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Five Asian dishes to warm your belly (and soul) this winter

Bao burger pho & bun

From steamed bao buns to katsu curry, tantalise your taste buds and insulate your insides with some Asian flavours.

Eat warm and well this winter

Even though Blue Monday is out of the way, January is still a pretty depressing month what with the freezing cold, long winter nights, post-Christmas bloat and potential self-inflicted alcohol abstinence. It’s officially the most depressing month of the year. But never fear, salvation comes by way of these warming Asian comfort foods so get stuck in and turn that frown upside down.

Steamed bao buns

Round and warm – just like the sun, there’s nothing like a pillowy-soft bao bun stuffed with unctuous shredded pork belly or beef, seasoned liberally with zingy pickles, rich hoi sin sauce or smoky mayonnaise. For beautiful bouncy bao, head to Shaftesbury Avenue’s Pho & Bun. Their steamed bao come with multiple filling options (tiger prawn & pineapple? Yes please!) and are some of the best in town.

Dumplings

One of the most commonly eaten foods around Chinese New Year, and, well, all year round in general, dumplings are warm meaty parcels of deliciousness. A fine pastry casing houses a plethora of fillings from pork to prawn, all seasoned with traditional flavours like soy, sesame or shaoxing wine, them steamed to perfection. Gerrard Street’s Dumplings Legend is exactly just that.

For winter warming dim sum head to Dumplings Legend on Gerrard Street

Katsu curry

Sushi’s great, yes, but we’re after heat here: one of Japan’s most iconic hot dishes is the katsu curry. Fried chicken in a crispy panko casing, slathered in a mild, yet spicy garam-masala infused curry sauce, accompanied by fragrant rice. Misato on Wardour Street’s katsu curry is the stuff of legends – if you fancy going off piste they even do an awesome noodle version.

Misato’s Katsu curry will have you braving the cold in no time

Laksa

Nothing can warm the cockles of your heart quite like a piping hot bowl of Malaysian laksa soup. Variations differ all over Southeast Asia but its base is a rich creamy coconut milk, infused with a flavoured paste of lemongrass, chilli, galangal and sesame. Served with noodles, prawns and a generous sprinkling of coriander, laksa is fresh yet hearty. Chinatown’s finest laksa can be found at C&R Café on Rupert Court.

Warm your cockles with this delicious Malaysian laksa soup from C&R

Sichuan chicken

Known for its liberal use of the super hot pepper, the Sichuan region of China is all about mouth-numbing heat in their dishes. Distinctly red in colour and in a rich oily soy and ginger sauce, Sichuan chicken works like a tasty internal hot water bottle as the ruby red chilli does its magic. Feng Shu Inn’s Mouth Watering Sichuan Chicken dish is the ultimate winter warmer.

Find your internal hot water bottle with this mouth numbing Sichuan dish from Feng Shui Inn

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