There are so many places in London to indulge yourself with amazing food – and the good thing is, that it doesn’t´t always have to be expensive! Being Danish I was quite surprised to find out, that many Londoners don’t really use their kitchens for anything but storage! Londoners prefer to go out – also in their lunch-breaks!
In this post I will invite you to enjoy a taste of the Far East by exploring London’s Chinatown, which is to be found near Leicester Square, Theatreland and Soho. This bustling neighbourhood is home to a large East Asian community, who gather together for events and activities throughout the year – in particular during London’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
In Chinatown you will see dragon sculptures, stone lions, a pagoda and Chinese gates. Don’t miss the brand new fourth gate on Wardour Street – it is the largest Chinese gate in the country and is built in traditional Ching Dynasty style.
The buildings and streets in Chinatown are decorated with Chinese symbols such as dragons and lanterns.
Frenchie exploring Chinatown…
The area of Chinatown started to form in the 1950s, when a handful of Chinese restaurants opened. With other businesses and services moving in by the 1960s and 1970s the neighbourhood had become a hub for Chinese culture.
Frenchie and I love to go here for a quick bite to eat, but be warned… this is not a place for fancy outfits. In Chinatown you come as you are... and don’t expect white table-cloths! What attracts people to eat here is the amazing food at reasonable prices! I have selected a few of my favourite dishes, so you get an idea of whats being served in Chinatown. Often the menu-cards have pictures of the most popular dishes (and since the selection of food often is quite overwhelming, pictures really are appreciated!)
This is Leong’s Legend! One of my favourites!
At Leong’s Legend the staff are friendly, quick and efficient! You don’t go there for a “cosy” time! You go there because the food is amazing – particularly the dumplings
Crispy shredded turnip puff, crispy dough puff and lots of dumplings!
The dumplings are stacked in little bamboo baskets to keep them warm. We had a different selection of crab, chicken and pork dumplings! They are soooo good!
A must: Taiwanese pork bun with sliced pork belly, peanut and coriander
Frenchie had his favourite: Fried rice with mixed seafood
And I enjoyed a plate of shredded crispy beef
I really love eating with chopsticks… And somehow I always end up imitating Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid!
Panfried gyoza is an absolute must, if you are in Chinatown. Make sure to find a place, where they serve them! These are from a Korean barbecue restaurant in Soho
Korean barbecue refers to the Korean method of roasting beef, pork, chicken, or other types of meat. The dishes are often prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills that are built into the table itself (I unfortunately forgot the name of this place, but there are many great Korean barbecue restaurants in London to choose from!)
These lovely dumplings are from Dumplings Legend in Gerrard Street! This is a big restaurant, where you will be able to enjoy the chefs making dumplings behind a window. Quite entertaining!
Spicy beef noodle soup from Dumplings Legend! It is not the last time, I have had this dish!
Don’t forget to taste the oh so crispy vegetable spring rolls!
Another amazing dish you simply have to taste is shabu-shabu! I was first introduced to hotpot in Tokyo of all places – and I have been in love with it ever since! Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish of pieces of thinly sliced beef or pork cooked quickly with vegetables in boiling water and then dipped in sauce. There are many ways of eating hotpot and the selection is quite extraordinary! In London you will find a few good places – but make sure to check the prices first. Some can be quite pricy – and other are affordable
This is Frenchie all excited about his first shabu-shabu ever! We chose a normal and affordable version in Suki Chinatown – but if you want to go all in, I recommend to chose some high quality kobe beef – the taste is to die for!
Dont go crazy with the chilli or you will end up like Frenchie… ( I couldnt help myself laughing a little bit. He hate beer – but his mouth was on fire and he was out of wine!)
The last dish that I just recently was introduced to is Ramen! Ramen is wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth. It is often flavoured with soy sauce or miso with different toppings. My favourite is from Bone Daddies – a creamy, slightly spicy, sesame-based broth topped with Red Tractor halal chicken
Now, there are so many other things to see and discover in Chinatown. Often you will meet the Hare Krishnas singing and dancing in this hood and friendly people handing out leaflets for a good course
This is a petition to stop forced live organ harvesting in China!
In Chinatown there is a cure for everything!
They also offer massages! (I haven’t tried one yet)
Not really sure how I feel about the window decorations… But I guess it has its charm too
That’s it for me this time! I highly recommend to go to Chinatown if you are in London! It is a small area with so many cultural things going on! Be careful with the tourist trap restaurants – and avoid buffets! You are welcome to write to me for tips – otherwise Time out London is pretty up to date with whats good in this area!