You can try and disguise it with as much clotted cream and as many filters as you can, England, but there’s no way of putting this gently: your food is -generally speaking- shit.
Lucky for me, London is the definition of a cultural melting pot. You’re hard-pressed to hear or see real, live British people because of all the tourists and the vastly diverse local demographic. For someone who can only eat fish & chips so many times sober, this is GREAT news food-wise. I took it upon myself to do a pub crawl of sorts through London. Only it featured Chinese restaurants instead of pubs and food comas instead of blackouts.
A few things to note for all you American “Chinese” food enthusiasts. 1) Do not assume that your meat will come with rice. Because it does not. And if you do not order extra rice you will be left sad, hungry, and gluten-less with a pile of meat.
2) A lot of these places have deals, especially for students. It’s almost like club promoting; the store owners will aggressively yell out competitive rates, so don’t be alarmed. 20% off! Fortune cookies! Student discount! Real chicken! Since Chinatown is literally street after street of restaurants, you as a consumer have the upper hand here and can pick and choose.
3) I’d never heard of something called duck pancakes. I have now, I’ve eaten them, and they’re not anywhere as gross as they sound. Try them!
Here are two places where the food is great, prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is traditional AF (aka there are a lot of Chinese customers, which is how you know the food is good).
1) Super Star Before I begin, yes, I am fully aware that the name of the restaurant sounds vaguely like the title of a pornographic film. But no matter, because the food is amazing and they have (or at least, had) a 20% discount for first-time customers. I ordered the chicken chow mein and oh mein God it was so good. It’s also worth noting that they have FREE APPETIZERS and FREE FORTUNE COOKIES. Any place with free anything immediately has my heart. I’m easy.
2. Leong’s Legend I only took one photo here, but that’s because I was too busy eating. Three weeks into my quest for the best Chinese food, I learnt that restaurants here do not serve their main dishes on top of rice or noodles, as is the custom in the US. Wiser and hungrier than before, I ordered steamed rice with sweet and sour pork. My friend had some noodle thing that was quite literally euphoric. 10/10 would recommend.
What are your favourite places in Chinatown if you’ve been? How does it compare to the Chinatowns across the world?