After close to a week in Taunton, HB drove us to Wembley in London. We chose to go to Wembley as my aunt lives there and we wanted to visit her. I had also wanted to restock my Asian food supplies; abundant in Wembley! Funnily enough, I have less than ten pictures of Wembley as we spent most of our time in my aunt’s house before we went out to hit the shops, and I was too gobsmacked by it all till I forgot to take any pictures!
I don’t quite remember the area my aunt brought us to in Wembley, but good gosh, it reminded me of Brickfields in KL! Except it was like 5 times bigger or so. There were Indian stores all around, Indian restaurants like the ones in Malaysia, goldsmiths, little shops selling phone cards, grocery stores, beauty salons (they have threading there!!!!) etc. And no, I didn’t go for the threading as I had my eyebrows waxed in Taunton for 5 pounds. So I was a happy little camper, squealing at every recognizable foodstuff I saw. Baba’s curry powder, Alagappa’s curry powder, frozen roti canai and curry puffs, dried chillies, acar (pickles), MAGGI MEE, anchovies (IKAN BILIS!!!!!) and also the dried prawns (hae bee). I tell you, they have everything imaginable. I felt like I was transported back home to Malaysia. After getting my fix of Indian spices and what not, I politely asked the ever obliging aunt to bring me to the Chinese Supermarket!
And off we went to Hoo Hing. It’s a BIG supermarket that houses every Oriental foodstuff/ingredient imaginable. There were mooncakes at promotional prices, and upon closer inspection, it said “Made in Malaysia” I toyed with the idea of getting a box, but it was just too heavy and would take up too much space in our luggage. So I sadly put the box back at its spot
Hoo Hing had tonnes of stuff, from frozen dim sum to koay teow, chee cheong fun noodle, every sauce imaginable, herbs etc. There were all kinds of Chinese vegetables, kailan, siew pak choy etc. And the crabs!!! The lobsters!! They were humongous! They even had an in-house restaurant, but it was closed that day. So we did the next best thing and tapau-ed food from their deli. Aunt bought some char siew and siew yoke. Slurps
I realized I didn’t take a picture of my loot from Wembley, so I snapped a couple a minute ago
As you can see, I have both Indian and Chinese foodstuff. Some of the stuff I bought :
- Lingham’s Chilli Sauce
- Baba’s Fish Curry Powder
- Fish pickles
- Star Anise
- Mustard Seeds
- Dried Curry Leaves
- Dried Chillies
- Ikan bilis (anchovies)
- Dried shrimp (hae bee)
- Lotus seeds
- Dried Chestnuts
- Angelica roots
- Dried bean curd
- Black bean sauce
- Salted soy beans
One important thing that I forgot to buy; BELACAN!
It was quite a feat, trying to fit everything into our suitcases. I was most afraid that the bottles would break. Or that the customs would stop us. My fears were not unfounded though, as our handluggage was MANUALLY checked in Frankfurt airport, and we had to go through an unprecedented TWO security (metal detectors etc) checkpoints. So that makes THREE checks. And boy was I a nervous wreck when we reached Bologna airport, as the customs officers were staring intently at all passengers coming through. But thankgoodness we were not stopped.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Wembley. Aunt had a spare room, but my other aunt from London was staying over, and hence we didn’t want to trouble her. The Crowne Plaza was really nice, and surprisingly cheaper than it’s more modest Holiday Inn counterpart.
The picture above was taken during our weekend stay in Wembley. The picture below is of Crowne Plaza too, but when we stayed there the night below flying from Heathrow.
I really liked their colour scheme, soothing browns and tasteful accents all around.
And here’s a last picture I took in Wembley. This picture was taken from my aunt’s house, and that white thing you see is part of Wembley Stadium. Really close by isn’t it?
Had Michael Jackson performed as scheduled for his This Is It tour, I wonder if my aunt would have been able to hear it.