Wednesday 12 April 2017

Boxpark - Chilango

Boxpark - Chilango
As my time working in Croydon is coming to an end, given my love of Mexican food, I thought it would be wrong not to pay Chilango a visit.  That said, this was my second visit, albeit this time I was eating, last visit a few months back, having stood at the counter for some time and been ignored by the 3 woman behind the counter who were too busy talking to each other, I ended up walking out!  To be honest, I wouldn’t have gone back after that  but the girls in the office were raving about it so I thought I should give it one more go.

My friend and I popped in just after 12 today, given that it was the start of lunchtime I was a bit surprised that we had to wait whilst they were cooking more chicken, but hey, they have a good sized seating area and we weren’t in too much of a rush so it was no biggy.  When the chicken was cooked we were called over and we both ordered The Chilango, which is hailed as their legendary chicken burrito with black beans, roasted tomato salsa, sour cream and cheese.  The chicken, rice and black beans are placed onto the flour tortilla before it is then passed to the next server who adds the toppings.  It was at this point it suddenly turned into the conveyor belt from The Generation Game (showing my age here!!), I didn’t understand what the girl had said to me and by the time I twigged I could have extra toppings, she had already wrapped up my burrito and it was ready to be paid for!  This turned out to be a shame as I like my spice, which effectively this now had none of as it just consisted of salsa, sour cream and cheese!  The guy on the till was friendly and polite, directed us to the cutlery and additional napkins and straws etc, after which we then sat to have our lunch.

On the whole we both agreed it was nice, not sure either of us thought of it as legendary though.  To be honest, if McDonalds did burritos this is probably what I would expect, it didn’t smack of anything special, which was a bit disappointing.  Not entirely sure if the chicken used is thigh meat, however my friend had several rather fatty/chewy bits of chicken which ended up in her napkin, thankfully I didn’t experience that but to be fair it didn’t actually appear there was that much chicken in mine.  All in all it was nice enough, for the money (£6.95) I would have expected a bit more chicken and would have preferred chicken breast over thigh (if that’s what is used!).  The unit is nicely set out, as mentioned above, plenty of seating and some funky art work, if I come back at least I know what to expect so I won’t miss out on any hot sauce etc next time!  There is a good choice on the menu, which includes salads, tacos, super nachos and nudos (all the flavour of a burrito but without the tortilla), and a variety of fillings, steak, pork belly and grilled prawns along with the mandatory chicken, give them a go, see what you think.

Sunday 2 April 2017

Vietvan Croydon

Vietvan - Croydon
Whilst I have been sampling the foods on offer at Boxpark I noticed a couple of stalls across the street, one of which being Vietvan.  As I'm off to Vietnam next month I  thought I would give them a go, get a flavour of what I can look forward to and oh my G, am I glad I did!  Firstly, I have to say Nick and Tracy who are the founders, what a couple of characters, bubbly, chatty and more importantly passionate about what they are doing, I knew from the moment we first spoke this was going to be an experience.

My friend Cheryl and I both opted for the lemongrass pork Banh mi, this is basically a fresh crusty baguette stuffed full of carrot, cucumber and salad, topped with the pork and drizzled with a basil dressing and sriracha sauce and topped with coriander and fresh chillies (amongst other things...sorry, I was drooling too much to take a note of the other extras lol).  Shortly after ordering the sodding gas cylinder ran out....noooooo, but clearly someone was looking down on me as Nick had just cooked some of the chicken, all was not lost, I would still get to sample some of the Vietvan foodie goodness.  I really felt for the guys as there was a queue forming and you could see those behind me clearly crossing fingers that there was enough cooked chicken to go around, to be frank though I was just glad I was going to get mine, sorry peeps, every hungry man for himself and all that! 

With my two Banh mi in hand I scurried back to the office (I had to, otherwise Cheryl would have inflicted serious injury on me, she does like her food!).  Well, what can I say, this was so tasty, the baguette, fresh and with a decent crunch, the veggies, vibrant and crisp, the chicken, cooked to perfection and tasty as hell, the dressings just added to the overall zing and boy did those fresh chillies give it that kick that you look for. 

 I can honestly say this is one of the best lunches I've had in a long time and at £5 for a good old portion, definite value for money.  They do salads as well with the chicken and pork and also tofu so a good choice for all, get yourselves along to Vietvan if you want to sample some good, tasty Vietnamese street food, you won't be disappointed.

I am truly gutted as I'm only working in Croydon for a few more weeks so my time to sample the foodie goodness on offer at Vietvan is very limited!  Keep up the good work Nick & Tracy and peeps, you need to check these guys out- take a look at their Facebook page.

Vietvan Salad