get a good idea of what you can expect, both portion wise and visually.
If you’re looking for a plain dish still full of flavour, then opt for the egg fried rice (£3.50). The rice was fluffy and firm just how the perfect fried rice should be. It was also well seasoned with salt and pepper, giving it a nice finish. The caramelised onions also gave it a lovely smoky finish.
I also ordered the mixed meat fried rice (£7), which is simply the egg fried rice with beef, prawns and chicken. Similar to the egg fried rice, the texture was fluffy and firm. It was also well seasoned and the prawns and meat were tender and not chewy in texture.
The food is very good, flavourful and affordable. I enjoyed the intimacy of this family owned restaurant, and the service was great – the staff are always so friendly and accommodating. Additionally, the food arrives fairly quickly.
Places like Minh are a reminder to take time to explore and get lost in any city you find yourself in. Gems like Minh tend to get overlooked due to visibility, so whilst it’s easier to spot the Shard or Heron Tower, it’s not so easy to spot a small restaurant tucked away. Therefore, once in a while get lost and see what your local area has to offer. Like Minh, you may be pleasantly surprised what you find if you look hard enough.