It may be the Year of the Rat, but you certainly won’t find any rats in the kitchens of these Chinese restaurants. Saturday 25th January marks the first day of the Year of the Rat, a year associated with wealth, surplus, and the beginning of a new day, and where better than the country’s finest Chinese restaurants to celebrate this joyous occasion?
Read all about our favourite Chinese restaurants in the UK below, and for even more choice, be sure to pick up your FREE copy of one of our food and drink guides here or read a digital version of our guides here.
For top-notch Chinese cuisine in the heart of Coventry, look no further than China Red. The menu showcases a medley of dishes, from age-old favourites like dim sum to intriguing house specials, all of which are made to order by the skilled chefs. Particularly popular options include duck in oyster sauce, Thai red curry, spicy Szechuan-style dishes, and the selection of warming hotpots. An all-you-can-eat banquet menu is available every day of the week; priced at a very affordable £17 it’s the perfect choice for those looking for variety. Rather than being presented with a buffet, diners are invited to peruse the lengthy menu before ordering their dishes to be freshly made and delivered to the table while piping hot. The menu also offers plenty of choice for those with special dietary requirements.
After enjoying a wonderful meal here, why not continue your evening with a visit to the stylish karaoke lounge? It can also be hired for special events like weddings and birthday parties.
After two successful years selling her internationally renowned Chinese dumplings to the public, Jian Wang opened Chop Chop, a first-rate Chinese restaurant that has been impressing diners since 2006. The best way to sample them, is during a visit to Chop Chop, which has retained its AA rosette every year since 2010. Chop Chop regulars will tell you that you simply must start your meal with jiao zi – mouth-watering traditional dumplings filled with a variety of meat and vegetables. Particularly popular choices include lamb and cumin, as well as pork and cabbage. For your main course, try the spicy garlic squid, or sweet and sour pork ribs – tender meat falls off the bone and is infused with a rich, sweet vinegar and soy sauce dressing.
Jian travels to China every year to search for new recipes, ingredients and styles in order to maintain Chop Chop’s well-earned reputation as one of Edinburgh’s best Chinese restaurants.
As its name suggests, The Dumpling Tree specialises in delicious dumplings prepared on-site to produce mouth-wateringly fresh dishes. The Dumpling Tree also takes inspiration from the Yunnan area of China. Here, locals live in harmony with nature and enjoy a range of honest, earthy dishes that provide a good balance of nutrients and flavours. The team at The Dumpling Tree aims to recreate such plates for the people of Cambridgeshire and the menu offers a refreshing change from the dishes typically associated with Chinese cuisine.
The list of appetisers includes a zesty seaweed salad, a crunchy cucumber salad and warm, regional dishes like homemade pan-fried cheese. Silky wontons make for a perfect light main – these are particularly delicious when served in soup – while dumplings filled with the likes of pork and kimchi, and tofu and green beans, can be enjoyed either boiled or fried. Noodle soups are a particularly popular option too, and the variety of specials is enticing and impressive. Who can resist crispy and aromatic roast duck, or a dish of tantalising chilli chicken?
The next best thing to visiting a new place is discovering its cuisine. If Macau is anything like the fusion of flavours its cuisine is known for, it must be an exhilarating place. At Macau Kitchen, chef-patron Kei de Freitas has created a concise menu that showcases the food of the South East Asian port founded by Portuguese traders in the 16th century.
Certainly Macanese cuisine is new to Edinburgh and this small specialist restaurant is probably unique in the UK, so we needed to get up to speed. Kei and his wife Hoeyyn happily answered our questions as we sipped the wine we’d brought along – you too can bring your own booze for just a £5 corkage fee. The Asian addition in the crisp pastry empada was the spice-infused potatoes, while the polvo salad blended imported Portuguese-style squid with Asian spices and herbs to create the most exquisite of flavour combinations. To follow, the bacalhau à Macau, delicate cod cooked with coconut milk, turmeric and shrimp, melted into the rice beautifully.
The longevity of a restaurant is surely proof of its level of quality. North China, a successful Chinese restaurant on the Acton-Ealing border, has been in business for 43 years, and its focus on excellent cuisine and fantastic service means that it is as popular today as it was in 1976.
You’ll immediately notice the sound of lively chatter, and the staff couldn’t be friendlier. Of course, the food is consistently great and a whole host of well-prepared and flavourful dishes are on offer. Spicy, sticky ribs or crispy aromatic duck would be a fine way to start. You might like to dig into sizzling lamb paired with spring onion next, or flash-fried king prawns accompanied by monkfish and scallops. There is also a host of delicious rice and noodle dishes to choose from. Finish with crispy pancakes, or a scoop or two of ice cream. As you might expect, fixed-price set menus are available if you’re having trouble deciding. North China garners praise from all who visit, and was also a winner at the Time Out Love London Awards in 2015 and 2016.
Named after the traditional East-meets-West architectural style unique to Shanghai, this slick restaurant captivates guests with its modern Chinese cuisine, which combines the cooking techniques of the east and west. Shikumen’s interior echoes the luxurious feel of the rest of the four-star Dorsett Hotel, in which the restaurant is housed. Once inside, you’ll find yourself in smart and comfortable surrounds, and discover a menu brimming with an array of authentic Chinese dishes made using top-quality ingredients. Every option is packed full of flavour and presented wonderfully. The chefs are masters of producing exquisite handmade dim sum, which is reason enough to return for more of the same.
From the à la carte menu, whole sea bass with ginger and spring onion, braised pork belly served with Chinese buns, and roasted lamb cutlets are great choices, especially when accompanied by a delicious cocktail from the enticing list. Alternatively, opt for a cup of Chinese tea to accompany your food – whatever you order, you’ll find the perfect tipple to pair with your meal.
Dating back to 1800, The Sharnford Arms occupies a central position in the village of Sharnford. A favourite haunt with locals and a popular spot with visitors, this delightful pub can be found a short drive away from Hinckley and less than half an hour from Leicester. Its location adjacent to the Fosse Meadows Country Park also makes this pub the perfect meeting point for ramblers and dog-walkers. The team loves dogs, so much so that the pub won the Most Dog-Friendly Pub award for Leicestershire.
With its friendly atmosphere and fantastic range of real ale, wine and beer, The Sharnford Arms retains the most important elements of a traditional English pub, while also offering a mouth-watering menu of Chinese fare. Begin with a starter: the crispy seaweed is sure to whet your appetite and the barbecue spare ribs are deliciously sweet and sticky. When choosing a main, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There’s a range of beef, chicken, pork, duck and seafood plates on offer: the sweet and sour dishes are firm favourites and the freshly made chow mein is perfect as a side or main. If you’d like to try something different, sample one of the chef’s special dishes such as the Wandering Dragon – a tasty combination of king prawns, chicken, vegetables, and garlic in oyster and Cantonese sauce.
If you’re a fan of Chinese food, you’re sure to love Sans. Established in 2006, it’s a top choice for Chinese and pan-Asian dining in the medieval market town of Henley-in-Arden. Focusing on high-quality, fresh ingredients, the team promises a variety of well-loved favourites and a few lesser-known specialities that incorporate regional Chinese and Thai flavours. Sans offers a wide variety of classics such as sweet and sour chicken and chicken chow mein, as well as signature dishes including spicy pork yuk sung, Thai honey and chilli king prawns and fillet steak in sweet Cantonese king do sauce. The extensive menu offers something for everyone, and if you’re having a hard time deciding you can choose from a range of set banquet menus.
The sumptuous seafood banquet will take you on a culinary journey, introducing you to a delicious spicy squid starter, minced prawn and scallop yuk sung, and lobster with ginger and spring onions to name but a few highlights. Sans hosts regular music nights and is a highlight of Henley-in- Arden’s annual music festival.
Wok to Go is a popular and thriving takeaway spot in the heart of central Cardiff. This venue serves delicious, authentic Chinese and Thai cuisine, using traditional wok cooking. The open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs prepare your dish, adding to the overall experience. To start, the sticky barbecue spare ribs are always a great choice. For main, the king prawn Thai red curry is a flavoursome favourite among regulars. The aromatic crispy duck is delicious, and is served with pancakes, sweet hoisin sauce and fresh vegetables. The chow mein dish showcases the finest seasonal vegetables and is a lovely alternative for vegetarians.
All dishes are cooked to order, using delicious fresh ingredients and not a pinch of MSG. This restaurant can cater for everyone, as many dishes can be made to suit gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets and other dietary requirements.
Described by The Times’ critic Giles Coren as ‘possibly the best authentic Chinese-Malaysian in the country’, as soon as we stepped into Zheng on Oxford’s foodie-favourite Walton Street, we knew we were in for something quite exceptional.
The comprehensive and exciting menu offers Eastern cuisine to suit all tastes, with Malaysian, Singaporean, Szechuan, Cantonese and Shanghai dishes all included, and halal meat available. We began with succulent and delicious Malaysian chicken satay skewers, before enjoying the sen chai bau: crunchy lettuce-wrapped vegetables with a hoisin sauce. Yet more wonderful flavours came courtesy of the tasty rendang chicken, which had been slow-cooked in coconut milk, and hot and spicy peppercorn king prawns that were rich with garlic.
As we had also been informed that the chefs at Zheng make fresh tofu every day to satisfy diner demand, we simply had to try some of this clearly very popular ingredient, and were blown away by the chai pu tofu. Served with Chinese dried radish, chilli and spring onions, this was far and away the best tofu dish I had ever tasted.