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Lonely Planet Writer

Where to find the best Chinese food in London

With so much choice, it can be hard to track down the best Chinese food in London. The city’s appetite for fresh, regional cooking has set the bar high with quality food reminiscent of the dishes found in China. Shu Lin, food vlogger and enthusiast, has done the hard, and delicious, work for you: bringing you our top recommendations for Chinese food in London.

A selection of Sichuan and Hunan dishes at Yipin restaurant. The close-up shot shows a chicken dish, a beef dish, green vegetables and chillies, rice, noodles and seafood in black and white bowls.
A delectable selection of Sichuan and Hunan dishes at Yipin © Shu Shi Lin / Lonely Planet

Yipin China

If you can handle spice, Yipin China in Islington will leave your taste buds numb with pleasure from the sheer amount of chilli peppers used in the Hunan and Sichuan dishes.

Order the boiled fish with sizzling chilli oil, deep fried beef with cumin, stewed pork belly with preserved vegetables and the dan dan noodles. A delectable mixture of vibrant, highly spiced and mouth-watering food – just make sure to have tea or an ice cold beer nearby.

Shu Shi Lin raising pork biang biang noodles into the air from a bowl using a fork. Shu is looking up at the noodles in delight, there are two other saucy dishes on the table in white bowls with a blue pattern.
Shu eating pork biang biang noodles at Master Wei © Shu Shi Lin / Lonely Planet

Master Wei

After heading up the kitchen at Xi’an Impression, Guirong Wei has opened up her first solo restaurant in Bloomsbury. Bringing authentic Shaanxi cuisine to London, Master Wei offers the city a chance to taste the best of Xi’an food.

The signature traditional LiangPi noodles (with chicken) is a must order. Expect delicious light bites of springy, slippery strands of noodles seasoned in a mild chilli sauce. The sour and spicy pork dumplings give stomachs a particularly warm welcome on a cold day.

Don’t leave without trying the pork biang biang noodles with a tomato-and-egg sauce and chilli oil. The hand-pulled noodles are made fresh and offer a comforting, satisfying eat.

Yauatcha

Yauatcha in Soho offers contemporary dim sum and touches the heart with its elegant interiors, delicate bites and innovative cocktails.

Order the scallop shui mai and seafood black truffle dumplings. With masterful presentation, impeccable quality and moody lighting, Yauatcha provides an allure that seems worlds away from the usual Sunday dim sum brunches.

Remember to make room for the seasonal desserts. Each one is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

A close up of lamb skewers at Silk Road, Camberwell. Several skewers are piled on a white plate with some other rice dishes in soft focus in the background
Lamb skewers at Silk Road, a great spot for value and flavour © Shu Shi Lin / Lonely Planet

Silk Road

Being able to get a delicious lamb skewer in London for £1 is hard to believe, but Camberwell's Silk Road (49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR) has continued to impress diners over the years with its no-nonsense approach to serving up quick, affordable and tasty food.

Specialising in North-Western Xinjiang food, this spot is a must visit for those who favour spicy and flavourful dishes. The small, fatty chunks of lamb are generously dusted with cumin, salt and chilli before being roasted over charcoal.

Order the ‘Big Plate Chicken’ too – a generous pot of chicken (with bone), potatoes, green chilli, preserved chilli and wide belt noodles. And don’t forget to slurp the broth at the end!

Four Seasons

Four Seasons, which has four branches in West London, has one of the best Cantonese-style roast ducks in the city. Fired up in a special furnace, this dish is best served warm and dipped in the sweet, tangy plum sauce. An authentic taste of Hong Kong, you’ll waddle out nursing a food baby and a smile.

Shu Shi Lin holding up a white paper tub and lifting some very saucy noodles out of it with chopsticks. Shu is looking up at her hand and smiling.
Shu chowing down on spicy noodles at Dumpling Shack © Shu Shi Lin / Lonely Planet

Dumpling Shack

Nestled amongst London’s favourite street eats at Old Spitalfields Market, Dumpling Shack has brought innovative Chinese street food to the masses.

Opt for the shengjianbaos (pork and leek soup dumplings); these piping hot parcels of delight are made fresh and will set your taste buds alight.

For noodle enthusiasts, the spicy dan dan beef noodles will hit the spot. Each strand is coated with homemade spicy sesame sauce and topped with Sichuan-style minced beef.

Jen Cafe

It’s hard to miss the dumpling-making display at Jen Cafe, just off Leicester Square. The interiors are simple with its jade green tables and simple stools, but the magic exists in the cheap and cheerful menu.

For a taste of nostalgic cooking, a bowl of Beijing pork and vegetable dumplings in broth ought to do the trick. Top with vinegar and chilli oil, and complement with a freshly brewed tea.

A close up of king prawn silver cod crispy red rice cheung fun at Hakkasan
King prawn silver cod crispy red rice cheung fun at Hakkasan © Shu Shi Lin / Lonely Planet

Hakkasan

Hakkasan offers modernised Cantonese cuisine, surround by decadent décor, and is a guaranteed hit for special occasions.

The silver cod with champagne and honey screams opulence: you’ll struggle to keep your table manners in check and not lick the plate clean. Order the prawn and silver cod crispy red rice cheung fun, and taste each delicate layer of the morel mushroom and mooli puff.

Golden Gate Cake Shop

With rows of fresh-out-of-the-oven egg tarts and cream-filled Chinese cakes decorating the windows, Golden Gate Cake Shop in London's Chinatown, has a shining reputation as having the best oriental pastries and desserts in London.

For a special treat, surprise a loved one with the customisable birthday cakes or take home savoury barbecued roast pork buns, walnut cookies or maybe some buttery, soft winter melon wife cakes. A welcome sight after a long day eating around London. It’s hard work but somebody has to do it…

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