10 things you might not know about Carrots + Daikon

Get to know us that bit more with this quick and easy to read blog about us and our foods, ENJOY!

#1 Our homemade Vietnamese cooking is inspired by co-founder David’s mother’s roots back in Hanoi, Vietnam

#2 All of our sauces are made in-house, from sriracha, mayonnaise and hoisin, to peanut, chilli fish and even the chicken liver pate for the banh mi

Homemade mayo, made with fresh free-range eggs 

Homemade mayo, made with fresh free-range eggs 

Spicy sriracha sauce that goes with literally everything 

Spicy sriracha sauce that goes with literally everything 

#3 Before Carrots + Daikon, the previous shop sold fried chicken and was called Joe’s Chicken

One of the first things we did when receiving the keys for the first time was to paint outside white, cleaner and lighter feel.

One of the first things we did when receiving the keys for the first time was to paint outside white, cleaner and lighter feel.

#4 All shop visuals were designed by co-founder and fashion designer Philip who created the artwork, chalkboard menus and counters

From left to right, Philip, Helen and Me (David)

From left to right, Philip, Helen and Me (David)

#5 In the past two years we’ve had four opening and closing time changes, three menu revamps, trialled opening for breakfast and Saturday brunch. Safe to say we’re not afraid of trial and error!

#6 Photographer by day, our delivery driver is called Tom and he’s a long-standing family friend

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#7 We use fresh chillies to make our homemade sriracha sauce and they’re also mixed into our sriracha hummus and our pho for extra heat

#8 80% of our packaging is eco-friendly, please keep and reuse the paper bags too!

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#9 For those who still don’t know, daikon is a white radish (mooli) which we pickle with grated carrots for our banh mi and dinner boxes

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#10 After deciding on the shop name Carrots + Daikon, our logo could have looked a bit like this (our first draft :D)

Thanks for reading

David Chu

Carrots + Daikon

Highlights of 2016 and Future Plans

Well 2016, you definitely caused a stir in the world didn’t you? A year full of surprises; victories, truths, wars, famous deaths and election results. Overall, 2016 has been a year of unprecedented change and I for one hope it’s for the better. 

(Because it can’t get any worse, can it..?!)

Despite the uncertainty in the UK economy following the EU referendum and change in PM mid-way through the year, here at Carrots + Daikon we’ve continued with our plans. In April we launched our delicious quinoa salad boxes and healthy juices, introduced a new brunch offering on Saturdays in the summer, bottled our house sriracha sauce and sold these alongside our homemade matcha cookies. We’ve had a lot of fun the past year with everyone and hope you’ve enjoyed filling your bellies at the deli or at home with a delivery. We’re really excited and look forward to continue working on our new ideas to provide you with more fresh Vietnamese street food flavours in 2017.

Saturday Closure

December 2016 saw the last of our Saturday opening hours. We’ve decided to operate five days a week from the New Year onwards in order to give us more time to work on improving and expanding our menu offerings, customer service and social media presence.

Our opening times will be from Mondays to Fridays 12pm-3.30pm for lunch, and 6pm-9pm for dinner and delivery.

We may reopen on Saturdays in the future, though for now this is how we will be moving forwards. If we’re not to reopen for business as usual, we hope to use the weekend to hold workshops and classes for children and adults on how to cook fresh, simple and healthy Vietnamese food at home. We love sharing our passion for good, healthy food and endeavour to teach as many people of all ages how quick and easy it can be.

Summer Roll making with the lovely folks at North London Care 

Summer Roll making with the lovely folks at North London Care 

NEW Dinner Options

2017 will be the year we launch some new dinner items onto our menu, we have some classic starters and mains like satay chicken on skewers, cha la lot (pork wrapped in betel leave) and a Vietnamese lemongrass chicken curry. We will be bringing these dishes out soon in the coming few months and we can’t wait for you to try them.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry with carrots and potatoes, perfect for a winter dinner. 

Vietnamese Chicken Curry with carrots and potatoes, perfect for a winter dinner. 

The team is super excited about the curry because we have had people asking for a curry dish for a good while now and we are thrilled it will be included in our menu. Unlike other curry dishes, Vietnamese curry is milder and light, the lemongrass and coconut milk adds body and depth into the overall flavour of the dish. It also comes with potatoes and carrots, which make this curry a host of dynamic flavours and textures.  

Pan-fried Cha La Lots 

Pan-fried Cha La Lots 

Cha la lot is a personal favourite of mine. The betel leaves are what makes this dish unforgettable, the smells it releases can be wonderful to some and smelly to others. I can’t really describe the smell but the combination of pork mince and betel leaves over a hot grill brings back childhood memories for me, of a time when the house would linger of betel smell for a good few hours after mum finished cooking (blissful). 

One stop shop for your Vietnamese needs at home

One of the things we’ve always wanted to add to our deli shop is a section where you can buy your own Vietnamese sauces, spices, dried noodles (pho and bun vermicelli), seasoning and rice papers. Get everything you need for a Vietnamese feast at home, a dinner party or anywhere else for that matter (summer roll party anyone?). 

Vietnamese food is so quick and easy to cook and eat for yourself or the whole family, why not give it a go. We’ll have recipes and videos on how to make some Vietnamese classics and favourites in a step-by-step guide.

We have a lot planned for 2017 so do keep an eye out on our Facebook, twitter and instagram pages for news along the way!

Thank you for reading and have a great 2017

David Chu

Carrots + Daikon

Gluten-Free Vietnamese at C+D

 
 

One of the most frequent questions we get asked at the shop is “what is gluten-free on the menu?” And often or not our answer is “Sorry... We don't have many".

This is mainly because our gluten comes in the form of oyster sauce and soy sauce, which are two of the most commonly used ingredients in a lot of Asian cuisines such as Cantonese, Thai and Vietnamese. A staple of Chinese cooking, oyster sauce is often or not one of the first things you would see in Asian household, usually added to meats and vegetables, oyster sauce gives a more distinctive earthy in-depth flavour to any Asian-style dish. The same does for soy sauce..  Traditional brewed from soy bean and wheat, soy sauce is also an ingredient you will find in a lot of Asian cooking used as a dip or in seasoning dishes.       

Essentials to any Asian-style cooking

Essentials to any Asian-style cooking

With condition such as coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity up fourfold over the past 20 years, the continuous rise in gluten-free products such as breads, cereals and snacks have become a constant figure in our ever expanding supermarket shelves. With a third of Americans avoiding gluten and the numbers in Britain growing rapidly, many have maintained a gluten-free diet for not only medical reasons but for those who believe that eating gluten-free food is more healthier and natural.  

Gluten-Free Lemongrass Chicken Naked Salad Box

Gluten-Free Lemongrass Chicken Naked Salad Box

With that in mind, we are pleased to announce that your local Vietnamese have taken a massive leap up into the world of gluten-free. With a few tweaks here and there and the amazing find of a gluten-free oyster sauce and soy sauce at the local Asian supermarket (Thank you Panda Bread & Kikkoman), we have managed to change a couple of our favourite items on the menu into gluten-free options so you can enjoy a tasty Vietnamese anytime of the day whether its gluten or not. 

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pho, the perfect winter comfort food 

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pho, the perfect winter comfort food 

For us, its been a long time coming, our customers have always asked for more gluten-free options and we are glad that we are now able to cater to these people as a result of a few tweaks to our family recipes.

Here is a list of gluten-free options at C+D:

Our chalkboard menus and online menu will be labeled with the abbreviation (GF) for gluten-free if you are unsure what has gluten and what doesn’t or alternative asked us if in doubt. 

Thanks for reading, don't let gluten ruin your Vietnamese craving :)

David Chu

Carrots + Daikon

 

Vietnamese-Style Brunch at Carrots + Daikon

Why Brunch?

Brunch can be a great time for family and friends to gather and catch up whilst eating. Perfect for late morning dine in’s with all day menus. You can imagine the hypnotic smells of bacon and pancakes cooking in the background and last but not least it can be the time for people to put their feet up and relax after a long hard week of work.

Nothing like eating with family and friends over the weekend

Nothing like eating with family and friends over the weekend

With that, how would a Vietnamese Brunch compare?

With a few C+D tweaks here and there, such as swapping the Egg Benedict for flamed grilled pork or even a full breakfast for a hot bowl of delicious Pho. We reckon that we are more than half way there to creating a new brunching experience in Kentish Town that will showcase what Vietnamese cuisine and culture is all about and what more it has to come in the near future.

Our goal for brunch is to take traditional breakfast and lunch Vietnamese street food favourites out of the streets of Vietnam and into our little brick and mortar in Kentish Town for everyone to try.

Get a taste of Vietnam without the air miles with us

What is on the Menu? 

One of our classic Banh Mi with the Lemongrass Chicken

One of our classic Banh Mi with the Lemongrass Chicken

Not to be overly experimental on creating an entirely new menu from scratch, we’ve decided to keep our usual Banh Mi, Lunchboxes, Pho and Summer Roll offerings but with the exception of no BBQ Roasted Pork or Lemongrass Beef. Instead, we are delighted to announce that we are going to start selling our delicious Vietnamese Spring rolls for the whole day every Saturday because who doesn’t love a cheeky spring roll in the afternoon. 

Come for the Bun Cha Brunch, best way to start the weekend

Come for the Bun Cha Brunch, best way to start the weekend

We have also got our own version of Bun Cha in a Brunch form available from 11am – 2pm, here you can have bowls of our honey caramelized pork, bun rice vermicelli noodles, side salads and herbs and not forgetting the delicious bowl of nuoc cham sauce (chilli fish sauce).  If you are still hungry then you can order more meats or salads. Check out our menu and prices on here

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancake) is also coming exclusively to brunch.  Translated as ‘sizzling cake’ because of the sound it makes after the batter hits the hot pan. Banh Xeo is essentially a crispy Vietnamese crepe stuffed with shrimp, pork, mung beans, bean sprouts and loads of leafy greens and fresh herbs. Many have requested us to make Banh Xeo for a while now and we are pleased to be able to grant that request because if you’ve never had Banh Xeo before then you are missing out!

Homemade Banh Xeo 

Homemade Banh Xeo 

Check out the video underneath of Banh xeo being made on the streets of Vietnam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hevqQ4LEcBA

When does it start?

Brunch will be available every Saturday from 11am – 2pm, with the official launch on the Saturday 6th February, so come on down and be the first to try out our new brunch menu. As some of you may already know, we are very limited on seats at our small deli shop (11-12 to be exact) so if you do see the shop packed, please don’t be discouraged, let us know you want to eat in and we’ll try sort out a rough estimate waiting time. Alternatively, if you cant wait for a seat then we do offer a takeaway service if you want to have a Vietnamese brunch at home or anywhere else. 

What to expect?

Expect a lot of grilling from within our little open kitchen, lots of fresh salads and herbs washed, big bowls of bun vermicelli rice noodles and chilli fish sauce laid out. Not to forget the incredible aroma of a Banh Xeo being made to order and the happy and friendly faces of Carrots + Daikon welcoming you in to our little home.

Start your weekend right with brunch at Carrots + Daikon

See you guys from the Sat 6th Feb and onwards

Thanks for reading

David Chu

Carrots + Daikon

Blogging the Carrots + Daikon Journey

Since today is our 9 month anniversary, it’s probably only right that the blog that I promised to write back in February would be written and posted on this very day. Not much of a keen expresser of words myself, I thought I’ll take the plunge at writing a blog which has been on my to-do-list for a while now since Carrots + Daikon first opened its door in Kentish Town back in December 2014. I’ll probably say the lack of free time and long working hours over the past 9 months has been the main reason why this has been delayed so long. 

So apologies for that, but I am going to buck that trend by committing myself to posting a blog whenever there is something important happening. This could be very interesting considering that I was never a fan of writing essays or assignments in my days at university but at least with this I would be writing about the topics and subjects I genuinely do love and have a passion for. These areas include entrepreneurship, Vietnamese food, the fast casual market, current food trends and affairs, and obviously Carrots + Daikon the story behind its creation.

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Safe to say that the past 9 months has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, which I for one am glad that we had more ups than downs because as much as you plan for something to happen the way you want it to, you will never really know for certain how well it will turn out until you actually do it. Which in itself is scary, risky and stressful but that’s what you should expect when you start anything by yourself with no real prior cooking or restaurant experience. So I do count myself lucky that I have my friends and family to back me up on this journey from the very beginning; Carrots + Daikon wouldn’t be the Carrots + Daikon it is now if those big characters and personalities weren’t there to support the business all the way but that’s for another blog post.  

Many thanks for reading, stay tuned in for more blog stories in the coming weeks. 

David Chu 

Co-Founder