A Guide to Chinatown
Whether you are leaving a show in theatreland, heading to or from a lively Soho cocktail bar, or have just watched a movie in Leicester Square, it would be hard to miss one of the great ornate gates inviting you into London’s Chinatown. The imposing and ornate doorways transport you into a bustling and colourful area of the capital filled with lanterns and of course a plethora of restaurants serving up eastern flavours. Scratch the surface, however, and Chinatown may surprise you. With so much more to give than just restaurants, we have rounded up some of the top things to do in the area and some of our favourite eateries.
Where to Shop
There are plenty of shopping opportunities in Chinatown. From places to stock up on increasingly popular Asian cosmetics and skincare products to K-pop merch, beautiful lanterns, clothing, and trinkets such as maneki-neko (beckoning cats, said to bring good luck and fortune).
PURESEOUL is a Korean Skincare and cosmetic emporium offering premium skincare products and knowledgeable staff who will help you find the best products for your skin type. Have you heard of the 10-step skincare regime? Need to know the best-selling products? Pop in and have a chat with one of their staff members. Go prepared as once inside you won’t want to leave!
Address: 70 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0BJ
A collectors haven, Pop Mart collaborates with incredible artists and famous designers to make exclusive and unique collectible toys and mini figurines. Step inside and discover a wide variety of collections, including the most popular ones from Harry Potter, Hello Kitty, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Pop Mart caters to all ages and playful desires.
Address: 80 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6NF
Beauty store P2Bus (‘proud to be us’) stocks a curated selection of over 300 quality Asian skincare, make-up, hair and oral care brands. Inside you will find hair dye in all the colors of the rainbow, Shiseido oil blotting papers, therapy air masks and so much more! Got any burning questions, have a chat with one of their staff members who will happily offer a skincare consultation to help you get the best out of your skincare regime.
Address: 21 Newport Court, London WC2H 7JS
Where to Eat
No Chinatown guide would be complete without picking some of the amazing eateries. Chinatown offers an incredible array of restaurants, serving up cuisine from all corners of Asia. From lunches to fine dining and of course colorful and scrumptious desserts. Below are some of our faves.
This place is like a steam bun emporium! From classics such as char siu pork belly Pig Bun, to something a little more adventurous like their soft, brioche-style Pineapple Bun. For a fun surprise, try the lava bun (the exploding custard bun). It can be very addictive, and for good reason…
Address: 26-27 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BA
Serving up delicious dishes from Malaysia and Singapore, Rasa Sayang treats its diners to yummy classics like Nasi Lemak, roti canai, and beef rendang. Look out for the unique Kueh Pie Tee which are delicate, crispy shells filled with chicken, dried shrimp and fresh turnip. You will only find these at Rasa Sayang. These mouth-watering dishes will keep you coming back for more.
Address: 5 Macclesfield St, London W1D 6AY
A haven for lovers of contemporary Cantonese cuisine! Inside this stylish and upmarket Cantonese restaurant, You may well have seen some of the beautiful dumplings from their vast dim sum menu plastered all over Instagram, as they are known for their colour and beauty. A fan of karaoke? Book yourself a booth at Plum Valley and bang out your favorite tune from, a catalogue of Chinese music, K Pop and Western tracks, it will be a night to remember.
Address: 20 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JQ
The duck here is so good that the Financial Times has dubbed it the “best in the world” Mouth-wateringly tender flesh with a delicately crispy skin and seasoned with their very own special mix of spices (a secret they will never share). Check out the BBQ pork dishes too, you won’t be disappointed, but do expect to queue for a seat, it will certainly be worth the wait.
Address: 12 Gerrard St, London W1D 5PR
Lo’s Noodle Factory
Tucked away in an alleyway, Lo’s noodle is a manufacturer that supplies all the local restaurants and those in the know. It’s one of Chinatown’s best-kept secrets! You will find a noodle production line downstairs and a bakery upstairs. Look out for their good value, daily-made delicious dim sum and of course their Ho Fun and Cheung Fun Noodles.
Address: 6 Dansey Pl, London W1D 6EZ
Looking for authentic Asian ingredients to cook with, head to SeeWoo, New Loon Moon and Lucky Foods, where you can find exotic ingredients, fresh fruit, vegetables, and spices of all desires. SeeWoo has an impressive fresh fish collection, and you will find a mountain of different instant noodles from Lucky Foods.
Where to get your dessert fix
Once you’ve finished your meal, meander over to the many dessert shops on offer to indulge in something sweet and delicious. Chinatown is packed full of dessert parlors and bubble tea shops that will keep the sweetest of toothed visitors smiling. Below is a list of our favourites.
This authentic Filipino ice cream parlour can be found on Newport Court, also known as dessert alley. Inside you will be mesmerised by their palm-leaf print walls, electric signs and of course the array of colourful Filipino desserts.
Treat yourself to the popular ube-filled bilog, a pandesal milk bun filled with purple yam ice cream. Halo halo is another popular choice which are fully loaded dessert pots containing coconut shavings, sweet red bean, jelly evaporated milk, shaved ice, leche plan, a wafer stick and scoop of ice cream! Come with your belly empty and leave with your mind blown.
Address: 32 Newport Ct, London WC2H 7PQ
“I’ll take the lychee rose with extra mermaids tail please” Sound unusual? Taiyakiya is a Japanese dessert shop where you can tailor-make your very own ice cream creations! Pick your base, choose your ice cream and top up with all sorts of colourful accessories such as mermaid tails, unicorn horns and angel wings.
Ice cream flavours include lychee rose, matcha, dark chocolate, vanilla and ramune. You will find this insta worthy dessert in the hands of happy visitors, as you walk the streets of Chinatown.
Address: 20 Newport Ct, London WC2H 7JS
Bubble Tea is big business in Chinatown, made from tea and powdered milk with flavoured jelly balls submerged at the bottom.
Cuppacha was the first bubble tea shop to open in Chinatown London and is one of the favourites among locals and visitors. You can order your very own custom-made drink or one off the menu. The most popular drinks include the Pearl Milk Tea, and the Ombre tea series which comes in 10 rainbow-coloured variations.
Address: 23 Newport Court, London WC2H 7JS
Golden Gate Cakeshop
This Cantonese bakery is stocked full sweet and savoury bakes. Look out for their signature barbecue pork buns, delicious creamy custard pastries, and pandan chiffon cakes, which have blown up in popularity due to TikTok.
Address: 13 Macclesfield St, London W1D 5BR
Yifang Fruit Tea Chinatown
The tiny doorway on Shaftesbury Avenue, can be easily missed, so instead look out for the long queues outside. Inside you will find Taiwanese tea delights, fun and fruity brews to traditional milky teas.
For a taste of true Taiwan, opt for their signature YiFang Fruit Te, it’s made from just-brewed, premium mountain tea, pineapple, passion fruit, apple and orange. For bubble tea aficionados, go for the YiFang’s Brown Sugar Pearl with Milk, complete with inky-black pearls.
Address: 104 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 5EQ
Where to Drink
Experimental Cocktail Club
Hidden behind an unassuming door on Gerrard Street, the Experimental Cocktail Club has become one of the favorite speakeasy-style bars in London, and it’s easy to see why. Inside you will find skilled mixologists whipping up good quality classics to unusual creations for the more adventurous crowd. The interior has an art deco feel with exposed brick walls and unique art.
Address: 13a Gerrard St, London W1D 5PS
Zoku draws in the crowds looking for a good time! This downstairs bar is stylish with plush blue velvet sofas, dark wooden tables and moody lighting. Expect to find Japanese highballs, spirits and creative cocktails on the menu and Guest DJ’s entertaining the crowd until the early hours of the morning.
Address: 22 Wardour St, London W1D 6QQ
The Blue Posts
Three whole floors to enjoy a tipple. Premium and craft beers can be found on the ground floor. The Mulwray upstairs is where you can indulge in expertly crafted and playful cocktails such as the mezcal-led White Mischief and the basement is a subterranean restaurant, serving creative modern European dishes, with an emphasis on Italian.
Address: 28 Rupert St, London W1D 6DJ
Look out for an unmarked jade green door, which marks the entrance to this hidden gem on Gerrard Street. Set over two floors, it’s an escapist’s paradise.
Cocktails created with tea, spice, smoke and theatrical flair are most loved at Opium. Spirits are ‘dispensed’ in Chinese medicine bottles, and the peckish can dine on their East-meets-West inspired dim sum menu in the Tea Parlour
Address: 15-16 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JE
Word on the street
“My favourite spot in Chinatown is Lo’s Noodle Factory. It’s my weekly destination to stock up on Chinese carbs”
Z He – Owner of Bun House
“C&R cafe is great, they do a banging Singapore laksa”
Head Bar Manager at Zoku
“I enjoy going to Opium, it’s a nice getaway that’s a bit different from the usual Chinatown scene”
Archie, Marketing Manager