Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A quick bite when time is tight? Lunch on the run? A quick bite when time is tight? Lunch on the run? Solutions include one of the world's oldest streetfoods

A quick bite when time is tight? Lunch on the run? Solutions include one of the world's oldest streetfoods.

Ham packed roll at Higgins Mayfield

Get a filling roll from Higgins Supervalu or a rocking Jianbing from Lao Dao

Braised Pork Jianbing from Lao Dao

Sometimes, when it comes to food, you just can't wait. Those pesky peckish temptations won't go away and neither will that schedule that you've sometimes had little say in.

Don't panic though! There's always a solution. I got into that kind of bind twice last week in Cork and each time found the answer close at hand. In Mayfield, Higgins SuperValu did the business and, on the second day, the relief was provided by Lao Dao in Daunts Square.

The Higgins name has only recently become associated with the local SuperValu and improvements in layout and service immediately followed.

So it was with some confidence that I walked in last week. And that increased as I checked out what was on offer. There was a selection of inviting salad plates (enough for a decent lunch for €4.50) and offerings for a more substantial dinner plate too.

But I needed something like fast food and headed for the salad bar, a couple of dozen tubs behind glass packed with all kinds of fillings for your roll. Chicken, ham, vegetables including onions and peppers, lettuce, coleslaw, you name they had it. The meats for the rolls are Bord Bia approved.

Chicken roll

I based my roll on the ham and, on request they added lettuce and tomato and I handed over €4.50. While I was picking out a couple of excellent craft beers (Sullivan's Black MarbleStout and 9 White Deer's Kolsch), CL was getting her chicken-based roll filled.

Off home then and, with a pot of tea at hand - no beer by the way - we enjoyed an excellent lunch and were soon up and running again.

Lao Dao price included
apple juice or bottle of water

The following day we were in the city and under a tight timeline. I had often meant to call to Lao Dao to try their Chinese Crepes, one of the oldest street foods in the world (going back over 2,000 years it is said). 

The tiny restaurant - a few seats outside, none inside - provides "the best fresh food daily. We aim to provide top-quality hot dishes for our customers. The ingredients that we use to prepare our dishes are the freshest and highest quality. We use locally sourced Irish beef, chicken, and fresh fish and seafood, all of which are carefully prepared daily by our expert Chef. "

These crepes are called "Jianbing" and the basic one, The Original North Chinese Style Jianbing, is perfect for beginners so we ordered one of those. It is made here with Millet, Mung Bean flour, Wheat Flour and Free-Range Egg and the pancake is filled with  Coriander, Spring Onion, Black Sesame, Special Soybean Sauce and Crispy Crumbled Wonton Skins.

A "Traditional Ham Salad", with egg, featured in Supervalu's salad offerings

The basic one costs €7.45. As the price moves up, you get more for your buck. The basic Jianbing gets different fillings and our Braised Pork, with Mushrooms and Onion (Fried) costs €9.95. They also have chicken, ham and roast duck versions. The price includes a free drink (bottle of water or carton of apple juice).

The more expensive versions are quite a dish, very flavoursome and filling. Even the basic one will replenish your energy for the afternoon! No wonder they are one of the most popular street breakfasts in China. 

By the way, like all Chinese food outlets, the Lao Dao menu is quite extensive and includes noodle and fried rice dishes and they also do a range of bubble teas and smoothies and if you are unable to call Deliveroo will do their thing. 

If you do need to eat on a wall or seat in the city, your food comes in a carton with a wooden knife and fork and also a plastic glove to hold your crepe as you eat!

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