Scot­tish-Chi­nese On a corner to nowhere, two cour­ses for vir­tu­ally noth­ing. It’s good

The Herald Magazine - - etc BRIAN MAULE CHEF - GLAS­GOW


IHAVE been do­ing this long enough to sense when I’m slip­ping over the edge of the cash­less so­ci­ety cliff and, sure enough, as I’m about to sit down, I sud­denly ask: “Do you take cards?” The waiter shakes his head. I sup­press a deep sigh. And I head back out un­der the hulk­ing shoul­der of the St Enoch Cen­tre to nav­i­gate the Yule­tide shop­pers, the Christ­mas mar­ket with its kiss-me-quick food stalls, the merry party crowds and to some­how find a cash line.

I do, of course, but as I walk back onto Howard Street – surely one of Glas­gow’s grimmest sidestreets – and look at the steamed win­dows and hand­writ­ten signs of Angie’s Cafe, I won­der how they make money stuck away round here. On a corner to nowhere. On a street that flows like a dried up river. The an­swer isn’t ex­actly on a post­card, more on a lit­tle flip­book of food pho­tos that’s handed to me as I sit down once again. As I look around it seems to be half-full of large ta­bles of fam­i­lies of Chi­nese ori­gin and half-full of peo­ple who have just wan­dered in off the street, some from the of­fice party.

Pork chop or chicken steak with noo­dles is just £4, fried rice £2.50, did I see a sign say­ing two cour­ses for a fiver? Yes, all the usual Chi­nese-Scot­tish restau­rant dishes are here. They’re ac­tu­ally cheaper than at the pop-up stalls in the fes­tive food mar­ket round the corner.

There’s also a sep­a­rate menu in Chi­nese where the dishes are ex­otic, more ex­pen­sive and, judg­ing by the plat­ters of them at the ta­ble across from me, they’re served just for shar­ing. Nine pounds a pop is the go­ing rate.

I flip my way through the pho­to­book and ran­dom or­der broc­coli with gar­lic; pork chop with fried white noo­dles (dry).

I toy with five spiced beef flank with oil noo­dle in soup, linger mo­men­tar­ily over fried green bean minced pork pre­served olive but fi­nally set­tle on the strangest dish I can see: curry fried crispy won­ton in soup.

The waiter de­liv­ers the tra­di­tional warn­ing about por­tions be­ing very large. I mum­ble the tra­di­tional re­ply about stom­achs be­ing ex­pand­able. We both move on. In the few min­utes be­fore my

The fried white noo­dles ar­rive, bring­ing that sweet smoky smell from the flash­ing wok, they’re ver­mi­celli, su­per-fine, hot, oily, laced with onion and scal­lion, soy sauce too, the pork sliced cross­ways but also crisped and sparkled with sea­son­ing into in­ter­est­ing mouth­fuls. Noth­ing fancy. The plat­ter

Angie’s Cafe is more of a canteen and they’ve not done much with the old place but it’s got a warm buzz

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