London is home to hundreds of Chinese restaurants, which can make it pretty difficult to determine where’s good to go.
That’s why we’ve picked out some of our favourite haunts to help you enjoy an evening filled with delicious, warming food that hopefully won’t break the bank.
Whether you want classic aromatic duck, or a modern take on traditional Chinese cuisine, we’ve got it covered. So grab a few mates, order some booze and eat to your heart’s content at these fabulous restaurants.
Step into Chinese Laundry with its patterned wallpaper and kitsch lampshades, and you’ll think you’ve stepped back in time. Inspired by the founders’ childhood growing up in Beijing in the 80s, the menu is full of lesser-known specialities such as fermented foods and dishes that have been slow-cooked for hours “how grandma does it”.
Try the Manchurian Lamb, which is twice-cooked lamb belly (first it’s slow-cooked in fermented soybean paste and then it’s fried for a crispy finish), pair it with the smashed cucumber, which is a refreshing and light accompaniment for the heavier dishes.
Feeling brave? Try the century egg (pictured on the right), a Chinese delicacy that involves preserving the egg for two weeks in clay and salt, among other things. At Chinese Laundry, they encourage sharing plates and recommend between three to five dishes for a party of two.
Chinese Laundry, 107 Upper St, Islington, N1 1QN
020 7686 6847
The Michelin-starred restaurant in Mayfair has a trendy interior that oozes class, yet has a relaxed atmosphere.
The ‘Taste Of Hakkasan’ menu is an affordable way to try a selection of food, including the dim sum (which is to die for). It’s £38 per person for three courses including one of their signature cocktails.
The starter dim sum selection with a Szechuan salad was a highlight. There’s a large selection of mains, including several vegetarian options, all of which come with seasoned veg and jasmine rice. The Sanpei chicken clay pot is incredibly flavoursome with a tang of chilli.
If you can fit in dessert and are a chocolate fan, try the Jivara bomb comprising milk chocolate, hazelnut praline and rice krispies.
Hakkasan, 17 Bruton St, Mayfair, London, W1J 6QB
020 7907 1888
Tucked into the eastern corner of China Town, Canton offers a rather more primitive dining experience than its rivals on the main strip. But what it lacks in furnishings, it more than makes up for in charming service and authentic Cantonese cuisine.
The compact restaurant is a favourite among London’s Chinese community who come for its Szechuan specialties. The crispy BBQ duck is a personal favourite. If you want a taste of China without the sky-high airfares, Canton is the one.
Canton, 11 Newport Place, London, WC2H 7JR
020 7437 6220
Yauatcha is the kind of place you’d take your parents or a date you really, REALLY liked. The decor is stylish, but not over the top, and the atmosphere is vibrant.
The dim sum menu is well-priced and has a lot on offer – the melt in your mouth venison puffs (£5.80), crispy lobster rolls (£9.80) and multi-textured prawn and beancurd cheung fun (£9.20) are absolutely delicious. The spicy pork Szechuan wontons with peanut (£4.90) turn the heat up a notch, but are equally tasty. Each dish comes with new and exciting flavours. Washed down with a mandarin and chilli iced tea, you can’t really go wrong.
Surprisingly, four dim sum dishes is enough to fill up two people, but if you’re feeling extra hungry it’s worth ordering 1/4 crispy duck which comes with pancakes, cucumber and plum sauce.
Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F 0DL
020 7494 8888
There are numerous Ping Pong restaurants across London, but the Shepherd’s Bush branch is a personal favourite. The restaurant is always buzzing which makes for a fantastic atmosphere.
The menu and ordering process is a little unusual, as you mark what you want on a slip of paper and your order is then taken.
It’s good to get lots of dishes to share – the honeyed chilli chicken and mushroom rice pot has a hearty spice kick, but is equally delicious. The crispy duck rolls are a great combination of veg spring rolls and aromatic crispy duck. The steamed buns are tasty and come with various fillings – try the char sui bun, which comes with honey barbecued pork. The cocktails are also a must-try, with prices starting from £6.55.
The great thing about Ping Pong is that the prices are affordable and there are lots of restaurants across London, which means late booking isn’t a problem. You simply walk in and wait.
Ping Pong, Westfield London, Southern Terrace, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7SH
020 7952 5310