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Malaysian fried chicken, centre, at Chu Chin Chow, one of London’s Best Chinese restaurants for takeaway
Malaysian fried chicken, centre, at Chu Chin Chow
Jessica Wang

The Best Chinese Restaurants for Takeaway in London

Moulding themselves to the taste of their local communities, find frazzled salt and pepper chips, fragrant Malaysian fried chicken, and mahogany-skinned duck

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Malaysian fried chicken, centre, at Chu Chin Chow
| Jessica Wang

“Chinese takeaway” can be many things: a mode of restaurant; a lazy descriptor; a hub of a community. Focus on the first and last, and just take things very literally, and it’s possible to map a breadth and depth of cooking that spans Anglo-Cantonese classics, Sichuan tradition, Canto-Malay ingenuity, and everything in between.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Chu Chin Chow

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7 Cat Hill, East Barnet, London
Barnet EN4 8HG, UK

Chu Chin Chow has been quietly delivering one of London’s finest fried chicken dishes to those in the area since 2005. Every last piece of the Malaysian Fried Chicken (MFC) is a flavour bundle of succulent meat embedded in shattering layers of chicken skin interwoven with caramelised aromats. Chicken take away for very lucky locals. —JW

2. Etles Uyghur Restaurant

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235 Hoe St, Walthamstow
London E17 9PP, UK

Mukaddes Yadikar’s acclaimed Uyghur restaurant, is Walthamstow’s finest neighbourhood restaurant. It remains open for takeaway and is delivering through Deliveroo. A great option both for smaller and larger households with dishes such as chaomian, a stir-fry of short, cut lengths of noodle wokked with chunks of of beef, spring onion and tomato; and the trademark da pan ji (‘big plate chicken’): a remarkably deep, savoury, and spicy chicken and potato stew, teeming with Sichuan peppercorns, served with flat hand-pulled noodles. —AC

3. Wing Wah

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68 Leytonstone Rd
London E15 1SQ, UK
020 8534 7179

Expect nothing but deliciousness from this little legendary blue takeaway that’s been going for the last 40 years. There’s no delivery option available and it’s cash-only, but when a business doesn’t have any online presence or accept card payments in this day and age, it’s a sign of good eating. Expect more than generous portions of dry-style sweet-tangy stir-fried Singapore noodles, house special fried rice and black bean dishes, which are the real stars of the show. Make friends with Wendy, the Chinese woman serving behind the counter and she’ll sneak in a bag of free prawn crackers with the order. —AH

4. Green Cottage

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9, New College Parade, South Hampstead
London NW3 5EP, UK
020 7722 5305

Dating back to the 1970s, Green Cottage is an institution that has withstood the test of time and, now, COVID-19. The menu may be a bible of old-school Cantonese classics that overwhelms one with choice but it only takes one glance up to the glossy rows of roast ducks on display and the answer becomes clear. —JW

5. Shanghai Chinese

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459 Green St, Upton Park
London E13 9AU, UK
020 8472 4732

A family-owned diamond in the rough on the main strip of Green Street around the corner from Upton Park station. Shanghai Chinese has the look of that typical old-school neighbourhood Chinese takeaway joint, and has actually been around for over 30 years. Open for day and evening service takeaway. Portions tend to err on the large side, the flame-kissed stir-fried chop suey comes with an abundance of fresh vegetables and actually crisp shredded crispy beef is the ideal balance of sweet, tangy and salty. However, the deep-fried selection is the name of the game here, with well-seasoned salt pepper fried chicken wings and shatteringly crisp gigantic pancake rolls — both perfectly greaseless. —AH

6. Tian Tian

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166 Mile End Rd
London E1 4LJ, UK

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by the size of Tian Tian’s colossal menu. Spanning from Japanese teppanyaki to Singaporean-style spare ribs and Xinjiang barbecue skewers, ensures all the bases are covered. Make a beeline for most of the much-loved Sichuan staples and it’s a safe bet for a delectable meal. Opt for the green beans with minced pork, fried lamb with cumin, fish fillets in hot chilli oil, special “green” house tofu with dried scallop and spinach. Sadly, other worthy bestsellers such as deep-fried brinjal with pork floss, crispy, spiced cereal prawns and the sharing dry braised fish are offered as dine-in only and don’t travel very well. —AH

7. Hot Lips

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2 Portal Way
London W3 6RT, UK

A delivery, Deliveroo-only kitchen — so proceed informed — which adds a regionally diverse option to a share of good Cantonese options in west London. A crimson, brooding mapo tofu is excellent, with skewers of barbecued lamb or chicken holding up surprisingly well; skip the noodle dishes and seriously consider the pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings. —JH

8. Kar Woo Halal Chinese Takeaway (Stepney Green)

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56 Ben Jonson Rd
London E1 3NN, UK

A Halal Chinese chippy tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac road where they sling fish and chips alongside takeaway classics with some added fusion curveballs. A smaller menu than most, but Kar Woo has nailed certain items such as salt pepper king prawns which are light, crisp and golden with just the right amount of seasoning, fluffy chicken fried rice and tangy Singapore noodles — all dishes come with the bonus option to pick and mix extra options such as chilli oil, naga sauce and fresh spring onions. What Kar Woo really excels in here is in sacrilegious but wonderful offerings not normally seen on a Chinese chip shop menu. Take the unconventional woo burger, for example, a battered burger with double cheese, spring onion and chilli sauce that could easily give Ronald McDonald’s iconic saver menu cheeseburger a run for his money. —AH

9. Four Seasons

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84 Queensway, Bayswater
London W2 3RL, UK

It’s no secret that Four Seasons’ roast duck from the mothership is a cut above the rest. Accurately seasoned and reliably fired to mahogany with not a wrinkle in sight and ever-appropriate skin to fat to meat ratios. However, the real attention to detail comes in the form of the house condiments and shamelessly asking for extra soy sauce and chilli oil is the ultimate move. —JW

10. Wings Chinese Café

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19 Market Square, Poplar
London E14 6AQ, UK
07455 581909

An outdoor Chinese takeaway that’s in the unassuming Chrisp Street Market. Husband and wife duo Sam and Viv have been cooking some of the finest Cantonese fast food in Poplar since 1952. Think cha chaan teng (HK-style cafe) meets greasy spoon, with food that’s strictly no-frills easily filling stomachs for under a fiver. Find classic takeaway dishes that have been given the wok-hei treatment such as roast duck Cantonese style in a salty thick brown gravy gloop sauce, chicken chow mein flecked with charred bits of spring onion and beansprouts and chunky sweet and sour pork that’s not in the least bit soggy. What’s more, the elusive Chinese-Scouse hybrid salt and pepper chips make an appearance on the menu and they’re mixed with hunks of chunky onions, peppers and liberally tossed with chillis and spices. —AH

11. Wong Kei

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41-43 Wardour St, West End
London W1D 6PY, UK

Overshadowed by a reputation for rudeness which it shed decades ago, Wong Kei is maybe the closest central London has to a communal canteen. In usual times, people, usually tourists, come here in groups but the real spirit of Wong Kei is on the ground floor, reserved for solo diners only, four to a table, sometimes filled with a kind of silent desperation, or the chatter of those comparing their orders. But for now, luckily, there’s takeaway from the counter: the standouts are the huge pork chops, deep fried and either dry with salt and chilli, or wet with gravy and aubergine, the assorted meat ho fun, prawns entombed within tofu, aubergines and green peppers, any of the scrambled egg dishes, and the wonton or beef brisket noodle soups, pungent with ginger and MSG, that will stave away colds for a rapidly oncoming winter. And if any of the dishes has a rare below-par day, each one is salvageable with some chilli oil to go. —JN

12. Maxim Chinese Restaurant Ealing, London, Peking Cuisine

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Maxim Chinese Restaurant, 153-155 Northfield Ave, West Ealing
London W13 9QT, UK

Maxim has always been well worth the trip west to Ealing, especially for old-school Pekingese dishes that aren’t found anywhere else in central London. For now, it’s the preserve of lucky west London locals. With a hefty menu spanning over hundred items, the classics, such as duck, lobster, rice and noodles, are all here, but the standout dishes are fried king prawns with egg whites and signature barbecue ribs. —AH

13. Lucky Dog

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81 East St, Walworth
London SE17 2DH, UK

Walworth is remarkably blessed with decent takeaway Chinese options — up until recently the best was Oriental Tasty House whose Anglicised public menu was a front for Fujianese specials and a variety of fish dishes that could be requested via the seafood shop two doors down, which the restaurant also owns. Its closure, whether permanent or temporary, cedes the crown to Lucky Dog, a takeaway version of the Dongbei restaurant on Brick Lane of the same name. The best dishes are the classic Dongbei ones — a guo bao rou with thin sheets rather than chunks of pork, lightly battered in a pastel orange-pink syrup, a proper grown up version of sweet and sour, or the di san xian (three treasures from the earth), aubergines, potatoes and green peppers, a homestyle dish of vegetables quick fried in the wok to induce caramelisation and then tossed together into a thick, starchy sauce. —JN

14. Happy Valley Chinese

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160 Southampton Way, Camberwell
London SE5 7EW, UK
020 7703 7516

The truth is, the best Chinese takeaways are the ones nearest to home, the ones which nightcap a potentially disastrous evening and send anyone off to bed with a smile. So in this spirit, the best takeaway in London is actually Happy Valley on Southampton Way at about 11.30 pm when the drunks are congregating outside and the older bald chef has finished his cigarette break and is back at the wok seasoned with a generation’s worth of chow meins. Crispy noodles with black bean sauce please. —JN

15. Silk Road

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49 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell
London SE5 8TR, UK
020 7703 4832

The inside of Silk Road now too often resembles a seminar of Theatre and Performance students at Goldsmiths, which is why it’s all the more important to bypass sitting inside and get the food to go — which is still an option not a lot of people take advantage of. Since reopening in July, it feels like some dishes are back at a high consistency: the T.E.P. (tomato, egg, pepper) noodles had a proper hit of chilli and cumulonimbus egg whites coddling tensile noodles, and barely cooked tomato chunks, while getting the handmade cabbage in a tupperware makes it easier to drink its umami rich sauce despite it being at least 80% scalding oil. —JN

16. Tasty House

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118 Denmark Hill, Herne Hill
London SE5 8RX, UK
020 7274 9538

There are two versions of Camberwell: one where Silk Road is its destination Chinese restaurant, and the other where it’s Tasty House. Like the Kosher Chinese restaurants of Golders Green, this takeaway on Denmark Hill is a testament to the ability of Chinese cuisine to mould itself round the tastes of a local community — in this case a predominantly working class, predominantly West African clientele. Its reputation is built off the back off burnished fried rice dishes, whose fugitive notes of wok smoke shares DNA with Ghanaian jollof, while all orders can be customised to levels of spiciness and porkiness. The menu has one truly outstanding dish difficult to get elsewhere in London: the salt and pepper chips, tanned in the fryer then stir fried with onions and chilli. —JN

17. Hua Imperial Palace 华庭軒

Copy Link
4 Norbreck Parade
London NW10 7HR, UK

With cooking from Kang Dong, who formerly ran an eponymous business out of Hoxton, this restaurant rewards the principle of scanning for diversions from the norm the menu establishes for itself. So on a menu mostly anchored in Anglo-Cantonese takeaway classics — of which Singapore noodles, chow meins, spring rolls, and particular lesser-spotted salt and pepper chips are executed to a good standard — look for numbing dan dan noodles rich with sesame; salted egg yolk prawns; Fujian pork soup; a decent rendition of hong shao rou hiding under “braised pork belly,”; and hand-pulled Lanzhou la mian.

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1. Chu Chin Chow

7 Cat Hill, East Barnet, London, Barnet EN4 8HG, UK

Chu Chin Chow has been quietly delivering one of London’s finest fried chicken dishes to those in the area since 2005. Every last piece of the Malaysian Fried Chicken (MFC) is a flavour bundle of succulent meat embedded in shattering layers of chicken skin interwoven with caramelised aromats. Chicken take away for very lucky locals. —JW

7 Cat Hill, East Barnet, London
Barnet EN4 8HG, UK

2. Etles Uyghur Restaurant

235 Hoe St, Walthamstow, London E17 9PP, UK

Mukaddes Yadikar’s acclaimed Uyghur restaurant, is Walthamstow’s finest neighbourhood restaurant. It remains open for takeaway and is delivering through Deliveroo. A great option both for smaller and larger households with dishes such as chaomian, a stir-fry of short, cut lengths of noodle wokked with chunks of of beef, spring onion and tomato; and the trademark da pan ji (‘big plate chicken’): a remarkably deep, savoury, and spicy chicken and potato stew, teeming with Sichuan peppercorns, served with flat hand-pulled noodles. —AC

235 Hoe St, Walthamstow
London E17 9PP, UK

3. Wing Wah

68 Leytonstone Rd, London E15 1SQ, UK

Expect nothing but deliciousness from this little legendary blue takeaway that’s been going for the last 40 years. There’s no delivery option available and it’s cash-only, but when a business doesn’t have any online presence or accept card payments in this day and age, it’s a sign of good eating. Expect more than generous portions of dry-style sweet-tangy stir-fried Singapore noodles, house special fried rice and black bean dishes, which are the real stars of the show. Make friends with Wendy, the Chinese woman serving behind the counter and she’ll sneak in a bag of free prawn crackers with the order. —AH

68 Leytonstone Rd
London E15 1SQ, UK

4. Green Cottage

9, New College Parade, South Hampstead, London NW3 5EP, UK

Dating back to the 1970s, Green Cottage is an institution that has withstood the test of time and, now, COVID-19. The menu may be a bible of old-school Cantonese classics that overwhelms one with choice but it only takes one glance up to the glossy rows of roast ducks on display and the answer becomes clear. —JW

9, New College Parade, South Hampstead
London NW3 5EP, UK

5. Shanghai Chinese

459 Green St, Upton Park, London E13 9AU, UK

A family-owned diamond in the rough on the main strip of Green Street around the corner from Upton Park station. Shanghai Chinese has the look of that typical old-school neighbourhood Chinese takeaway joint, and has actually been around for over 30 years. Open for day and evening service takeaway. Portions tend to err on the large side, the flame-kissed stir-fried chop suey comes with an abundance of fresh vegetables and actually crisp shredded crispy beef is the ideal balance of sweet, tangy and salty. However, the deep-fried selection is the name of the game here, with well-seasoned salt pepper fried chicken wings and shatteringly crisp gigantic pancake rolls — both perfectly greaseless. —AH

459 Green St, Upton Park
London E13 9AU, UK

6. Tian Tian

166 Mile End Rd, London E1 4LJ, UK

It’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by the size of Tian Tian’s colossal menu. Spanning from Japanese teppanyaki to Singaporean-style spare ribs and Xinjiang barbecue skewers, ensures all the bases are covered. Make a beeline for most of the much-loved Sichuan staples and it’s a safe bet for a delectable meal. Opt for the green beans with minced pork, fried lamb with cumin, fish fillets in hot chilli oil, special “green” house tofu with dried scallop and spinach. Sadly, other worthy bestsellers such as deep-fried brinjal with pork floss, crispy, spiced cereal prawns and the sharing dry braised fish are offered as dine-in only and don’t travel very well. —AH

166 Mile End Rd
London E1 4LJ, UK

7. Hot Lips

2 Portal Way, London W3 6RT, UK

A delivery, Deliveroo-only kitchen — so proceed informed — which adds a regionally diverse option to a share of good Cantonese options in west London. A crimson, brooding mapo tofu is excellent, with skewers of barbecued lamb or chicken holding up surprisingly well; skip the noodle dishes and seriously consider the pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings. —JH

2 Portal Way
London W3 6RT, UK

8. Kar Woo Halal Chinese Takeaway (Stepney Green)

56 Ben Jonson Rd, London E1 3NN, UK

A Halal Chinese chippy tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac road where they sling fish and chips alongside takeaway classics with some added fusion curveballs. A smaller menu than most, but Kar Woo has nailed certain items such as salt pepper king prawns which are light, crisp and golden with just the right amount of seasoning, fluffy chicken fried rice and tangy Singapore noodles — all dishes come with the bonus option to pick and mix extra options such as chilli oil, naga sauce and fresh spring onions. What Kar Woo really excels in here is in sacrilegious but wonderful offerings not normally seen on a Chinese chip shop menu. Take the unconventional woo burger, for example, a battered burger with double cheese, spring onion and chilli sauce that could easily give Ronald McDonald’s iconic saver menu cheeseburger a run for his money. —AH

56 Ben Jonson Rd
London E1 3NN, UK

9. Four Seasons

84 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 3RL, UK

It’s no secret that Four Seasons’ roast duck from the mothership is a cut above the rest. Accurately seasoned and reliably fired to mahogany with not a wrinkle in sight and ever-appropriate skin to fat to meat ratios. However, the real attention to detail comes in the form of the house condiments and shamelessly asking for extra soy sauce and chilli oil is the ultimate move. —JW

84 Queensway, Bayswater
London W2 3RL, UK

10. Wings Chinese Café

19 Market Square, Poplar, London E14 6AQ, UK

An outdoor Chinese takeaway that’s in the unassuming Chrisp Street Market. Husband and wife duo Sam and Viv have been cooking some of the finest Cantonese fast food in Poplar since 1952. Think cha chaan teng (HK-style cafe) meets greasy spoon, with food that’s strictly no-frills easily filling stomachs for under a fiver. Find classic takeaway dishes that have been given the wok-hei treatment such as roast duck Cantonese style in a salty thick brown gravy gloop sauce, chicken chow mein flecked with charred bits of spring onion and beansprouts and chunky sweet and sour pork that’s not in the least bit soggy. What’s more, the elusive Chinese-Scouse hybrid salt and pepper chips make an appearance on the menu and they’re mixed with hunks of chunky onions, peppers and liberally tossed with chillis and spices. —AH

19 Market Square, Poplar
London E14 6AQ, UK

11. Wong Kei

41-43 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6PY, UK

Overshadowed by a reputation for rudeness which it shed decades ago, Wong Kei is maybe the closest central London has to a communal canteen. In usual times, people, usually tourists, come here in groups but the real spirit of Wong Kei is on the ground floor, reserved for solo diners only, four to a table, sometimes filled with a kind of silent desperation, or the chatter of those comparing their orders. But for now, luckily, there’s takeaway from the counter: the standouts are the huge pork chops, deep fried and either dry with salt and chilli, or wet with gravy and aubergine, the assorted meat ho fun, prawns entombed within tofu, aubergines and green peppers, any of the scrambled egg dishes, and the wonton or beef brisket noodle soups, pungent with ginger and MSG, that will stave away colds for a rapidly oncoming winter. And if any of the dishes has a rare below-par day, each one is salvageable with some chilli oil to go. —JN

41-43 Wardour St, West End
London W1D 6PY, UK

12. Maxim Chinese Restaurant Ealing, London, Peking Cuisine

Maxim Chinese Restaurant, 153-155 Northfield Ave, West Ealing, London W13 9QT, UK

Maxim has always been well worth the trip west to Ealing, especially for old-school Pekingese dishes that aren’t found anywhere else in central London. For now, it’s the preserve of lucky west London locals. With a hefty menu spanning over hundred items, the classics, such as duck, lobster, rice and noodles, are all here, but the standout dishes are fried king prawns with egg whites and signature barbecue ribs. —AH

Maxim Chinese Restaurant, 153-155 Northfield Ave, West Ealing
London W13 9QT, UK

13. Lucky Dog

81 East St, Walworth, London SE17 2DH, UK

Walworth is remarkably blessed with decent takeaway Chinese options — up until recently the best was Oriental Tasty House whose Anglicised public menu was a front for Fujianese specials and a variety of fish dishes that could be requested via the seafood shop two doors down, which the restaurant also owns. Its closure, whether permanent or temporary, cedes the crown to Lucky Dog, a takeaway version of the Dongbei restaurant on Brick Lane of the same name. The best dishes are the classic Dongbei ones — a guo bao rou with thin sheets rather than chunks of pork, lightly battered in a pastel orange-pink syrup, a proper grown up version of sweet and sour, or the di san xian (three treasures from the earth), aubergines, potatoes and green peppers, a homestyle dish of vegetables quick fried in the wok to induce caramelisation and then tossed together into a thick, starchy sauce. —JN

81 East St, Walworth
London SE17 2DH, UK

14. Happy Valley Chinese

160 Southampton Way, Camberwell, London SE5 7EW, UK

The truth is, the best Chinese takeaways are the ones nearest to home, the ones which nightcap a potentially disastrous evening and send anyone off to bed with a smile. So in this spirit, the best takeaway in London is actually Happy Valley on Southampton Way at about 11.30 pm when the drunks are congregating outside and the older bald chef has finished his cigarette break and is back at the wok seasoned with a generation’s worth of chow meins. Crispy noodles with black bean sauce please. —JN

160 Southampton Way, Camberwell
London SE5 7EW, UK

15. Silk Road

49 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8TR, UK

The inside of Silk Road now too often resembles a seminar of Theatre and Performance students at Goldsmiths, which is why it’s all the more important to bypass sitting inside and get the food to go — which is still an option not a lot of people take advantage of. Since reopening in July, it feels like some dishes are back at a high consistency: the T.E.P. (tomato, egg, pepper) noodles had a proper hit of chilli and cumulonimbus egg whites coddling tensile noodles, and barely cooked tomato chunks, while getting the handmade cabbage in a tupperware makes it easier to drink its umami rich sauce despite it being at least 80% scalding oil. —JN

49 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell
London SE5 8TR, UK

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16. Tasty House

118 Denmark Hill, Herne Hill, London SE5 8RX, UK

There are two versions of Camberwell: one where Silk Road is its destination Chinese restaurant, and the other where it’s Tasty House. Like the Kosher Chinese restaurants of Golders Green, this takeaway on Denmark Hill is a testament to the ability of Chinese cuisine to mould itself round the tastes of a local community — in this case a predominantly working class, predominantly West African clientele. Its reputation is built off the back off burnished fried rice dishes, whose fugitive notes of wok smoke shares DNA with Ghanaian jollof, while all orders can be customised to levels of spiciness and porkiness. The menu has one truly outstanding dish difficult to get elsewhere in London: the salt and pepper chips, tanned in the fryer then stir fried with onions and chilli. —JN

118 Denmark Hill, Herne Hill
London SE5 8RX, UK

17. Hua Imperial Palace 华庭軒

4 Norbreck Parade, London NW10 7HR, UK

With cooking from Kang Dong, who formerly ran an eponymous business out of Hoxton, this restaurant rewards the principle of scanning for diversions from the norm the menu establishes for itself. So on a menu mostly anchored in Anglo-Cantonese takeaway classics — of which Singapore noodles, chow meins, spring rolls, and particular lesser-spotted salt and pepper chips are executed to a good standard — look for numbing dan dan noodles rich with sesame; salted egg yolk prawns; Fujian pork soup; a decent rendition of hong shao rou hiding under “braised pork belly,”; and hand-pulled Lanzhou la mian.

4 Norbreck Parade
London NW10 7HR, UK

Related Maps