The Echo spice bag taste challenge…
By Simon Walsh
It’s the topic that has divided a generation, and after much debate in the Echo office last week, we decided to put the question to you, the Echo readers, on Facebook and Twitter; Where can you buy the best spice bag in our area?
We’d not seen as much passion for a bag of spicy chicken and chips in all our years, and the response was phenomenal, with some of the conversation becoming very heated (see what we did there!) to say the least.
So we thought, what better way to solve this debate than to get a group of eager participants together to take part in a blind taste test.
Before announcing the results it’s only right we also give a shout-out to the other Chinese takeaways that were mentioned by you, which include the Food Inn, Good Work, Golden World, Rose Garden, North Park, Wei Kee, Wok-Inn, Mandarin House, Oregano, China Moon, China Inn and Far East.
And finally, several of you informed us that Slimming World do a lovely spice bag recipe, and we’re sure they do, but we were looking for Chinese takeaways, so this time around we had to leave them off the list.
Of those highlighted by you, the readers, Ly Garden in St Dominic’s Shopping Centre, Phoenix Dragon in Tallaght Village, and Sunflower in the Orwell Shopping Centre received the most mentions.
We identified five categories for marking, which were, price, quantity, quality of chicken and chips, seasoning, and the most important of all, spiciness!
3rd Sunflower Chinese Takeaway Orwell – €6
Rumoured as being the spiritual home of the spice bag, Sunflower came with high expectations, but our tasters were left wondering what could have been as the all-round and expected intense flavour was lacking.
The supposed birthplace of the spice bag craze did offer good value for money with a price of just €6, and our tasters felt it contained the basic elements of what spice bag lovers crave, but up against two big hitters it needed to pack more of a punch.
Good chicken and a good price made it a bag worthy of accompanying any night in, but we were hoping it would have us licking the inside of the bag – sadly it didn’t!
2nd LY Garden Chinese Takeaway – €6
Renowned by many as the only takeaway worthy of the accolade of making the best spice bag ever, the anticipation among our tasters could not have been any higher ahead of tucking into LY Garden’s bag.
Equal on price, and with a great reputation, we know this choice has the potential to infurtiate LY Garden’s loyal patrons, but the panel were adamant in their judgement.
The chicken was just as good as everyone said it would be, but the group, who were begging for more chilli, more salt, and more spiciness, were left wanting, while the group felt the portion size was a little less than expected, and the chips could have done with more seasoning.
For us, the spice has to be all consuming, covering every inch of the chicken and chips, and on this occasion, that was just not the case.
1st Phoenix Dragon Chinese Takeaway – €6
This was a no-brainer. If the bags from Sunflower and LY Garden were close in comparison, Phoenix Dragon’s spice bag was out in front by some distance. Equal with the other two on price (€6), that’s where the similarities ended, and that was mainly due to the colossal flavour that coated every succulent piece of chicken and every chip.
Added to this, Phoenix Dragon’s offering had what all our tasters were looking for – serious heat and spiciness throughout! Among the tasters, everyone selected Phoenix Dragon’s serving as being the best, and so there ends the debate (at least for now!).
Of course, all three plates were devoured, and so whether it’s Phoenix Dragon, LY Garden or Sunflower you visit for your next spice bag, you’ll be guaranteed a tasty feed.
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