Mao Chow opens new Express format to bring food court-style vegan dining to Shoreditch

Author: Helen Greaves

Read Time:   |  29th November 2021

Mao Chow Express, a new food court-style restaurant concept, is opening in Shoreditch - and it’s vibrantly vegan.

Listen up, London vegans – this one’s for you!

A new vegan restaurant concept from Mao Chow is coming to Boxpark Shoreditch this December.

Mao Chow Express promises good food, good vibes, and a food court setting so bright you’ll need sunglasses to enter.

With clashing pink and yellow and chequered floor tiles, chefs Julian and Harry are bringing 90s nostalgia to Shoreditch, and, perhaps more importantly, really good food.

To create the Mao Chow Express menu, the pair turned to their childhood favourites for inspiration.

Each dish on the menu has its own tale to tell as the chefs looked at the individual heritage of each dish to recreate the meals with more depth of history and flavour than you might normally expect from fast food.

The Kung Pao Chicken, for example, was originally known as Gong Bao and is believed to be named after a late Qing Dynasty official and governor of the Sichuan Province. For their version, Julian and Harry have made the fragrant Shaoxing wine and numbing Sichuan peppercorns the star of the show.

Their Char Siu Bao has been lovingly recreated with the sweet, sticky sauce that is characteristically Cantonese, but instead of the classic slow-roasted pork tenderloin, it features plant-based OmniPork.

Other dishes on the menu will include ‘Prawn’ Toast, Cantonese ‘Beef Jerky’ Fried Rice, and Ginger-Scallion ‘Chicken’.

The Mao Chow Express concept

By opening one of the few all-vegan Chinese spots, Julian and Harry are on a mission to show that vegan definitely doesn’t mean boring.

Mao Chow’s approach to bold flavours, hits of spice, and carefully balanced textures mean even the most dedicated of carnivores won’t notice what makes Mao Chow truly special until you point it out.

Julian comments: “When we sat down to create the new menu for Mao Chow Express, we both realised there were a lot of crossovers in dishes that we both loved – prawn toast, char siu bao, kung pao chicken, special fried rice. All dishes that we absolutely love and adore.

“They are truly perfect and have been crafted by years of migration. The core of these dishes is the endless search to recreate Chinese flavours outside of China, in the meantime, a whole new genre and regional style was born (Chinese American Food) (British Chinese Food) just to name a few.

“We just want to carry on this tradition and try to do our bit to be a bit more sustainable while crafting this menu by not using animal products.

“People might think it’s as simple as adding mock chicken here, or a vegetable there, but the process was so much more than that.

“We really wanted to break the dishes down, take them back to their roots, looking at both the original essence of each, and what made them so magical for us as kids.

“We then went through so many rounds of testing and development – we must have gone through countless versions of each dish – before finally finding something that took us back to the 90s and really made us smile.”

Harry adds: “We believe in making great food first and foremost, being all vegan is an added bonus, but certainly a core part of our identity we wouldn’t change.”

Mao Chow Express will open in Boxpark Shoreditch on 1st December.

Can’t make it to Shoreditch? Why not make these Char Sui Tofu Noodles at home? 

Written by

Helen Greaves

Helen has been vegan since 2018 and has a background in vegan food marketing and social media. She's mother to a mischief of rats, and loves to spend her spare time making vegan cakes and bakes.

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