Pa Jeon at Cah Chi

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I’ll admit that I’d never heard of pa jeon, a kind of Korean pancake with spring onions in a puffy batter, and in this case strips of seafood. Bibimbap – I know well. Korean barbecue, I’m totally up on. Kimchee: I can smell a mile off. But I’d never come across this tasty street food before.

“an interesting addition to my understanding of… an underappreciated national cuisine”

I find it distinctly reminiscent of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps the delicious potato latkes we’d make from a mix out of a packet at passover. There is definitely something potatoey about them, though Google suggests they are usually made from wheat and rice flours.

With a crisp and golden exterior, round but chopped in a rough grid pattern, it is soft and sticky, still slightly battery on the inside. They have generous additions so that you can be sure of multiple flavours in every bite. The portion is also pretty large, so you could happily share this amongst a variety of starters with friends.

Okay, so these aren’t super-special, and I can well imagine there’s huge variety of these snacks in a Korean market, but they’re new to me, and an interesting addition to my understanding of what I continue to think is an underappreciated national cuisine.

Dosa at Dosa n Chutny

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I often forget the concept of Tooting Indian restaurants. Here’s the quick pitch:

  1. (Some of) The best curry in London…
  2. …at absurdly low prices

Okay, so this joint is a little different: it specialises in dosa, the fluffy Indian pancakes filled with potatoes / lentils / onions / vegetables / meat / etc. as you desire, and served with various chutneys and curries or dahls. But the two principles remain the same: delicious food at astonishing prices.

“[W]ith 20 different menu-options, you could certainly get return value”

At ¬£3.50, my¬†Mysore Masala Dosa (spicy potatoes, onions, Mysore-regional spices) is a substantial, warming, filling meal, and offers – with a selection of three chutn(e)ys and sambar (a thin lentil curry) – variety in every mouthful. I assume (I think correctly, but then isn’t that what assuming is) that the traditional (correct?) way to eat this is with your fingers, tearing a chunk off the folded crepe, and attempting to splosh it in one or more of the accompaniments without the filling spilling out everywhere. So this is what I try. Key is to make sure that every bite is different from the last – presumably a mathematically easy task, practically guaranteed if you were to make your choices at random.

It’s hard to say whether this is the best dosa I’ve ever eaten (not that I’ve had a very great number), and it’s difficult to consider them as gourmet food, when they’re straightforwardly homely, cafe-style fare. It certainly hits the spot, and with 20 different menu-options, you could certainly get return value (though it might take an expert to truly tell some variations apart).

Tooting High Street is something of London’s Curry Mile, so I could easily see the possibility that I might not return to this particular joint soon. But if I were a local, this would be a go-to spot, especially if I felt that unique craving for the eponymous dish.