There is something so wholesome about visiting a food market, safe in the knowledge that all you could want for a three-course meal are within a five minute walk of each other. I love food but I’m inherently lazy so to be able to peruse a multitude of different stalls while I ponder which I fancy the most is my idea of heaven. Enter Bang Bang Oriental in Colindale, North London.
Time Out magazine listed the food hall as one of the best street food markets in London and I simply had to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, when I first moved to the city, I visited Camden Market and Borough Market – it’s a right of passage – and they were pretty amazing. So, as I hopped on the Tube, heading to Zone 4, I knew this market had a lot to live up to.
Bang Bang Oriental is a huge pan-Asian food court and is the largest of its kind in Europe, so I knew I wouldn’t struggle for choice. There are over 20 individual kiosks offering a range of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Taiwanese and Malaysian cuisines. The vast space seats up to 450 people, and according to Time Out, it: “promises to bring the energy of an Asian street food market to North London”.
READ MORE: ‘I tried Peckham restaurant pop-up “White Men Can’t Jerk” and the food was delicious but there was no soul’
I arrived at Bang Bang Oriental food hall with a rumbling stomach and the sun beating down on my face. The huge building looked impressive in the glorious sunshine and towered above the Colindale street. Once I passed the threshold, immediately on the left lay the flagship Golden Dragon restaurant that seats 300 people.
I instead headed upstairs to find the main market and I initially noticed two things: the building had strong air con (which was a welcome relief from the May heat) and there was also an abundance of hand sanitiser. There were at least 30 bottles on a table prior to entry so if you’re still feeling a little Covid-cautious then rest assured, all vendors and most market-goers were also wearing masks.
The space opened up to reveal a huge food hall, lined with kiosks and seats for hundreds of people. It wasn’t too busy but already I felt overwhelmed purely with the sheer amount of choice. Luckily, I had done my research and knew the delicacies to hunt down first.
After a quick browse, I headed to Xi Home and ordered six vegetable gyozas. Clutching the buzzer that would alert me when my food was ready, I headed to find a seat. I sat among other diners and noticed that the market attracted many different customers.
All ages surrounded me, lots of families were dining together, younger teenagers were using the space to socialise, and other people were also there, like myself, alone but content. There was relaxing music overhead and lots of Londoners were using the food hall, that offered free WiFi, as a space to work or relax.
I didn’t have to wait long for my food and, after collecting it from the kiosk, I headed back, breathing in the deliciously aromatic smell of the Chinese dumplings. The gyozas were fried and glistening, served alongside a chilli dipping sauce, soy sauce, and a small bowl of beansprouts.
I ditched the fork and grabbed a hot gyoza with my bare hands – grateful for the heap of napkins I was given with my meal. Biting down into the delicacy, I found it was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, stuffed with a herby and flavourful filling. I polished each one off in two bites and, at £6.80 for the full plate, I considered it a bargain.
After my success with the main meal, I was eager to explore the desserts on offer. I headed to One 68 in search of their famed hot buns. There was a queue when I arrived – always a reassuring sign in my opinion – but the service was quick and I was served within five minutes.
Handing over £5.90, I ordered the Gold and Black Lava Buns. A ten minute wait later and I was back at the kiosk, clutching a tray with the steamer atop it. The stall-owner removed the lid to reveal three beautifully cooked black buns, sending steam everywhere. It was almost magical to witness.
I sat back down and used a fork to pierce the soft dessert. The bun split open and a yellow custard pooled out. I ripped the food apart and popped a small bite into my mouth, immediately craving more.
Though a little unexpected, the texture was soft but chewy, almost like cake, and the filling was sweet and tasted like vanilla. As a steamed bun novice, I was pleasantly surprised! It was also definitely a novelty to eat the beautiful dessert that was decorated with an intricate gold design.
Overall, I had a wonderful time at Bang Bang Oriental and I can see why Time Out listed it as one of the best in London. I will definitely be heading back for the food, there are so many options to try that I could easily eat a completely different three course meal every day for a month. But, I will also be heading back for the lovely staff, the clean environment and the wonderfully relaxing atmosphere.
Here is a full list of the kiosks I found:
- Patiala express
- Desserts by Yaki Ya
- Oish Tasty Sushi and Ramen
- Bubble Tea Tiger Hill
- Pearl Lounge Wine Bar
- Orchid House
- One 68 – gold and black lava buns
- Bamboo Hut
- Little Thai Silk
- Uncle Chilli
- The Formosa
- Four Seasons
- Veggie Wok
- Cafe la Viet
- Yaki Ya
- Xi Home – gyozas
- Very Duck
- Coconut Tree
Bang Bang Oriental, Colindale, is open seven days a week, 12pm-9.30pm Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, hours are extended from 12pm to 10pm.
Got a story you think we should write? Get in touch [email protected]
Want more from MyLondon? Sign up to our daily newsletters for all the latest and greatest from across London here.
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You’ll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Don’t skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here.