Ho-Ja – Chicken Popcorn Bento


I like movies. Liking movies means I like popcorn. Liking popcorn means I should probably like something called popcorn chicken. But so far, the only times I’ve tried popcorn chicken has been at KFC. KFC is not great (even I have my quality limits).

Which is why this was interesting. I stumbled upon Ho-Ja, a chinese restaurant in Shepherds Bush, and they had popcorn chicken, right on their specials in the menu. An actual restaurant selling high quality popcorn chicken? Of course I had to try it out.

I got the Chicken Popcorn Bento, which comes with some veggies and rice. The chicken is spiced to perfection, crispy, and tender as only Elvis could love it. Plus, you get to choose one of many sauces, so I chose both Teriyaki and Ho-Ja sauce, both equally delicious and distinctive. The art of dunking popcorn chicken into a container of sauce is an act of zen. It brought me peace and tranquility.

So tiny and cute! Ho-Ja - Chicken Popcorn Bento

So tiny and cute!

But is any of this relevant? Not at all. All that’s relevant is that you’re eating chicken, in popcorn fashion. One of those weird inventions that works. Because popcorn is awesome, and chicken is awesome. Get the two together and you clearly get awesome2. And all meals should strive to get to that level of awesomeness.

Slimy? This is chicken you can eat with your hands. It’s only slimy if you want it to be…

Satisfying? How are cinemas not taking the hint?! I want to be able to buy supersized popcorn chicken at the multiplex by the time the new Star Wars comes out.


39 Goldhawk Road, London, Greater London, W12 8QQ


Pit Stop Cafe – Malaysian Chicken Curry


Queuing in the UK is a sport. It’s just that people don’t mind queuing. Specially when it’s for a good reason. So clearly I’ve been curious for far too long at the long queues in front of a food cart on Brewick St, which has a market of sorts every workday at lunchtime.

I’m talking massive queues, for a very small trolley style cart selling pan asian food. I understand people queuing for Wimbledon (actually, I don’t, it seems idiotic), but this is a constant line of happy looking people. And nobody is happy queuing unless the end result is worth it.

What differentiates Pit Stop Cafe from other thai and asian food stalls in markets all around Soho, is that the food is cooked right in front of you very eyes, not taken from a pot that has been stewing all day. You can smell it from afar, and see the magicians (with the speed they cook I would call them nothing less) work their, ehm, magic.

Round tupperware rules. Pit Stop Cafe - Malaysian Chicken Curry

Round tupperware rules

I went for the first item on the menu, the Malaysian Chicken Curry, which has a bed of rice, with some deliciously tender chicken (beef and pork also available), carrots, potatoes and more, all topped with deliciously spiced sauces. It’s also massive. A lot of food, and if I wasn’t paying attention to how savoury it was, I would have ended in a mess, as it looks as odd as it is good.

So queue up. No matter how long, or the fact that I wasted half my lunch break waiting for my curry. I don’t regret it. The most important part of the lunch break is the lunch, right? And this tiny haven of deliciousness is worth looking at your smartphone for 20 minutes in the rain/sun.

Slimy? It’s hard to tell with all the stuff, but this dish is begging for you to mix it all, creating an even bigger mess.
Satisfying? I can’t possibly tell all the ingredients on this piece of heaven, but my kids will tell stories of the time their dad waited in line for that famous curry on the street.


Pit Stop Cafe
Berwick St Market (lunchtime Mon-Fri, and they also have a restaurant in Kentish Town)