Visit London Blog » chinatown Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:29:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 Chinese Buffet Restaurants in London Wed, 07 May 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Chinese buffet dish

A Chinese buffet meal offers a great cheap-eats option when you’re in and around London. Here’s our pick of London’s top 10 all-you-can-eat Chinese and Oriental restaurants.

1.  Mr Wu
A chain of Chinese Buffet restaurants dotted around Chinatown, at Mr Wu Chinese Restaurant, MW Buffet and Little Wu you can eat as much as you like from as little as £5.95, £8.95 and £6.95 respectively (plus service charge).

2. Max Orient Camden
With its distinctive Chinese Dragon frontage, Camden stalwart Max Orient is hugely popular with hungry tourists in need of all-you-can eat fodder. You’ll find all the usual Chinese and oriental buffet dishes here for a fixed price of £7.80 per person.

3. China Buffet
A cheap and cheerful buffet restaurant in London’s Chinatown just off Leicester Square, China Buffet is smaller and therefore feels a bit less hectic than some of the area’s other buffet restaurants. China Buffet has a good selection of fresh Chinese meals for a fixed price.

4. Hungry Yeti, Ealing
Hungry Yeti is a popular oriental buffet restaurant in Ealing offering more than 60 dishes from cuisines including Chinese, Indian, Nepalese, Singaporean, Thai and Malaysian. Step in here for staples such as sweet & sour chicken, samosas and stir fries.

5. Aroma Buffet
Aroma Buffet in Shepherd’s Bush offers fixed-price dining (£8.40 per adult) seven days a week. The extensive offering sets out 50 dishes per lunch and 80 per dinner with starters, soups, mains and desserts included. There’s also plenty of vegetarian options.

6. Kitchin N1
At Kitchin N1 you get to watch the chefs prepare the food live from a theatre-island kitchen in the centre of the restaurant. With a diverse mixture of dishes hailing from China, India, Thailand and Italy, you’re sure to find something to delight your tastebuds here.

7. Dragon King
Dragon King is an all-you-can-eat restaurant near the Royal Leisure Park in West London. It offers family-friendly buffet dining for up to 300 people as well as two private Karaoke function rooms. Dishes include Chinese classics such as beef in blackbean sauce, Peking duck and sweet & sour chicken.

8. Hong Kong Buffet
The self-acclaimed “Best Chinese Buffet in Chinatown” at the recently refurbished Hong Kong Buffet offers an ever-changing menu of modern and traditional Chinese dishes with offerings such as sweet & sour pork, tofu with Chinese mushrooms, and stewed beef brisket.

9. JRC Global Buffet, Croydon
As the name suggests, JRC Global offers a huge selection of cuisines from around the world – from China to Spain, Mexico to Japan, India to England and more. London branches include Croydon, Wood Green, Watford and Ilford.

10. Sichuan Folk
For something a bit different, spice it up at Sichuan Folk in Shoreditch. While this is not a traditional buffet, the restaurant does offer a fantastic all-you-can-eat hotpot for £19.80 per person as well as fixed-price one-dish lunches for £6.50 plus free soup of the day.

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St Patrick’s Day 2014: Top 5 Irish Bars and Restaurants in London Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:00:35 +0000 On 17 March each year, London adopts a decidedly Irish attitude to celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. In addition to the free St Patrick’s Day parade and Irish festival in Trafalgar Square (this year on Sunday 16 March) many London bars and restaurants take the opportunity to become Irish for a day.

There is usually a sharp rise in Guinness sales during the St Patrick’s Day weekend and the experience of having fun with friends over a beer is often referred to as “the craic”. When raising your glass, it is also polite to say “Sláinte” (pronounced “slawnt-yeh”). Here are our Top 5 Irish bars and restaurants in London for celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2014.

London’s top wine tasting attraction, Vinopolis, is hosting two St Patrick’s Day events in March. On Friday 14 March. a Celtic Céilí will take place under the railway arches. This will include dancing and a live céilí bands performing Celtic and Irish tunes; an ideal opportunity to try Irish dances such as Walls of Limerick and Waves of Tory. You can enjoy a wine tasting experience plus entry to the event (with free Irish whiskey cocktail) for £35 per person. For those who like to celebrate the Irish at a slower pace, there is also an Irish whiskey masterclass on Monday 17 March.

The Porterhouse is probably one of the biggest and most authentic Irish bars in London. This multi-level bar in Covent Garden is filled with an array of interesting beers, stouts, ales and porters, each lovingly hand-crafted in Dublin, then exported to London. There is also a basement bar where live music is performed on Sunday afternoons.

Waxy O’Connors
Another Central London bar that has strong connections with Ireland is Waxy O’Connor’s in Chinatown. This unique rabbit warren bar is popular with many London visitors due to its West End location and unusual décor. The bar will be hosting a week of Irish-themed, St Patrick’s Day events with drinks promotions, whiskey tastings, live music, St Patrick’s Day menu, live Six Nations rugby (France Vs Ireland producing probably the biggest crowd), plus a St Patrick’s Day parade party on Sunday 16 March.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Mayfair restaurant Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill is run by celebrity chef and Irishman, Richard Corrigan. On Monday 17 March, Richard himself will be hosting a special three-course menu (£60) from 12:30pm which will be accompanied by live Irish music. Bentley’s still stands in the same Victorian building where it first opened back in 1916, providing a traditional backdrop to this St Patrick’s Day feast.

The Irish bar group, O’Neill’s, has a number of pubs around London. O’Neill’s Soho is hosting a week of events in celebration of St Patrick’s Day starting on 12 March with two Irish bands playing until 3am. Other highlights of the week-long party include dancing, lots of Guinness, comedy hats, live football, live GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), live Six Nations rugby, and an all-day party on St Patrick’s Day itself.

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Things to Do in London This Weekend: 1-2 February Mon, 27 Jan 2014 10:00:26 +0000

China and America descend upon the capital this weekend for a pair of blockbuster international events, from welcoming in

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the Year of the Horse to celebrating a touchdown during Superbowl XLVIII.

Chinese New Year canters in to town

London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia as hundreds of thousands of people converge upon London’s West End. Whereas The Year of the Horse actually falls on 31 January, the festivities take in the capital on Sunday 2 February. Be sure to catch the parade as it snakes along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue from around 10am before sampling some of the eclectic performances around Trafalgar Square and of course finishing with a Chinese meal somewhere around Chinatown. 2 Feb

Superbowl Sunday

American football continues to grow in popularity in the UK, with three regular season games coming later this year. The Superbowl is more than just a load of huge Americans running in to each other though. It is a spectacle from beginning to end, with live music, flyovers, fireworks and those all-important adverts. Get into the spirit by indulging in American food and drink and try and pick up what’s going on in the game itself. Not sure where to catch all the action though? We’ve done that for you. 2 Feb kick-off at 11.35pm.

A celebration of Nordic Noir

From China to America, via Scandinavia? The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane is hosting the Nordicana festival of Nordic fiction and film. Expect screenings, Q&A sessions and special guest appearances from the likes of Borgen, The Bridge, Wallander, The Killing and many more. There will also be a Nordic Marketplace showcasing design, furnishings and Nordic treats in the food hall. 1-2 Feb

Oh What a Lovely War

Coinciding with the centenary of World War One, this revival of the wartime classic musical Oh What a Lovely War couldn’t be timelier. Starring Caroline Quentin, this satirical take on the Great War maintains an anti-war tone that will resonate with modern audiences. Opens 1 Feb

Spells in the snow

This weekend is your last chance to see Hogwarts blanketed in snow at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Hogwarts has been turned into a winter wonderland, with a festive edge to the sets and the castle itself sporting a wintry look. Catch it before the attraction returns to normal after Sunday. Ends 2 Feb

More events in London

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10 of the Best London Lions Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:30:37 +0000

For an urban area, London has quite a few lions. But not all of the fluffy-fur-and-big-teeth variety. From stone lions to stage lions to the real thing, we round up 10 of the best places to see the king of beasts in London.

London Zoo

If you want to see a real, roaring, mane-tossing lion in London, London Zoo is the place to go. This marvellous menagerie is home to members of the Asian lion species – of which there are fewer than 300 left in the wild – including Lucifer (pictured above).

Royal Beasts at the Tower of London

Lions were just one of the many exotic animals kept in the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie. Founded in the early 1200s, the stately zoo went on to house everything from elephants and tigers to kangaroos and pelicans. Learn more in the fascinating Royal Beasts exhibition at the Tower of London.

Chinatown Lions

In Chinese culture, lions are considered to be good omens – so it’s no surprise to see statues of these incredible mammals at the entrance to London’s Chinatown. Lions – specifically Lion Dances – are also a big part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations, which take place in Chinatown every February.

Trafalgar Square Lions

Designed by Sir Edward Landseer, the four bronze lions that sit on guard at the foot of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square were installed in 1867 – 24 years after the column was completed. It is said that if Big Ben chimes 13 times, the 20-foot long, 11ft-tall lions will come to life!

The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre

If you loved the Disney film, then you’ll adore the musical of The Lion King. With the help of imaginative costumes, powerful songs and colourful stage sets, the cast tell the much-loved story of Simba and his pride. Don’t miss the behind-the-scenes video (below) of this hit West End show for a chance to win a five-night trip to London!

Barbary Lion Skull at the Natural History Museum

Two lions skulls, a remnant of the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London (see above), were discovered by workmen in 1937. Experts at the National History Museum used carbon dating to age the animals and found that one was the oldest lion found in the UK since the extinction of native wild lions. You can see the skull for yourself in the Treasures exhibition at the museum’s Cadogan Gallery.

London Lions

The London Lions is the capital’s only professional basketball team – so choosing which side to support is easy if you’re a Londoner! The team’s next home fixture is on 29 December against the Newcastle Eagles at London 2012 Olympic venue The Copper Box Arena.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 

The Natural History Museum comes up trumps again with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition – featuring an amazingly close picture of a lion cub taken in South Africa by photographer Hannes Lochner. The picture was Joint runner-up 2013 (Animal Portraits) and is one of many stunning photos on show – until 23 March 2014.

Saint Jerome and the Lion at the National Gallery

While living in the desert as a hermit, Saint Jerome in reported to have removed a thorn from the paw of a lion. This remarkable feat is the subject of a number of paintings at the National Gallery, including Bono da Ferrara’s Saint Jerome in A Landscape (circa 1440) and part of the Santa Trinità Altarpiece (1455-60).

The Lion of Kings Road

You may have seen the dramatic and moving YouTube video of a lion hugging its former owners, who had released the animal into the wild a year earlier. Amazingly, the duo bought the lion at Harrods (in 1969) and took it to live in the flat above their furniture store on the Kings Road, where it became something of a local celebrity.

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London Video of the Week: London Set for Huge Chinese New Year Celebrations Sat, 09 Feb 2013 10:30:02 +0000 London’s Chinatown is getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations this weekend. See the preparations taking place in the video below, as London gets ready to welcome the Year of the Snake.

Find out more about Chinese New Year in London including tomorrow’s parade and festival in Trafalgar Square.

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Visiting the Past: London’s Original Chinatown Fri, 08 Feb 2013 11:45:55 +0000

This weekend, the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia take place in and around London’s Chinatown in Soho. But did you know that London’s original Chinatown was in East London?

Limehouse was the site of a short-lived porcelain factory founded by George Wilson in 1746. It was one of many attempts to make a British version of the beautiful, white ceramic that was flooding into London from the Far East. Limehouse porcelain  looked Chinese but was made in East London. You can see examples of this porcelain at the Museum of London.

One hundred years later, a small community of Chinese sailors settled at Limehouse Causeway. This was one of two small, East End Chinese communities. The other was in Pennyfields in Poplar, where Chinese sailors from Shanghai had settled. Virtually all were single men, some of whom married British women.

By 1914, there were around 30 businesses and 300 people living in these small East End communities. Limehouse and Pennyfields became known as Chinatown, and many of its inhabitants made a living by running laundries.

During the Second World War, the Docklands area, including Chinatown, was badly damaged and many Chinese people moved out. In the 1950s, the market for Chinese food grew and restaurants and stalls began to spring up in Gerrard Street and Lisle Street. This was the start of the Chinatown we know today in Soho.

Find out more about Chinatown’s history or discover today’s Chinatown in Soho

Museum of London

Guest post by the Museum of London as part of our brand new Visiting the Past blog series. More fascinating facts about London’s history from the Museum of London next week!

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London’s Lost Chinatown: Last Tuesdays at RIBA Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:00:27 +0000

The last Tuesday of every month is open house night at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Each month, the RIBA’s 66 Portland Place headquarters puts on a range of talks, tours, exhibitions and film screenings around a single topic.

October’s event, City Stories!, focused on great cities and their hidden histories, and included a fascinating talk by Dr Yat Ming Loo on London’s first Chinatown.

From the mid-nineteenth century Chinese seamen from Canton and Shanghai settled close to Limehouse Docks, with communities emerging on Limehouse Causeway, Pennyfields and Amoy Place.

Between the 1890s and 1920s the area become notorious as a place of gambling, opium dens and evocative smells – the legend of Fu Manchu originated here. However, the reality was quite different, with a very familiar London street scene greeting those who were curious, albeit with clinics, shops and boarding houses run by the Chinese.

The Blitz and various slum clearance projects before and after the Second World War saw the end of London’s first Chinatown, and there is little physical trace left today.

In the 1940s and 50s many families moved to the West End to capitalise on the growing demand for Chinese food, laying the foundations for London’s present day Chinatown.

Yat Ming Loo’s upcoming book “Architecture and Urban Form in Kuala Lumpur: Race and Chinese Spaces in a Postcolonial City” will be published in April 2013.

The next “Last Tuesdays” event on 27 November, Colour Me Vertical, will explore colour, light and architecture. Admission is free.

Follow @RIBA on twitter for #LastTuesdays updates, or visit for more information.

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In Pictures: Chinese New Year in London 2012 Tue, 31 Jan 2012 16:54:57 +0000 Last Sunday, London’s Chinatown welcomed the Year of the Dragon with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China.

Images by Mark Baynes.

Were you there? Don’t forget to add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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Chinese Taipei or Taiwan in London: Taiwanese Bubble Tea at Bubbleology Wed, 17 Aug 2011 15:00:31 +0000

Chinese Taipei is the designated name used by the Republic of China, commonly known as “Taiwan”, when they participate in the Olympic Games.

In recent months, Taiwan’s bubble tea has been big news here in London. Bubble tea had previously been sold in stores in Chinatown, but the drink is now going mainstream.

Served warm or cold, bubble tea drinks have a red or green tea base, and are infused with fruit flavours. Then, at the bottom, they have tapioca pearls, called “Boba Pearls.” These pearls have a texture like gummy bears with a slight caramel taste, and take in some of the flavour of the tea. Yum!

London now has a bubble tea gourmet determined to bring the true taste of Taiwan to the city: Bubbleology owner, Assad Khan.

Khan fell in love with the drink while working in New York. Spotting the potential to spread the bubble tea love in London, he opened Bubbleology in Soho earlier this spring.

Khan knows his bubble tea: he drank four or five cups a day in New York, and 40 cups a day on a two-month research trip to Taiwan before setting up business in London. He believes the choice of materials, water temperature and timing were essential. Khan has imported the shakers, plastic-sealing machines and plastic cups from Taiwan, along with the thick straws that allow you to suck up the “bubbles” and chew on them.

His staff, called “Bubbleologists,” have trained under renowned bubble tea masters to learn the exact science of making proper bubble tea. In a nod to the country responsible for this unusual, refreshing drink, they all wear a Republic of China flag pin on their uniforms.

So if you want a taste of Taiwan in London, head down to Bubbleology in Soho or in Harvey Nichols’ restaurant. You can read more about the brand at

Do you know of any other examples of Taiwanese culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hong Kong in London: London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Tue, 26 Apr 2011 09:30:10 +0000 Onshore celebrations at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Dragon Boats in the water Chinese Dragon entertainment at London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

For our Hong Kong in London entry we looked no further than the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. This annual event has been held in London since 1997. After 10 years at London Docklands Watersports Centre, it moved to London Regatta Centre at Royal Albert Docks in 2007, allowing it to become a lot bigger. This year’s London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is expected to attract around 10,000 spectators.

The Hong Kong connection lies partially in the sponsorship – the HKETO (Hong Kong Economic Trade Office) is the event’s principal sponsor. And, the less-than-serious nature of the London race perhaps reflects the fact Hong Kong has enjoyed more freedom than mainland China during the past century. But event organiser London China Town Lions Club‘s Monita Hung is quick to add that Dragon Boat racing is a longstanding Chinese tradition, with events held all over China although some of the most serious competitions are to be found in Hong Kong.

The main aim of the London race, however, is enjoyment. “How much practice competitors do beforehand depends on how much they want to win! But this is not a serious race, it’s more about a fun event that everyone can enjoy,” says Hung.

The festival grows in size every year and is now second only to Chinese New Year on the Chinese cultural calendar in London. “Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is a lighthearted event that’s not as serious as Chinese New Year.

“It’s more of a community event for locals and is very family friendly as it’s free to enter, with lots of food and children’s activities such as a bouncy castle.” Hung says the event is also very popular with Hong Kong-born students who are studying in London, of which there are many.

Besides the festival, Hung, who is originally from Hong Kong but has lived here for 30 years, says she finds “Hong Kong in London” by shopping at Chinese supermarkets, particularly in Chinatown. “Tesco is getting better but you’ve got to go to a Chinese supermarket for all the sauces and other Chinese essentials. You can’t not go to Chinatown – you’ll always find something great there.”

The next London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be on 19 June 2011. Find out more at

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