My recent invitation to sample the delights of Asia Asia in Birmingham’s China Town was met with great interest as I had already sampled some delicious noodles in the Teppanyaki eatery within the hall.
Asia Asia is set out over two floors and is home to: a ‘Drinks Bar’ where a variety of soft and alcoholic beverages are served. Zoo Sushi, Chongqing Noodles, TT Teppanyaki, Phat Duck, Pho Viet, Sakumen, Bangkok Cafe, Zoo Bubble and Afandim Uyghur Cuisine. Customers simply place the amount they wish to spend on a card which is then used as currency to pay for the dishes from each stall, if you have money left over at the end of your meal you can either leave on for the next time or refund the amount left on the card.
On this occasion myself and other guests were sat around a long table in preparation for an exquisite pan-Asian banquet.
You really do get an authentic feel of Asia here. There is a diverse mix of diners and the food all looks superb with the different aromas drifting through the food hall. It is a busy place.
There was so much to try and I managed as best I could, but many of these dishes are very filling and great value for money. To begin with I watched one of the chefs making his noodles, the precision and skill involved with twists and turns, spins and pummeling are really impressive to watch and it is all prepared fresh in front of you.
To begin I tried the Avocado Crisps with Prawn Salad. These were incredibly moreish and I wolfed down two. I don’t usually like avocado but this really had me wanting more.
The Stir Fry Beef with Black Pepper was rich and the beef succulent. This is something I would usually order and went down a treat. I noticed others enjoying this dish too.
The Potato Vermicelli in Casserole looked stunning. With prawns, crabs, fish balls, crab stick, coriander, chilli spring onion and an egg on top..
I forked out a large Steamed Dumpling which was had a soft doughy outer and a crunchy delicious pork and prawn filling. These were a fave. If I had space I would have tried a second but they were large portions.
The Potato Vermicelli in Casserole looked mouth watering. With prawns, crabs, fish balls, crab stick, coriander, chilli spring onion and an egg on top.. I have never seen anything like this and as there were many who wished to try I just had a taste and have to admit the flavours were stunning. Again this would be a big dish for one and for sea food lovers a perfect choice.
I wanted to get a taste of as much as possible I sampled the Cashew Nut Stir Fry which was equally as tasty. This contained mushroom, onion, carrots, sweet peppers, cashew nuts, dried chilli and some of the best tofu I have ever eaten.
Panang Curry did not disappoint, with an aromatic curry sauce, chillies, sweet peppers, lime leaves, coconut milk and chicken. This was an all round favourite and did not last long.
As I love any rice dishes, the Special Fried Rice was an easy choice. Prawns, chicken special sauce, prawn crackers and cucumber all mixed into a heavenly mini feast.
I had to try the Shanghai Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs too, these were shared widely and one of my favourite dishes as the pork was just so soft and juicy with the sweet and sour sauce, 10/10.
To finish, and for me star of the show, was the Chicken Okonomiyaki. This contained chicken, cabbage and eggs and some how the cabbage worked so well. Not what you would expect but I would opt for this again on a return visit, the flaky topping danced as it was served to the table in a really bizarre and impressive display – try it and you won’t be disappointed.
In all, a really enjoyable smorgasbord of pan-Asian cuisine from my new fave place in China Town. Pictures featured are from the event.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.