chinese new year coming up

its chinese new year next week,  the year of the pig;  check out what events are running because a lot of cities celebrate the new year in their china towns. did you know that pigs are diligent, compassionate, and generous. they have great concentration: once they set a goal, they will devote all their energy to achieving it.  my son alfie falls into this year, just by one day!  so this year should be his year…..

i know that some of you have followed my blog for quite a while, its now 9 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, hakasan, yuatcha, ping pong and A Wong, all very good quality food, slightly designer chinese food, but all very expensive!  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 visit the traditional phoenix palace near baker street, its fine, but not as good quality as royal china, but equivalent in price and a good alternative if you hate queuing.  opposite royal china on baker street, there is bright courtyard –  quite up market –  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.  pearl liang in paddington basin is also good quality.

we visited the newly revamped chinese food centre in Colindale, Bang Bang – this used to be called the oriental plaza and we frequented this place with Robert’s mother many years ago, but sadly closed to redevelop;  now its re opened and its busy, bigger and still self serve, basically one gigantic food court with over 20 different choices of asian food.

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.

I just went to china town and like all cities, things come and go.  You need to check all the links and make sure that they are up to date.   Thats the problem with london, so fast changing,  You can put in Joy King Lau as a good option in chinatown, but  I don’t think it has the trolley dim sum – not sure any of the restaurants offer this, though I have seen some chinese restaurants walk around with a few of the chinese popular dim sum dishes offering them out.   Another one that we go to for dumplings is Dumplings Legend, which has nice freshly made dumplings, with the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, where the soup is in the dumpling!!!    Duck and Rice is more westernised and is leaning towards higher end pub style food, but does give you quite tasty food, but its pricey.

new years celebration start in china town in the next week, but remember that they will all be unusually busy the next 2 weekends.  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.

in manchester we take my mother to dim sum – tai pan, which is just outside of the city centre, but is easy to park and is consistently good standard;  i have found that parking in manchester has become very expensive, and even on a weekend you have to pay up to 8pm.   there are a lot of reasonable chinese restaurants in manchester – chinatown is a place that i frequented all through my childhood.  my mother was a waitress at the yang sing restaurant all through my childhood years, so dim sum was (and still is) a regular occurence and my kids still love it.

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