OFM awards 2014 best cheap eats: Silk Road

This Camberwell restaurant brings the flavours of north-west China from lamb skewers to handmade noodles to south London, at just £10 a head

The family behind the winner of our Best Cheap Eats award, voted for by OFM readers, admit they had no idea whether what they wanted to do would work. After all, no one else in London was serving the punchy food of Xinjiang province in China. “We just thought we’d try and make it as good as we can,” says Jie Bai, who runs front of house, while his parents Yanting and Julie run the kitchen.

Clearly they succeeded. Camberwell’s startlingly cheap but very cheerful Silk Road – average food spend is £10 a head, to be paid in cash only – has become a huge success. Every night the canteen-style tables are full of people who can’t get enough of their skewers of lamb or pork belly crusted with salt, cumin and chilli and grilled over coals. “That’s the favourite snack from Xianjing province across China,” says Jie, “so we hoped it would work.” They come for pork with black fungus, or Yu-Shiang shredded pork with red chilli, or piles of plump dumplings fresh from the steamer, at just £3 a plate.

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