Local guides

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Published 06 February 2024

Chinatown, London

London local and founder of vegetarian Chinese supper club YING’S, Alice Hale has grown up enjoying the best of London’s Chinatown. With Lunar New Year around the corner, she shares her 8 favourite spots, what to expect and what to order.

One of my favourites is Chinese Tapas House for jianbing, a Chinese street food similar to a crêpe with an egg, coriander, chilli sauce and cracker inside. You can choose extra fillings, I like to add pickles. These can be really spicy so ask for less spice if you don’t like it too hot! It’s takeaway only and can be a little bit of a wait at peak times.

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Jianbing from Chinese Tapas House

I grew up going to Chinatown Bakery for BBQ pork buns, curry chicken buns and spring onion chicken floss rolls. For dessert the taiyaki (little fish shaped cakes) are very cute, I have great memories of watching these getting made in the window as a child. The black sesame and red bean buns are also great sweet options. I like to buy a less-sugar soy milk carton or milk tea and eat these outside on the tables in the warmer weather. The pandan cakes and swiss rolls are also great to take home!

Where to eat in Chinatown a local’s top 8
Spring onion chicken floss roll from Chinatown Bakery

Head to Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar for hand pulled noodles and knife cut noodles. Sticky floors, fast and efficient service and you might have to share your table with other customers in this small, crowded eatery, but a quick and comforting big bowl of noodles is what you come for. Other dishes on the menu are good too like the Disanxian (three treasures from the earth).

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Disanxian (three treasures from the earth) and noodles at Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar

Wong Kei is a classic Chinatown restaurant, it’s old school and still cash only. I like to order sweet and sour pork, rice and pak choi here or char siu and rice but the menu has a lot of options.

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Duck and rice at Wong Kei

The takeaway Taiwanese fried popcorn chicken at Good Friend has become an addiction of mine. There is always a queue, go in and order, get your ticket and listen out for your number to be called. Let them know what spices and flavourings you want, I always go for plum, chilli and seaweed.

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Popcorn chicken from Good Friend

Go to Dumplings’ Legend for xiao long bao (soup dumplings), I recommend the spicy pork ones. They also have private rooms with KTV (karaoke) available for hire, perfect for birthday parties!

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Xiao long bao at Dumpling's Legend

My family always went to Imperial China for dim sum growing up. Go with a big group and order lots of dim sum. My favourites are har gow, siu mai, char siu bao, cheung fun, lo bak go and egg custard tarts. It also has private rooms with KTV.

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8
Custard tarts at Imperial China

Hidden away down a back alley you'll find Lo's Noodle Factory where you can buy freshly made ho fun and cheung fun. For Lunar New Year they are also selling new year pudding. They supply many of Chinatown's restaurants.

Where to eat in Chinatown: a local’s top 8

Alice Hale runs YING'S, Vegetarian Chinese Supper Clubs.