chinese new year – year of the monkey

its chinese new year on 8th february,  the year of the monkey, but the celebrations in london start on 14th february.

People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterised as quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, but it is also believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar.  i have to admit, january has been a terrible month for me – lets hope the rest of the year brings more joy!
The general image of people in this zodiac sign is of always being smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth.
They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.

i know that some of you have followed my blog for quite a while, its now 6 years old, but as life is constantly changing, then so does the information that i have given you. sometimes i re blog a blog either to update the info or just to remind myself – so forgive me if i sometimes sound repetitive. i am constantly asked about dim sum restaurants and where i like to go with the family – so here is my list.

there are so many mediocre and over priced restaurants that it can put you off eating traditional chinese food.  there are of course the designer ones, hakasanyuatcha, ping pong and gilgamesh, all very good quality food, slightly designer chinese food, but all very expensive!  gilgamesh is the teenagers choice, trendy interior and more like a nightclub style restaurant in new york!  dinner at Hutong in the shard is an experience – its a fabulous view and the food delicious, though very spicy – you can ask for some of the dishes to be made not so hot. there is definitely a wow factor when you see all the views of london lit up. i know that the viewing platform is higher, but if you are going to pay to just see the view, it may be worth just going for one course or a drink in the bar to experience it. i think that all the restaurants and drinks are pricey in these tall buildings, but you may as well eat and drink than just pay the £25 into the viewing platform.

my kids just love the traditional chinese barbecue roast pork, or char siu and roast duck, which is only sold in the more everyday style restaurants, so we frequent the following restaurants – royal china in baker street (always busy, so be prepared to queue), wing yip in cricklewood, a very big busy and noisy traditional restaurant, great value, and you can then do your food shopping in the vast supermarket adjoined to it, again very busy. imperial china restaurant on lisle street, actually its through a door and courtyard on lisle street, but very good and moderately priced and then there is the good earth in mill hill, which is a smart smaller restaurant, but perfect for taking grandmas to – robert’s mum loved this place and it was close to her house!   we recently discovered the phoenix palace near baker street, its fine, but not as good as royal china, but equivalent in price.  opposite royal china on baker street, there is bright courtyard –  quite up market – they have ipads to order from which totally put my son off the restaurant – but its high quality dim sum, similar in price to royal china;  sometimes, we really cant wait in the queue at royal china so have tried this one a couple of times. princess garden of mayfair is very good quality and you can book at lunchtime which is a rarity.

we tried a new very different restaurant recently A Wong – we had lunch, which is dim sum, but very designer, but not too expensive.  i was divided in opinion, some were good, some were over thought out, but Robert absolutely loved it!  dinner is a different experience apparently.

for authentic trolley style dim sum restaurant – stop the trolleys that look apetising to choose your food, then try new world near gerrard street.  so appropriately its the new years celebration in china town next weekend, but remember that they will all be unusually busy this weekend.  a good tip on normal weekends is to go either very early, ie mid day or even just before, or after 2.30pm, you wont have to queue so much.

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