In search of London’s best sandwich since sliced bread
Whilst on the hunt for this month’s Chinese sandwich, to commemorate Chinese New Year, we encountered skepticism and doubt amongst the hardcore foodies on Chowhound with people saying,
“What exactly is a Chinese sandwich? Can't say I've ever heard of it, let alone try it.”
“I've never seen a Chinese sandwich.”
“Unless you mean Vietnamese banh mi I'm confused.”At this point all optimism had drained from our veins and we’d started to think of terrible alternative themes such as “Valentine’s Day” sandwiches. And then we stumbled across a fantastic Taiwanese restaurant in Chinatown called Leong’s Legends,
“Leong's does something like this called Taiwanese kebap or similar it sounded deep.”
Our hearts filled with joy and all plans for romantic sandwiches were put back in their pink sparkly boxes. Just where they always belonged! The only worry was a nagging doubt that this Taiwanese steamed bun would fail the sandwich test. But any fears of this being a problem were dispelled,
“I'd say a bun is a sandwich as its bread with a filling!!! - Good luck :)”
With the sound of good luck ringing in our ears we made our way to Leong’s Legends amidst the buzz of the sensational Chinese New Year celebrations. It was very decent of Chinatown to lay on such a show for our humble sandwich experience.
To acclimatise ourselves we indulged in some excellent dim sum. Spicy beef and tripe followed by hundred year old egg with tofu got us in the mood. And then came our sandwich. It arrived, resplendent, proud of the fact that it’s the only Chinese sandwich in London*.
The steamed bread was spongy and light. Inside the pillowy starch was a blanket of ground peanuts on top of an eiderdown of green pickled cabbage. Pushing the sheets to one side was a slab of tender, unctuous pork belly that oozed what we’d call goodness and others would call fat. No need for mayonnaise or butter here. This meat is self basting. The Chinese are legendary for their pork belly. And rightly so.
We’ve been assured it’s possible to buy these sandwiches to take away at lunch time for around £2.50 which is remarkable value for London’s best Chinese sandwich. Plus, you can then slip across the road for a warm custard tart from the Chinese bakery. What we can’t guarantee is the carnival atmosphere we experienced during the CNY festivities.
Leong’s Legends, 4 Macclesfield Street, Chinatown, London, W1D 6AX
Tel: 020 7287 0288
*If you know of a better Chinese sandwich, let us know by leaving a comment.