Cooking Experiences

A Sing-Kee inspired Szechuan hot pot

Charlotte and I are big fans of Chinese food, especially Szechaun style spicy Chinese food, so when Sing-Kee offered us the opportunity to go down and spend £20 on some authentic oriental ingredients, we jumped at the chance to do just that. After all, it is January and this cold weather calls for a nice spicy broth!

Sing-Kee sell a wide range of high quality ingredients from Japan, China, Thailand and Korea in the heart of Leeds. When their city centre branch opened last year, we were delighted; although the big supermarkets offer a select range of oriental ingredients, you can be left looking at your ingredients list for your oriental recipe wondering whether or not you can make do without certain items. The arrival of Sing-Kee near the Merrion Centre and just a short hop from Morrisons means that you don’t have to worry any longer.

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One issue you can face at oriental supermarkets is not quite knowing which ingredients are good and worth spending money on. Sometimes it seems that there’s not exactly a plethora of assistants on hand to help slightly more ignorant shoppers in need of help and guidance (especially when the label happens to be in Mandarin!).

At Sing-Kee this isn’t the case. I turned up unannounced with my voucher and relied on the kindness of the staff to take pity on me when I tried to find some glutinous rice wine (that standard shopping list ingredient!) and various other items. Not only did they help me find the ingredient, but they gave me some great ideas about how best to use it.

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Sing-Kee offer decent value fresh fruit and veg as well, so this isn’t just a foodie haunt for stocking up your freezer and cupboards with various ingredients. Also, if you are missing some cooking equipment, this is the place for you. For me, that meant an electric hot pot stove that Charlotte kindly got me for Christmas. The shop also has a cafe area to pick up an ‘on the go’ snack or drink, and I can also confirm that this cafe is a comfortable, welcoming space for giving a little one a bottle!

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So, with £20 in my pocket, what did I buy? Well, rather a lot, to be honest! As I wanted to make us a Szechuan hot pot later that day, I found some fantastic ingredients to use for that recipe (including some chillies, some fresh bean sprouts and some pak choi) as well as for a fair few future meals.

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I also bought some products that are normally quite expensive at regular supermarkets to shove in the cupboard, including some jasmine tea for Charlotte and some Szechuan peppercorns.

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When I got home, I popped the wok on the heat and got the hot pot going and prepared some chicken breast and pork loin. Alongside my bean sprouts and pak choi, the meats went really well with the hot pot base I made with the ingredients from Sing-Kee.

 

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For me, my shopping experience at Sing-Kee was a breath of fresh air. Come the 8th February 2016 when it is Chinese New Year, we’ll know that any new year cake or special ingredients we fancy will be available, at a decent price, in the heart of Leeds.

For now, I will be enjoying my cupboard supplies for quite some time to come, topping them up with some fresh veg when I feel like knocking up a stir fry.

Disclaimer: We were invited down to Sing-Kee in Leeds city centre to try out the shop and buy £20 worth of ingredients. We were under no obligation to write a positive review.

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