Leong’s Legend, Chinatown, London
The Leong’s Legend is that it’s actually a half decent Taiwanese option in Chinatown. I get a bit bewildered whenever I’m in Chinatown and tasked with choosing a restaurant. Everything looks so samely, and everything is so samely for the most part. Leong’s Legend (currently) has one of the highest ratings for the places in the Chinatown area on Zomato. And that was enough to know for my reckoning.
The style of the restaurant is Taiwanese street food but that tale gets all convoluted when you assess the menu. There’s sashimi and sushi on the menu, and to be frank some pretty amateur, Hospitality 101-sounding dishes. For example, deep fried chicken with cheese served with fried rice shaped in a pyramid (£10.50). I don’t understand. But this is something that 12-year old me would have served right up. The other offensive menu item is a single XL soup dumpling (£4.50) served with a plastic straw for sucking up the said soup. This makes me confused and angry. Needless to say, I didn’t order these and was all the more better for it.
Yum cha yumminess
My friend Judy and I were having a mid-week catchup. Job hunting is a hunger-inducing business. The giant yellow banner outside Leong’s Legend isn’t a pseudo-political protest banner. It’s proclaiming 50% off on 39 star dishes on Mondays and Tuesdays. I don’t know what this means at all, but it sounds good. Unfortunately it was neither Monday nor Tuesday so not an offer for us to have had. There was a 10% off offer by paying with cash which we could take advantage of. Cha-ching.
As always, we were craving the xiao long bao and the one here at Leong’s has received good ratings. I was rather content. There’s a good level of soup and unlike the ones at Joy King Lau. It wasn’t a singe clump of meat.
On a roll
The other dish I was really craving was the fried dough rice roll. It sounds better in Cantonese, mind you. It’s a not dish a lot of people are aware of, but it’s often one of my favourites. It’s basically a roll of crispy deep fried savoury dough wrapped in a steamed rice roll. This one was only okay, but it wasn’t served with the right condiments. The ones back home come with the most delicious sesame sauce, and combined with hoisin, make for a most delicious meat-free bite. The roll itself was fine and could have become that with the magic ingredients.
Feeding the belly
The braised pork belly with rice (£7.50) was the first dish to arrive at our table, but it wasn’t the hottest. I’m talking temperature. This is decently good, the meat is tender and flavoured well with the soy braise. Worthy-sized chunks too. I also ordered the chicken rice parcels which were smaller than expected, but very satisfactory.
Overall, Leong’s Legend isn’t quite as good as some of the places back home in New Zealand and Melbourne. But for London, it’s some of the better Taiwanese/ Chinese cuisine that I’ve dined in. The prices are reasonable, the service is fast and there is a lot of choice. Just watch out for those pyramid-shaped dishes.