DunDun Xiang, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow 

Jian Bing Crepes then. Or as they succinctly describe them on the menu in here at DunDun Xiang tonight: pancakes.

Frankly? My expectations are low, but then my nose is long so when I see these wooden contraptions at every other table with what looks like a nan bread hanging from it, I want one.

Where does it come from, I will ask my serving lady later. China, will come the answer. Where in China, I will follow up with. Everywhere in China, will come the riposte.

By the time mine is dangling over my table, blotting out the light from those chandeliers, I’m already up to my chopsticks in a Stir Fried Pork with Chilli Pepper. Scooping up slivers of thin fried meat, laced with hunks of stir fried peppers, dragging this in the hot, oily juices at the bottom and wondering out loud what’s in this that makes it taste much better than the sum of the parts.

This, the staff really do want to talk about. From the minute I walk in the door – and adjust myself to the surprise that a) it’s open when from the outside it looked dark and b) half of Glasgow’s Chinese community seem to be already in here – there’s one thing the staff want to talk about: heat.

The Herald: DunDun Xiang, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow DunDun Xiang, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow  (Image: free)

You like hot food? Umm, yes, I’ll say. Very hot, they’ll insist. And so it will go on until the order is actually taken and I’m eating at my own risk.

This pork thing is hot, more pretty-hot than very-hot. There are a few black beans bobbing about the bottom of the pan, maybe some rice wine, a definite flavour from the chillies, but it’s not way too hot.

What else does this have in it, I’ll ask the cheery front man who greeted me when I walked in. Nothing else, he’ll tell me, but this pork has been marinated. Aaah.

On the subject of marinades, the tofu in this Celery and Tofu dish, very good incidentally, also has mystery flavour. Five spice marinade on the tofu, is the explanation. And it’s a special type of tofu too that is drier, and frankly meatier, than normal.

Anyway, by now that Jian Bing crepe has been hanging around at my table so long that I don’t really fancy it anymore. But I taste it anyway. More surprises. Not naan bread like, not even crepe-ish, more a flaky, bubbly, wafer-thin texture sensation, maybe like a skinny paratha, with a slightly more-ishly sweet overtone.

I’ll end up using torn-off triangles to hoover up my favourite thing of the evening: Steamed Enoki Mushroom. Yes. I was a little squeamish about this, the unknown you know, but as I have just backed away from the Chopped Chilli Fish Head on offer, the Stir-Fried Intestine too and even the Chilli Pork Liver (I should have had this) I feel I have to go bold on something.


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It turns out to be a lovely, light and thoroughly wholesome platter of steaming hot enoki mushrooms (those wafer-thin straw ones they grow in big crowds), doused in sweet friend garlic and finely diced chilli.

DunDun Xiang though? What’s it all about? Well, it’s popular, judging by it being full on this Tuesday night, and the young team obviously like it and there's tables of ladies on maybe a work night out, too.

Then, of course, they offer those special tables with the big round hole in the middle for the insertion of a bubbling pot. But not at all tables. There’s not a pot-slot on mine. Nor at the one next to me.

Which explains why the young foursome who were next to me had some Jain Bing sitting here, then moved up to a table by the window for something else, and are now being shown to a pot-slot where there are chop-sticking long lengths of noodles from a fish pot, or a chicken pot, or a pork ribs pot. From here I can’t really tell.

Listen, I highlighted the more unusual dishes up above there but the food here is primarily Xiang, or Hunan, cuisine. And mostly simply, freshly fried and welcomingly unusual stuff.

I like it.

The Herald: Refreshingly differentRefreshingly different (Image: free)

Menu: It’s chilli flashed Xiang Cuisine, with some Tie Guo Don thrown in. It’s refreshingly different. 4/5

Service: Staff were very welcoming, patiently explained when asked, food brought quickly enough considering they sell no starters. 5/5

Price: That pork dish, like most everything else, comes in a sharing platter at £14.90, the Jian Bing £5.90, no extras, no upselling, good value. 4/5

Atmosphere: It’s on Glasgow’s Sauchihall Street which looks post-apocalyptic nowadays but inside warm, comfortable and freshly outfitted. 4/5

Food: The dish I would go back for is the Enoki Mushroom, with a Jian Bing on the side, but everything packed with flavour…and heat. 7/10