By Jeanne Kessira @jeannegkay
The latest culinary opening on West Green Road is offering pan-Asian street food to local residents with bold flavours and generous portions. Makimayo has its origins on Brick Lane, but its founders are locals of N15. It’s a family affair – run by Gary and his mom Ah Mooi Luh.
Known in the East End for their instagrammable popcorn chicken served in a cone, Makimayo became popular with tourists and Londoners alike and expanded to include three more stalls around Shoreditch. After four years, the stall needed a permanent home and, as residents of Seven Sisters themselves, the family thought there’d be no better place to settle down than West Green Road.
The food is for the most part Korean-inspired. Many of the recipes come from Luh herself, whom Gary describes as an avid and talented cook (and credits her for playing an important role in founding Makimayo after originally wanting to launch a fish and chip shop). To keep in line with the history of the space, previously a Chinese take-away, the menu also includes a few familiar options like Gyoza, wantons and chicken wings.
The main section of the menu is a ‘you choose we cook’ system. Customers choose a size, a filling and preparation style, and a sauce to go with it. The many sauces – seventeen, to be exact – cater to a wide range of palates with sweet, nutty, and spice-laden options. Popular choices include the Lala or Gangnam sauce, and there’s even an eponymous house special, a mayonnaise blend whose secrets Luh won’t divulge. Noodles and rice bowls complete the offer.
I have a hard time deciding what to choose, so Luh steps in and recommends the Gangnam chicken. The chicken pieces come deep fried and drenched in a thick and syrupy sauce. Although they aren’t currently serving in the paper cones – reserved for the stalls in Shoreditch – they’re able to dig one up for my order. The chicken is well prepared and crispy and the sauce sweet, sour and with a slight spicy kick.
I also opt for the kimchi fried rice, a popular Korean dish that Luh insists is one patrons come especially for. The large bowl comes filled to the brim and topped with a fried egg. Luh tells me the egg is known as a ‘moon’ and the yolk is meant to be broken and stirred into the rest before eating. The fried rice has bits of spicy fermented cabbage running through it, along with chunks of pork and chicken and is topped with fried tofu, spinach, bean sprouts, scallions, and long enokitake mushrooms. It’s bright and fresh, and the size is more than enough for one sitting.
So far, Gary says the reception has been positive. Patrons are keen on the big portions and colourful options. Gary eventually wants to include ramen on the menu as well as more veg and vegan options in addition to the tofu already offered. A welcome addition to the neighbourhood’s growing food scene – we wish them the best of luck!