Looking for the best things to do in London’s Chinatown? Bang smack in the centre of London’s West End ChinaTown is an area that you'll probably end up stumbling upon whilst in the city. Chinatown brings people together from all walks of life to experience a taste of Chinese culture. We recommend checking out what this vibrant area has to offer, especially if you’re a massive foodie.
Beautifully decorated with Chinese lanterns, symbols and Chinese dragons, the whole of ChinaTown injects cultural life into the West End. Definitely a place you can’t miss out on your London itinerary. The dumpling houses, Chinese restaurants and delicious Asian noodles sold in ChinaTown attracts tourists and locals alike from all over the world to get a taste. We’ve pulled together the Ultimate Area Guide to this little pocket of London so you know the best things to do in ChinaTown…
HOW TO GET THERE
ChinaTown is easily accessed using the London Tube system. The nearest Tube Station is Leicester Square but you can also jump off at either Covent Garden or Piccadilly Circus which are less than 10 minutes walk away from the bustling ChinaTown.
WHAT TO EAT IN CHINATOWN
People come from all over the world to indulge in ChinaTowns famous food. The small, minimalist shops and cafes that line ChinaTown are always cooking up something delicious inside. You can smell the fragrant aroma from dumplings and curry just walking down the street. Some joints RULE ChinaTown so you don’t want to miss feasting in these places. We recommend:
Traditional dim sum parlours: Jen’s Cafe (£5 for 8 dumplings), Dumpling’s Legend Curries and meat: Cafe TPT, Misato (for a heart Katsu curry) Fried chicken: Good Friend Buns: Bun House Noodles: Boazi Inn (for the Tan Tan noodles) Sweet treats: Bake (for the nutella or matcha Taiyaki waffles), Golden Gate Cake Shop (for custard tarts), Tsujiri Matcha House, Bubblewrap Waffle For regional Chinese dishes: Leong’s Legend Roast duck: Four Seasons For Asian fusion street food: Ichibuns
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WHERE TO DRINK IN CHINATOWN
ChinaTown is brimming with quaint little tea rooms where you can enjoy herbal Chinese teas in a peaceful atmosphere. Another specialty that you have to try is the variety of Taiwanese bubble tea in ChinaTown. Here’s what to drink while you’re in the area...
Tearooms: Tea Room at Bun House, XU Tea House (where tea is imported directly from Taiwanese teahouses) Bubble Tea: Happy Lemon, Biju Bubble Tea Room For cocktails: Opium Cocktail bar and Dim Sum Parlour, The Light Lounge Chinese Beers: Tea Room at Bun House (for beers from Hong Kong breweries) Pubs: Waxy O Connors
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN CHINATOWN
There’s more to do in ChinaTown than eating and drinking. There are Chinese supermarkets where you can buy authentic ingredients to take back home as well as acupuncture shops, nail salons, as well as Chinese sights and attractions to give you insight into Chinese culture and religion. Here’s what we recommend...
NEW FOURTH GATE
The largest Chinese gate in the country. You can’t come to ChinaTown and not see the New Fourth Gate. This Chinese gate was completed in 2016 and was built in traditional Qing dynasty style. Totally Instagrammable.
The best places for Chinese shopping in Chinatown are the New Loon Moon supermarket, the See Woo supermarket and the Red Blossom Tea Company. Explore the Chinese supermarkets and familiarise yourself with the sauces and exotic spices used in oriental Asian cuisine. The New Loon Moon supermarket sells over 35,00 food products from around East Asia including snacks, noodles, desserts, sauces, vegetables and more. Buy yourself some ingredients to take home if you love to cook! If you want to add to your herbal tea collection, make a stop at the Red Blossom Tea Company that sells a range of artisanal loose-leaf teas & teaware. There are also shops around ChinaTown selling lanterns, lucky cats and Chinese clothing.
We recommend 3D Nail Salon. There are some really great nail salons in and around ChinaTown that charge affordable prices for a manicure. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a quick mani pedi while in London, the 3D Nail Salon is a favourite amongst locals.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
Once a year the whole of London’s ChinaTown celebrates Chinese New Year - in fact London hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the world outside of Asia. The date varies each year depending on the Lunar calendar but it usually takes place between min-January and February. This year Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday 5th February which will mark the end of the Year of the Pig and the start of the Year of the Rat.
During the Chinese New Year celebrations, you’ll get to experience ChinaTown really come to life with colourful processions on the streets around Trafalgar Square with decorations, parades, dragon dancing, martial arts, food, drinks and dancing. The celebrations end of the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar with an amazing Lantern Festival.
INTERNATIONAL DRAGON AND LION DANCE FESTIVAL
Taking place on New Year’s Day (1st January) the Dragon and Lion Dance Festival is something to experience. Celebrated in Hong Kong, the festival has recently come to London where you can experience colourful dragons and lions parade through London’s streets in and around Chinatown.
So as you can see, there is plenty to do in ChinaTown from street food, tea rooms to Asian supermarkets. If you’re planning a trip to London, add this area to your itinerary ASAP. We hope you found this Chinatown guide useful.