In the interests of this blog, I shall give an honorable mention to poutine of Canada’s fame, which is Canadian chips, gravy, and cheese, but that is not what the article is about today. Today we discuss chips and gravy-like they get from a good old British takeaway!
It is often said that British Chinese food is very different from the Chinese food you get in China. This is certainly partially true, but this is also partly down to the fact that China is huge. I am massive. Therefore the Chinese food we tend to get in the UK is more influenced by the many people of Hong Kong/Guangdong origin that emigrated to the country.
Of course, the difference does not stop there, and like anywhere in the world local palates, tastes have also played their part.
Most Chinese restaurants in the UK tend to have a limited “British” menu, and one of the staples of this is chips and gravy.
I discovered said dish as it was one of the cheapest things you could get from the Chinese take-away, and they stayed open later than the chip shop I used to frequent. Usually whilst behaving like a juvenile delinquent. Again I digress.
The chips! The chips are not like usual English fish and chips, tend to thicker cut, and are more liked baked potatoes than chips (in my mind).
The gravy tastes a lot different from what we would usually serve on a British Sunday roast and is more Chinese in style, similar to the “gravy” they serve in Guangdong, and Hong Kong.
Said gravy is then lashed all over the potatoes and served in a metal container, like other Chinese dishes. You get a fork with it, but it is almost impossible to hold as it is pretty much hotter than the sun! But like anything, you get by and manage to eat it. It is freaking delicious!!!! My top tip? Add extra vinegar to your chips and gravy. Very sexy.
Are there any similar Chinese dishes?
I’ve seen “chips” or fries throughout the Chinese street food scene, even in Lhasa (where it was really good), but the closest in taste I have found is probably “toudo xiao nu rou” literally beef and potatoes. The gravy and texture of the potatoes are very reminiscent of good chips and gravy!
Another fusion food that is a must-try when you visit the UK!
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.