Being a Londoner is all about being the person who knows what to do and when. Knowing that if your bus gets stuck in traffic, your best move is pressing the emergency door button and hopping off. That when you go to a chicken shop you should always say it’s your birthday, because free hot wings > free cake. That knowing a few restaurant tips is one thing, but knowing exactly what to eat, when you’re in a specific area, is proper London knowledge.
So, let’s say you or your friends need something to eat in Camberwell. Suggest a Chinese, and suggest Wuli Wuli. You’ll do that specifically in the knowledge of ordering saliva chicken. And on the proviso of eating lots of it. Lots and lots of saliva chicken.
Wuli Wuli isn’t a restaurant that’s looking to woo you with poetic descriptions or head-turning interior design. It cares more about the food it’s putting down in front of you. And in the case of this cold sliced chicken in a spicy sauce, it is quite special. The chicken itself is super-moist even without your mouth watering over it, and it’s piled generously into a bowl that’s filled with sauce rich in sesame, peanuts, and chilli, topped with spring onions, fresh chilli, roasted peanuts, and cucumber. The result is a wicked bit of food. It’s wicked in flavour, and also in the smile it gives you.
Although this is hardly wink-wink-tap-tap knowledge, it’s easy to overlook or miss things on a menu that’s seven or eight pages long. Especially as, confusingly, there are two different menus at Wuli Wuli. Online or via delivery, the menu is padded out with takeaway classics. It’s only inside the restaurant that you have all of the Sichuan options: BBQ skewers, hand-pulled noodles, and hotpots. So if you do want the hand-pulled noodles - which are thick and meaty, with more chew than a Mancunian in the 90s - then you’ll need to sit in. The handmade dumplings are also similarly fat and roughly formed, but both them and the noodles have an excellent moreish quality to them. Basically you want them on your table, but not everything can come to your kitchen table. So move your arse.
Even if the noodles or dumplings at Wuli Wuli are less perfect, less precise, than other versions found in London, it’s nothing to make a deal out of. Particularly when it’s such good value here. If you are the kind of person who’s memorised every two letter X word in Scrabble and lives for a Twitter typo, then go wild, but as a Londoner you just need to care about the what and when. And in the case of Wuli Wuli, now you know.
Instantly one of our favourite things available for under a tenner. We can’t overstress the continuous basting of this glorious sauce. It’s all about that baste. And none of it should go to waste.
Decent cumin, decent cooking. At £1.80 a pop, you may as well.
Doughy and meat-filled two biters, these are the dumplings to get. The chewiness may not be to everyone’s taste, but we’re into it.
The sweet and nutty sauce that covers these chewy AF noodles is the one. Did we happily eat leftovers of these on at 10am on a Saturday morning? Yes. Yes we did.
The same big fat chewy noodles that you could lasso an enemy with, only covered in a fiery chilli oil. They’re pretty good, just not quite as moreish as the dan dan.
Patience. Patience is what you need with this bubbling, red-hot bowl of spicy aubergine. It’s delicious, but you just need to wait - no, wait - for it to cool down.