I adore Bang Bang Oriental, the South East Asian food court that arose from the cold ashes of Oriental City in Colindale, North London. When OC closed in 2008, it created a hole in my culinary heart that never healed… until the new and shiny Bang Bang Oriental opened it’s doors in July 2017.
If you’ve not visited, what should you expect?
In a cavernous hall on the first floor, 24 food vendors are arranged around the outer walls, and in their midst are tables and chairs that provide seating for over 400 visitors. Walk around, browse the stalls, order and make payment for your dish, and you’ll be given a buzzer. When it goes off, return to the counter to collect your dish, and take it back to your table to enjoy.
The beauty of a food court is that everyone in your group can enjoy something different, but eat together at one table. Currently, vendors represent Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines.
Since BBO opened 18 months ago, we’ve visited regularly, especially in recent months when we’ve stopped by at least once a week. Our visits are becoming a little bitter sweet, as we contemplate how far away it will be once Pete and I move out of London in a few weeks time. It’s no surprise to friends that we’ve chosen Bang Bang Oriental as the place to hold our farewell gathering!
In the time the food court has been open, most vendors have stayed the course, but a few have come and gone, with new stallholders quickly taking their place. Read on to learn which dishes we love and which stalls to buy them from!
What Are The Best Dishes To Order at Bang Bang Oriental?
Nasi Goreng from Coconut Tree (Malaysian)
Since the moment Bang Bang Oriental opened, Coconut Tree has been one of the most popular stalls, often with the longest queues to order. But it’s worth it for their high quality food, of which we’ve tried and enjoyed several dishes.
We most often order the Nasi Goreng, both the vegetarian version (which features a very realistic chicken substitute alongside a mix of veg, and comes with a crispy fried egg on top) and the meat and seafood one. It’s a simple dish, not too heavily spiced, though you can ask for chilli sauce on the side. We consider it the ultimate comfort food dish.
We can also recommend the curry laksa, chicken satay and some of the noodle dishes.
Oyakodon from Ichiban (Japanese)
Our favourite dish from Ichiban is a delicious, moist and soft oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice). We’ve also enjoyed their generously sized chicken katsu curry.
Dumplings from Xi Home (Chinese)
It’s a rare visit that I don’t order some dumplings from Xi Home. There’s a long list of options, with fillings including pork with chinese leaf, pork and king prawns with chives, pork with pickled chinese leaf, pork and mushroom, pork and green pepper, beef with spring onion or celery, lamb with spring onion, chicken with sweetcorn, chicken with mushroom…
But my favourite are the pork and chive dumplings. You can specify for the dumplings to be boiled or fried, as you prefer. Best of all, you can order a half portion of six instead of twelve, leaving plenty of room to enjoy other dishes on the same visit.
Xi Home also offer a variety of individual steamed buns, which are a great quick snack, and one that’s easy to eat if you need to grab something and eat on the run.
Bún Chả from Café La Viet (Vietnamese)
I love this classic dish of cold vermicelli noodles dressed in dipping sauce, topped with a huge pile of aromatic grilled pork (with the most glorious lemongrass notes), pickled carrots and radish, cucumber, roasted peanuts and coriander.
The Cha Gio (fried spring rolls) are also delicious.
Bulgogi Chicken from Janchi Korean Kitchen (Korean)
As I worked in New Malden aka Little Korea for over two years, I really came to love Korean food which I ate for lunch at least three times a week. Now I’m no longer based there, it’s nice to enjoy Korean flavours here instead.
Bulgogi (chicken or pork) is a fiery stir fry that packs plenty of flavour. There’s also some great Korean fried chicken, and a super spicy tteokbokki featuring fantastic chewy rice cake.
Beef, Chicken or Vegan Rendang from Makatcha (Indonesian)
Until I tried the food at Makatcha, I wasn’t so familiar with this wetter Indo-Malay style of rendang. Slow cooked, the meat falls apart, creating a sloppy, delicious curry served with rice, achar pickle and extra hot chilli sauce. Makatcha recently revised their menu and added a vegan rendang to their offering, which proved to be just as tasty as the two meat ones.
They also do wickedly delicious chicken wings in a black manis sauce and a tasty lemongrass chicken opor, another dreamily good creamy curry.
Pork and Aubergine from Longji (Hong Kong Chinese)
This is an outpost of a popular Hong Kong restaurant chain with branches in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and several cities in China. Their menu incorporates influences from Macau, Singapore and Korea into a broadly Chinese offering.
The dish we keep going back to here is minced pork with aubergine – note that there are two choices, the regular and the sambal version which is spicier and more pungent. Served with rice both are delicious and filling.
I’ve also enjoyed spare ribs from here, and the beef ho fun, wonderfully smoky with wok hei.
Salt and Pepper Fried Squid from Uncle Chilli (Sichuan Chinese)
Specialising in the punchy flavours of Sichuan, Uncle Chilli offers hearty, filling food full of flavour.
I’ve enjoyed a number of dishes here, including a chilled dish of thinly sliced pork with a fiery minced garlic sauce that was wonderful but my favourite is a simple heap of salt and pepper squid, floured and deep fried, then tossed in salt, pepper, garlic and green chilli. Tentacle heavy, it’s a delicious snack, and great to share with friends before you jump into mains.
Another winner is Uncle Chilli’s sliced black egg dish, served cold over tofu in a rich sauce. A friend ordered this during our most recent visit and it was very much enjoyed, plus it’s a really generous portion of century eggs for the price.
Beef Noodle Soup from Very Duck (Taiwanese Chinese)
This is a recent opening, and I think it might be from the same team as Uncle Chilli. Their USP is their hand-pulled noodles made on site, which you can enjoy in stir fries or noodle soups. The large bowl of aromatic beef stock with noodles, beef and vegetables was comforting, and a good choice if you’re looking for something soothing and with less spice. That said, they do offer a pungent chilli sauce to add heat, if you prefer, and you can also ask for fermented green vegetables as well.
Minced Pork and Green Beans from Little Thai Silk (Thai)
Neither Pete nor I can resist this classic dish of minced pork and green beans, served with rice and a fried egg. The heat level varies from very hot to eye-wateringly hot, but it’s always intensely flavoured and one of the dishes we’ve ordered most often.
Pete’s a big fan of the Spicy Crispy Beef too, far better balanced than the usual lurid, sweet red stuff that’s beloved of takeaway Chinese restaurants.
Red Braised Pork Belly from Bamboo Hut (Chinese)
The red braised belly pork is a thing of beauty – meaty, fatty and utterly satisfying. The portion is very generous, so this is not the dish to choose if you want to be able to try lots of dishes… unless you are really hungry!
Black Gold Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns from One 68 Dim Sum (Chinese)
Unsurprising, given it’s Royal China ownership, all the dim sum I’ve tried from One 68 has been decent. My recent favourite are these oh-so-pretty black and gold molten lava custard buns – steamed dough encasing a steaming hot and runny, sweet and salty, very eggy, custard. When I say hot, I really mean it, so be cautious when you bite in or you will burn your mouth!
Recently, a Japanese ramen stall closed down to be replaced with Man Kee, also owned and run by the same people. Their wontons in hot chilli sauce are excellent, though be warned, they made my lips sting and my eyes water!
Drinks at Bang Bang Oriental
Newest kid on the block is Tiger Sugar, another bubble tea outfit and their signature brown sugar drinks are fantastic. So far, all I’ve tried is the Tiger Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse, which consists of black tapioca pearls in a rich dark brown sugar syrup, with milk and a thick cream layer on top. Gorgeous!
Chatime offer classic Taiwanese bubble tea, with a range of drinks and different flavoured pearls. I often get a milk tea, hot or cold, with plain black tapioca pearls but there is a wide range of different drinks and flavours of pearls available.
Citropia Cafe specialise in smoothies, both with and without dairy, and fresh juices, but Pete’s a particular fan of their flat white coffee.
Café La Viet also offers a range of specialist drinks such including Vietnamese cold coffee.
Drinks vendor, The Pearl Lounge, sells soft and alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer. Note that several of the food vendors also sell soft drinks, so you can order these at the same time as your food.
Desserts at Bang Bang Oriental
Just across from the entrance to the food court is Wonderful Patisseries, which offers a great range of sweet and savoury pastries. Our favourites are their egg custard tarts, Hokkaido-style cheese tarts, and Japanese cheesecakes.
I an a sucker for Mango Sticky Rice from Little Thai Silk (which always transports me straight to Thailand).
Manila Kitchen offer a couple of Filipino desserts including plantain and taro jam turons (spring rolls) with ube (purple yam) ice cream.
Chatime also offer freshly made bubble-shaped egg waffles and ice cream.
Not always available, but sold in plastic boxes ready to takeaway when they are, look for traditional Kueh layered sweets from Hakka.
Are you a keen visitor to Bang Bang Oriental? Do let us know your recommended dishes below.
There’s so much we’ve still not tried! We often intend to order new (to us) dishes, but we can’t resist re-ordering our time-worn favourites!
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A map of the food hall stalls and most of their menus can be found on Bang Bang Oriental’s website.