It’s probably safe to say London would not be the multi-cultural wonderland it is today without the influence of Asian culture. The Chinese New Year ceremonies (2020 is the Year of the Rat), are a true testament to the culture’s direct influence on the big city. Performances take place throughout the holiday and decorations are displayed along streets from Trafalgar Square to China Town, involving not only those who come to celebrate the event, but also tourists and Londoners. Along with all the festivities, comes an incredible cuisine with a cornucopia of flavours to tempt the tastebuds.
Food is a highly regarded aspect of Asian culture and is very much embedded in its identity. East Asian cooking, in particular, has made an indelible mark on London’s culinary world with Soho’s very own China town at the forefront.
From the moment you step into the area, it feels different from the rest of West End. From the ‘no-frills’ hole-in-the-wall eateries, through the lines of street food parlours to the fanciest of fusion restaurants, the cuisine has had space to experiment and develop, which means every taste is catered for.
This perhaps is its main attraction, because the only rules when it comes to the food is to provide delicious, palate-pleasing dishes aimed at delighting customers.
Even for those who are not as familiar with this culinary subculture, one of the main challenges when strolling by is withstanding the wonderful aromas emanating from inside the various eateries. Resistance is futile so come in, draw up a chair and work your way down the menu!
THE OLD TOWN 97
Good food with no fuss. This low-key eatery located in the heart of Chinatown offers an array of tasty Chinese staples from chicken lo mein to crispy duck. Guaranteed to cure your Asian food cravings.
Fusion taken to the next level, Chotto Matte offers you dishes with a twist like their Peruvian-Japanese crossover otherwise known as ‘Nikkei’. If you’re looking for something a little different, this one’s for you.
YUU @ ICE BAR
With a residency at Ice Bar London, Yuu is a sublime union of Japanese, South East Asian and Filipino dishes. From Taiwanese-style bao buns to Filipino flavoured braised pork belly, it makes for the perfect night of over-indulgence with friends.
Adding Singapore to the map of London’s vast array of Asian outlets, Singapulah could be said to be the new kid on the block – but not quite. Co-created by the founder of the Macclesfield Street area Malaysian/Singaporean “Rasa Sayang”, this new venture is a celebration of the often overlooked dishes of the island city.
If the bustling and brimming crowd inside this place doesn’t intrigue you enough, get yourself a table and let the food speak for itself. With an open kitchen giving you a front row view of the homemade noodles, you are pretty much guaranteed to leave highly satisfied and with a full stomach.
WAGAMAMA Noodle Lab
As one of the largest pan-Asian chain restaurants in the UK, Wagamama is a 21st century success story. With a large, extensive menu including their own vegan range, there is usually something for everyone.
Review by Syahna Yahya | IG: @syahnayahya
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