London’s Best Chinese Restaurants (By Those Who Know)

Ben Norum
By Ben Norum Last edited 12 months ago
London’s Best Chinese Restaurants (By Those Who Know)
Hung's in Chinatown

Updated January 2016

Celebrity chef Ken Hom once declared that Chinese food in London is “equally as good as in China”. But where to find the best of it? As one of the world’s most complex cuisines, it’s hard to know.

We use the term Chinese food as a catch-all term for numerous different regional cuisines, and while restaurants might specialise and excel in one of these it is likely that other dishes might be distinctly mediocre. Menus written only half in English, confusingly similarly named restaurants and a Chinatown where tourist traps rub shoulders with some of the best Chinese eateries in the country don’t help either.

With this in mind, we spoke to London’s Chinese community (and those who know China well) to find out where, and what they choose to eat. Given that many of them are chefs at London’s top Chinese restaurants themselves, we thought they ought to know...

Cheap and cheerful

“I go to Hung’s on Wardour Street in Chinatown for the authentic congee dishes. There is a great selection of beef, pork and chicken and it’s great for when you’re working late as they are open until the early hours of the morning. If it’s too full my second choice is New Mayflower on Shaftesbury Avenue, which is also open really late. Here I order the tripe with hot chilli sauce, mixed meat seafood and oyster sauce with shahe fen (a wide noodle).”
Jason See Ming Hwa, head chef at Chai Wu restaurant in Harrod’s

“For good old fashion Chinese food I go to The Good Earth [restaurants in Knightsbridge, Wandsworth, Esher and Mill Hill]. It is great Chinese comfort cooking at its best, made with high quality ingredients.”
Ken Hom, celebrity chef

My Old Place is my favourite. The pig’s trotters are like savoury Haribo and the fuqi feipian (sliced offal in chilli oil) is as addictive as crack cocaine. There are two branches, a scruffy-looking one on Bethnal Green Road and a nicer one (which I prefer) near Liverpool Street.”
Stu Black, screenwriter who lived in China for more than six years

Regional cuisines

Taiwanese cooking at Hunan

“I go to Chilli Cool for Sichuan food — a taste of home. It’s perfect for when the parents are in town and we need something unfussy. I order pig’s ears in chilli oil and sliced fish with dry chilli.”
Qin Xie, Chinese food journalist living in London

“The best Northern chinese [and Mongolian] food is at Silk Road in Camberwell.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

Hunan in Pimlico — where the food is heavily influenced by the cuisine of Taiwan, and small plates are just brought to the table rather than ordered from a menu — is the best way of eating Chinese food without any hassle. There’s no need to stumble over a menu or plan what to order to find that balance of flavour, texture and colour that a Chinese meal should always have — they do it all for you. So long as you have prepared yourself for non-stop eating of great quality Chinese food, you will never leave Hunan with regret!”
Jeremy Pang, TV chef and founder of School of Wok in Covent Garden

Royal China Club on Baker Street serves exactly the kind of Chinese food that you would get in the best of Hong Kong restaurants. All my friends from there count this as one of their favourites when they come to London.”
Ken Hom, celebrity chef

Chuan Chuan Xiang on Little Newport Street in Chinatown (next to Baozi Inn) serves mala tang (Sichuan hotpot) skewers. It’s a tiny place with no room to eat in, but it’s proper street food with a kick. Try the ‘frozen tofu’ skewers, which really soak up the flavours of the hot and numbing soup they are cooked in.”
Stu Black, Londonist contributing editor who lived in China for more than six years

“It’s great to see so much more choice in terms of Chinese regionality. 10-15 years ago Chinatown was predominantly Cantonese food but now there are excellent restaurants serving Taiwanese — Leong’s Legends, Sichuanese — Bar Shu and Malaysian — Rasa Sayang.”
Eric Yu, owner of Chinese-inspired cocktail bar Opium in Chinatown

High-end

Grand Imperial in The Grosvenor

“I go to Kai in Mayfair, firstly because they serve a great selection of tequila and secondly because of the black bean Dover sole — it is incredibly delicious and well made.”
Ian Pengelley, executive chef at Chai Wu restaurant in Harrod’s

Grand Imperial in The Grosvenor Hotel — the food is classic, yet modern at the same time. Their homemade spinach tofu is delicious and I'm not sure why the restaurant has not had more recognition. I really enjoy a big banquet here with friends and family.”
Jeremy Pang, TV chef and founder of School of Wok in Covent Garden

China Tang in The Dorchester continues to make and serve consistently great Chinese food. Each dish is cooked perfectly and presented beautifully.”
Ken Hom, celebrity chef

Dim sum and dumplings

Dim sum at Yauatcha

“I go to Young Cheng restaurant in Chinatown for their excellent Dim Sum, although service is so-so.”
Weng Han Wong, master wok chef at Min Jiang restaurant in Kensington

Hong Kong City on New Cross Road is my favourite place for dim sum.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

“There are many great dim sum options — Yauatcha, Royal China Club and Plum Valley for those looking to splash out, or Golden Dragon and Dumplings Legend for the more budget conscious.”
Eric Yu, owner of Chinese-inspired cocktail bar Opium in Chinatown

“It has to be Yauatcha for dim sum. I typically call by for late night dining when it's 11pm and I'm at a loose end in Soho. Order spicy pork Szechuan wonton with peanut and sticky rice in lotus leaf with chicken and dried shrimp.”
Qin Xie, Chinese food journalist living in London

Jen Café  in Chinatown — it’s a Chinese 'greasy spoon' but I love the way it has hardly changed in 20 years. Their boiled or blanched dumplings are so simple, yet so tasty; there are hardly any 'intricate folds', and more concentration on getting as many dumplings made as quickly as possible because they seem to fly off the shelves as soon as they’ve been made. It’s a great place to watch the hustle and bustle of Chinatown go by.”
Jeremy Pang, TV chef and founder of School of Wok in Covent Garden

“The Cantonese dim sum at Kam Tong in Bayswater are great, with dumpling skins of the proper thinness and just the right amount of filling. I’d recommend the pork dumplings, barbecued pork puffs and king prawn cheung fun”
Rebecca Yeo, Singaporean-Chinese actress living in London

Favourite dishes

Roasted fish at Maotai Kitchen

Hong Kong Diner on Wardour Street serves fantastic beef tripe noodles.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

"A favourite dish is kao yu — a whole roasted fish (often seabass) served with tofu and sliced veg including sliced lotus root in a big dish of hot and numbing sauce. It’s perfect for sharing and when I lived in China we’d eat it regularly on Sundays in place of our roast dinner. Maotai Kitchen on Macclesfield Street in Chinatown is one of the best places I’ve tried for it.”
Stu Black, Londonist contributing editor who lived in China for more than six years

“I go to Yauatcha in Soho for the Jasmine tea smoked ribs. The flavours are extraordinary — it’s all about the seasoning and how well it pulls off the bone.”
Ian Pengelley, executive chef at Chai Wu restaurant in Harrod’s

“For roast meats and crispy pork belly, I always head to Four Seasons on Gerrard Street.”
Eric Yu, owner of Chinese-inspired cocktail bar Opium in Chinatown

“The very best Chinese buns can be found at Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

Roast duck

Roast duck at Four Seasons

“It has to be Four Seasons on Wardour Street [there are other branches on Gerrard Street and Queensway, too]. The Singapore Airlines crew have been coming here ever since it opened in 1990 and my first memories of it (pre living in London) are when my dad, a Singapore airlines crew trainer, packaged it up and brought it back to Singapore after one of his London flights. Now that I'm living in London, I have the luxury of going back regularly for my duck fix.”
Rebecca Yeo, Singaporean-Chinese actress living in London

“I honestly think that our eight-course duck tasting menu is the best and most innovative in London. If I had to choose another, it would be Royal China Club on Baker Street.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

Fusion

Flesh & Buns

A. Wong in Victoria serves truly modern Chinese food with a British touch, and it’s delicious to boot. Andrew Wong cooks with a passion and it shows through in every dish.”
Ken Hom, celebrity chef

Rasa Sayang in Macclesfield Street serves halal Singaporean and Chinese-Malaysian food — for me it’s a taste of home away from home; it's comfort food in every sense. I tend to choose the things I can’t cook at home due to lack of time, my favourites being laksa, Marmite chicken and char kway teow (stir-fried rice cakes).”
Rebecca Yeo, Singaporean-Chinese actress living in London

“I really enjoy Flesh & Buns in Covent Garden for a fusion take on classic Chinese steamed buns.”
Andrew Wong, head chef at A. Wong restaurant in Victoria

Do you know Chinese cuisine well? Where else would you recommend? let us know in the comments below.

This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.

Last Updated 19 October 2016

Gregory Botelho

Ping Pong. Discuss? ;)

Raquel

Excellent dumplings at Goldfish in Hampstead High St

Christopher

Gold Mine in Bayswater for roast duck

Greg Tingey

The old Loon Fung in Lisle St was amazing - been gone about 10 years, now, what a pity

Dave A

Harsh to allow a suggestion from chef at Min Jiang and not acknowledge that they serve outrageously good Beijing Duck.... You'll be hard pressed to find anything tastier anywhere (particularly their twist on accompaniments with garlic and pickled ginger).

JJ

Cha Cha moon in Carnaby street has got to be added to this list

Avedon

Personally, like that place where I can't remember the name but the biggest words on their sign are CHEAPEST CHINESE FOOD IN TOWN and it is, too - and the service is rude and awful and the décor looks like after a flood hit the place, but the crispy aromatic duck is GREAT.

Kaif Ahmed

What? No Wong Kei? Tsk tsk Londonist!

Fu Manchu

Amateurs...you forgot to mention the remarkable "MY OLD PLACE" in liverpool street. The best Chinese restaurant ever in London!

Timothy Jon Peter Teague

Wong Kei is the best by far http://wongkeilondon.com/

Jay jay

Wing yip

Roy

Chinese Cricket Club at the Crowne Plaza The City, modern Chinese/Szechuan and Dim sum! Best Chinese food I had in a long time!

Andrea Liu

Nobody goes to the Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater without eating lobster noodles ... nom nom nom!

Katie Skinner

Imperial China on Lisle street. and the Drunken Monkey on Shoreditch High Street. Both great dim sum places.

Nik von Pueckler

Does anyone know a good place that also delivers?

Simon Wilson

sho long bao dumplings at Beijing Dumpling on Lisle Street in China Town - simply the best... and the ladies who make them are lovely :)

Felix

For anyone interested in learning more about the history and culture of Dim Sum check out www.dimsumapprentice.com and www.facebook.com/dimsumapprent...

Nima

Excellent spicy beef noodle soup for only £8 at Baozi Inn, in Chinatown. I've been going there just for the soup for almost 2 years now.

Meng

Bao in Soho should have been on the list. Proper Taiwanese. It's made almost every other 2015 list after all.

Joseph Chin

An updated list would include Xi'an Impression in Holloway for sure. Cheap, cheerful, and genuinely awesome Sichuan streetfood across from the Emirates Stadium!

Nick Beaumont

Glad to see a couple of my favourties included in the list. These are my top picks:

Chang’s Noodle - Henan
Baiwai - Sichuan
My Old Place - Sichuan
Xi’an Impressions Xi'an
Murger Han - Xi'an
Leong’s Legend Taiwanese
Liao Wei Feng - Dongbei
Lanzhou Noodle Bar - Lanzhou

If I had to pick a favourite, I'd say Xi'an Impressions - their 'Chinese burgers' are the best in London by some margin - Murger Han in London does a decent job too though.

www.feedingfen.com

Lindy

Take a look at TPT at Wardour St. Authentic dishes and the prices are reasonable. Try sizzling stuffed tofu & aubergines, granny chicken and wine broth, most of the pictures of the dishes on the wall are worth trying and the mango and grapefruit beasn curd desert. Its Chinese eateries so forget about customer service. Most places with tasty food only care about the food they serve and not the service. Basically they sell food and not service. Preempt that!

Josh

I agree. This is one of the top Chinese restaurants in London. Thanks for a nice article by those who know.
You can find more Chinese food places nearby at http://tinyurl.com/h55roa5

Ed Jacks

Which one is burning down in Soho, (Sunday pm)

Kieran Dyke

I have a good record with Maximini (Lancaster Gate), although it is Chinese with a Malaysian accent.

LC Koh

Sorry but a list like this that does not mention Goldmine in Bayswater is just not good enough!

Wei Xu

Old Street Chinese Restaurant is the bomb! Can not ask for a better 地三鲜 anywhere!

Alan Gurling

I feel like I've been misled by this article. With the number of Chinese restaurants in London, you'd think congee would be easier to find, but no!

Hung's "authentic congee" tastes nothing of the sort. It's basically concentrated ginger rice gruel. :/

Can anyone recommend a place that actually does good congee?