Chinese

SILK ROAD

47 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8TR

Located on Camberwell Church Street (now just one door down from its original location) Silk Road is one of the most popular spots in the area. And for good reason as it’s got to be one of the cheapest yet most delicious Chinese restaurants in London. You can spend ages in there with a big group, ordering all the food and drinking all the beers, and it’s somehow impossible to ever spend more than £15 a head. It specialises in food from the Xinjiang region and if you don’t order the smacked cucumber salad, the lamb fat skewers, the big plate chicken and the pork dumplings then you’re doing it all wrong.

YIQI

Given the trend for regional Chinese and Thai restaurants in London in recent years, its ben a while since a new place describing itself as Pan-Asian came along. But that’s what we have with YiQi, a smart new spot on Lisle Street in Chinatown, from business partners Kevin Cheong and Keng Yew, together with Stanley Lum, who was previously at Hakkasan. The menu features his take on favourite handpicked dishes from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and mainland China, and although you might think it’s hard to pull all that off, everything is done very well indeed. Favourites include the Singaporean-style oyster omelette; stir fried clams with tangy kam heong sauce; and winged bean minced chicken fried with Thai basil. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty big menu and there’s loads on there worth a go, including house speciality seafood like skate with yuzu chilli spicy sauce, and bamboo tube rice with seafood curry. Then there’s the intriguing ‘Wagyu Mousse’ for dessert. All in all, YiQi is a great new spot for Chinatown and well worth checking out. 

LANZHOU LAMIAN NOODLE BAR

Open until 1.30am during the week and 4.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, this noodle bar is the place to go when you find yourself in need of sustenance (and sanctuary) in Leicester Square. The noodles come la mian (hand-pulled) or dao xiao mian (knife-cut) and you can get them with a variety of toppings like fried pork chop, cold sliced beef, tomato & egg and dan dan sesame & shredded chicken. And if you really need nourishing, you can get them in warming soups too. Don’t get that in Burger King do ya?

7TH CAT

Ellen Chew has built quite the restaurant portfolio (including Chinatown’s Rasa Sayang) and she’s added to her Chew On This collection with Chinese spot 7th Cat inside the Empire Casino in Leicester Square. 7th Cat is all about serving up authentic Asian comfort food right on the gaming floor, meaning you can indulge in Cantonese roast duck, chargilled chicken satay, wonton noodle soup and salted egg golden lava bao buns without having to stray too far from the buzz of the blackjack and roulette tables. And because 7th Cat is inside a casino, you can get food from midday right through to 4am every single day of the week.

DIM SUM TERRACE

Dim Sum Terrace, Brompton Road, London

If the dumpling cravings strike during a designer shopping trip, the new Dim Sum Terrace at Harrods is the perfect place to go. Taking over one of only two terraces at the department store, the all-day restaurant on the fourth floor has a conservatory area and an outdoor space with awnings – if the weather is good, it’s a lovely sundowner spot with a cocktail in hand. Handmade dumplings and other dim sum dishes are the order of the day, with the likes of pork xiao long bao, turnip cake with XO sauce, duck spring rolls with hoi sin, BBQ pork char siu bao and lava custard buns on the menu. But this is Harrods so, of course, you can expect some extra high-end flourishes, like wagyu & taro croquettes topped with caviar, foie gras on scallop & prawn siu mai, and venison puffs finished with gold leaf. That means the dim sum here will set you back more than you’d pay in Chinatown, so head up to the terrace if you’re ready to splash out.

SAIKEI

If you’re looking for dim sum south of the river, Saikei in Greenwich is the place to go – with room for up to 400 people, you won’t struggle to get a seat in here. It’s all about traditional, authentic food here and the selection is extensive. The dim sum menu includes everything from prawn cheung fun and Shanghai pork buns to rainbow chicken claws and egg tarts, as well rice, noodle and congee dishes. There’s also a large a la carte menu featuring hot pot and BBQ dishes alongside Chinese classics, and if you’re looking to turn your feast into a real occasion, there are karaoke rooms at Saikei too.

LOTUS GARDEN

The main attraction at Lotus Garden is their dim sum menu: a comprehensive list of well-prepared crowd-pleasers at reasonable prices. Head to the corner of Gerrard Street and Macclesfield Street to fill up on neatly sliced cheung fun, tender parcels of xiao long bao and fluffy, sweet char siu bao without breaking the bank. Or, if you fancy something else, you’ll find all your faves on Lotus Garden’s menu, whether you’re craving crispy aromatic duck with pancakes, shredded chilli beef or classic barbequed meats with rice.

PLEASANT LADY

Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, London

The Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall has been insta-famous ever since the hatch opened up on Greek Street, and though that hatch is temporarily closed, you can still get your pancake fix at Old Spitalfields Market. Jian bing is a traditional Chinese crepe coated with egg and filled with sweet & savoury sauce, pickles, herbs and meats like char siu pork, cumin lamb and miso chicken, and it’s the perfect street food to eat whilst you mosey around the market.

1+1 ROUGAMO

For authentic Chinese food in Bloomsbury, you can’t go wrong with 1+1 Rougamo. Of course, you’ll be able to grab rougamo here (the clue’s in the name), a popular street food sandwich made with spiced pork – sometimes referred to as a ‘Chinese hamburger’. Go for a classic braised pork rougamo, or choose from the likes of beef, crispy fried duck or vegetables. If that’s not what you’re in the mood for, they’ve also got a range of traditional Xi’anese noodle dishes to choose from – and you don’t wanna miss the dumplings with sour soup.

MA LA SICHUAN

Sleek Westminster restaurant Ma La Sichuan’s extensive menu features plenty of Chinese classics but the real draw here are the Sichuan specialties, which showcase the famous numbing heat as well as the more complex flavours of fermented spiciness, spicy and sour, and spicy and sweet. Dive in with fragrant sea bass in sizzling chilli oil, chao shou dumplings, soft shell crab with chopped red chillies, spicy pig’s ear in Sichuan oil, imperial Gongbao chicken, ma po tofu, and fish fragrant aubergines.

NOBLE PALACE

At Noble Palace, just a stone’s throw from St James’s Park, the chefs draw on recipes and flavours from eight of China’s culinary regions for the food offering, while taking inspiration from the food once enjoyed by the Emperors of China’s final imperial Qing dynasty. And the menu is suitably luxe with dishes including braised Scottish lobster with udon, stir fried wagyu beef, and three different Peking duck dishes (one with Beluga caviar, one stuffed with abalone and one served with black truffle pancakes). BALLER. And over at the Mi (meaning ‘mystery’) Bar, you can choose your drinks based on… vibes. The cocktail list is filled with pictures designed to evoke feelings and emotions that are associated with tastes, and once you’ve settled on your mood/flavour profile, you’ll be served a cocktail to match.

FOOD HOUSE

Previously the site of Harbour City, Food House is in a prime Chinatown position (it’s pretty much the first thing you’ll see if you turn off of Shaftesbury Avenue onto Gerrard Street). It’s buzzy and authentic, advertising itself as a way to “experience the real Beijing without flying to Beijing”. And this place is the real deal – classic without being too old school. In fact, in 2022 Eater mused that this may be the “hippest” restaurant in central London. 

OLD TOWN 97

With a name that pays tribute to the year that Hong Kong was handed back to China from the UK, Old Town 97 is a small restaurant serving up Cantonese classics alongside a range of South East Asian dishes. Apparently, there’s a secret menu item here called ‘LSE fried rice’ which, as urban legend has it, was created by LSE students as the ideal sobering-up meal. Incidentally, this spot is open until 3.30 am – if you’re a late-night Chinese food fan, this one’s for you.

JINLI

Jinli has been raking in the awards since opening in 2015, so if you’re after Sichuan food, this one’s a solid choice. From dry pots to hot pots, the menu here is stacked with Sichuanese classics and all the mouth-numbing spice you can handle. The whole seabass is a particularly impressive dish, served in a pot of chilli oil, black bean sauce, ginger and spring onions.

FOUR SEASONS

If you’re a fan of Chinese roast duck, here’s where to get it. In fact, Four Seasons’ roast duck has been rated the world’s best by the Financial Times. Apparently, the ducks, which are reared at the prestigious Silver Hill Farm in Ireland, are played soft music which relaxes them and makes their meat more tender. Stress-free ducks, while their speciality, isn’t all that’s on offer here though, there’s plenty more on offer from the extensive, seasonally changing menu.

CAFE TPT

A small and unassuming spot on Wardour Street, Cafe TPT is a solid choice if you’re after some Chinese roast meats. Choose from duck, honey-roasted pork, crispy pork and soya chicken, or get a mix of two or three over rice. Otherwise, there are plenty of classics on the thorough menu – and you’ll find that most of them won’t set you back more than a tenner.

PLUM VALLEY

A long-standing restaurant in Chinatown, Plum Valley has been passed down through generations of the same family since the 80s. The menu is full of Cantonese and Sichuan classics, as well as a selection of hand-crafted dim sum. The name hints at an old Chinese fable which tells the story of a utopian village away from the chaos of the outside world. This is the energy Plum Valley wants to replicate, providing a tranquil escape from Chinatown’s thoroughfare, Gerrard Street.

DUMPLINGS' LEGEND

A favourite haunt of dumpling lovers, Dumplings’ Legend has an extensive list of classic dim sum, with some signatures mixed in there as well. They’re credited as being the first to put spicy pork and spicy crayfish into xiaolongbao, but if you don’t fancy trying those, you can choose from their list of 47 dim sum variations instead. All of Dumplings’ Legend’s dumplings are made fresh in their open-plan, glass-walled kitchen, so you can watch the action yourself – they apparently get through about 8000 a day.

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