I never get use to the food here while I’m studying aboard. In my opinion, Asian food are much better than the Western, and I really enjoy ordering table of different foods for sharing! Well, it’s kind of a joke to us if a western say they love Chinese food and all they order is Chow Mein or egg fried rice!
Tips about ordering in a Chinese restaurant or take away:
-China is huge. In order to get the best specialty dish from the chef you first have to know which part of China are they come from.
-Get pass the buffet, massive menu or set menu serve with rice or noodle, that probably the worst dishes in a Chinese restaurant. I know some owner ever provide a separate menu to us than westerner, less option but much better dishes.
-Be open minded. Don’t ever feel like you know well about Chinese dishes, even I don’t! So try out more than just those dishes you think it’s Chinese.
Chinese food in Chinatown is not satisfying (most of them are expensive and not good at all), and here is my 5 picks of some proper Chinese food:
1. 味缘 Crystal China Restaurant & Bar, London Bridge, SE1 4TP
15-20 pound/pp, for sharing
My new favorite Chinese restaurant! Specialized in 麻辣香锅 northern chili dry hot pot, beware it’s hardcore spicy and in big portion for sharing. You can pick the ingredients as you like and each charge you a different pierces and pick the level of spice you want(little spice is already challenging). Then the chef will fry the ingredients with chili, herbs and spices and serve in a big pot. If you’re up for a bit more gentle taste, Braised Pork Belly and fry aubergine are my recommendations.
2. 西安人家 Xian Ren Jia, Deptford, SW20 8RE
6-10 pound/pp, individual dining
This is the biggest reveal of my secret dining spot! It’s located next to the Sai Restaurant in a yellow building, with no records on any website or exact address of the restaurant. People can easily missed out because of its tiny door or dim lighting. Despite its low profile, they offers one of the best handmade noodle in London! They have Chinese buffet and a big menu like the other but the waiting lady will only suggest us to order from a menu that only have 4 noodles and 2 buns. The noodle dish is very authentic in the historical region Xian in China.
3. 新世纪Saikei Restaurant, Greenwich, SE10 0GD
12-15 ounds/pp, for sharing
Sorry if I roll my eyes when you all know about Dim Sum is spring rolls and siu mai. Dim sum eating and what we call yum cha (mean drinking tea) in a cha lou (mean tea inn) is an original Hong Kong tradition. Usually we eat dim sum in breakfast or for lunch with our family. We order dim sum by ticking on a paper listed 30+ dim sum from categories like steam, fry, boil, deep fry to dessert, taste depends on the level of the chef. Saikei is probably one of the best Chinese restaurants providing proper dim sum in London(better than those famous one in Chinatown).
4. Uncle Wrinkle, New Cross, SE14 6AS
5-8 pound/pp, take away
My favorite Chinese take away just a block away from my uni. Opened by a couple from Hong Kong that lived here for 30 years. It’s better to get take away than eat in since just a small shop with 3 tables and a open kitchen. You can get the real taste of Canton dishes, it’s a bit different from typical Chinese dishes, with slightly sweeter taste that I love. Even taste rice is different! They sometimes make a chef special that are really good like tender pork feet that will soon be sold out by student like me. Aware that its only open after 5pm and close on Tuesday. Must try their Yeung Chau fried rice, chicken wings and plum sauce lamp.
5. 寬窄巷子Mapo, Surrey Quey, SE16 2UN
6-10pound/pp, take away 10-15 pound/pp, for sharing
The Chinese name is one of the attractions in northern China, Sichuan regions and Mapo is a representative way of cooking a spicy food. The restaurant makes amazing spicy dishes from cold starters, warm starters to main dishes and all you can eat hot pot as well. Surprisingly, they make some proper roast meat that suppose to be from the eastern region like Hong Kong but not northern regions. Trying the roast duck and pork belly with a mouthful of steamed rice is a must(not a fan of their roast pork Cha Siu tho).