London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops

London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Orient London

My love for Asian food goes way back, but moving to London and having Chinatown with authentic Asian cuisine right on my doorstep has made my heart grow even fonder. Dumplings, sticky rice, buns... I could eat them every day! Unfortunately, I haven't managed to sample all Chinatown offerings just yet (although I'm trying), but I've been around frequently enough to already have some favourites.

Azijska hrana mi je bila že od nekdaj všeč, odkar živim v Londonu, kjer imam avtentično azijsko kulinariko v londonski kitajski četrti takorekoč za vogalom, pa jo naravnost obožujem. Kitajski 'žlikrofi', polnjen lotosov list z rižem in mesnim nadevom, topli kruhki, rezanci... samo pišem pa se mi že cedijo sline! Na žalost mi vseh restavracij in trgovinic še ni uspelo obiskati (delam na tem), vendar sem jih preizkusila dovolj, da imam že nekaj svojih najljubših kotičkov. 
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Dumplings Legend



London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops
Dumplings' Legend is where my love for dumplings was first born, so I might be a bit biased, but that doesn't mean their food isn't tasty - I've been to the restaurant countless of times and have never had a bad meal. Their menu is extensive, including meat, seafood, rice and noodle dishes, but the stars of the show are definitely their soup dumplings (xiao long bau), which are prepared from scratch in-house - you can even watch them being made. The feel of the restaurant is quite touristy I have to say,  with tables almost too close together and a rather rushed service, but if you're looking for a good all-rounder food-wise, it's a good place to go for a quick lunch. Dumplings, of course, are a must-try!

V Dumplings' Legend sem se prvič zaljubila v kitajske žlikrofe, zato sem mogoče malo pristranska, to pa niti slučajno ne pomeni, da njihova hrana ni okusna. Restavracijo sem obiskala res že neštetokrat in niti enkrat nisem odšla razočarana. Na jedilnem listu se najde vse možno, od mesnih, morskih in riževih jedi do klasičnih rezancev, izstopajo pa njihovi sveže pripravljeni jušni žlikrofi (soup dumplings/xiao long bau). Res so božanski, pa še opazuješ lahko, kako jih delajo - v živo. Restavracija sama je precej turistično naravana, z mizami skoraj pretesno skupaj in na trenutke malce 'sunkovito' postrežbo (na splošno je postrežba v tukajšnjih kitajskih restavracijah bolj na horuk), vendar dobra izbira za hitro kosilo z vidika raznovrstne ponudbe.
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops

London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Orient London

Orient London is my latest discovery, but one I'll definitely be visiting regularly. The modern decor and a classier vibe make it the perfect place to go for what you'd call a nicer meal, and their dim sum is on another level. In-cre-di-ble. Some of my favourite dishes from the menu include baked mini roast pork buns, caviar shanghai dumplings, thai style squid cakes and glutinous rice in lotus leaves. Their dim sum is unfortunately only available during lunch time, but if you're stopping by for dinner, fear not, they have plenty of other things on the menu that didn't look half bad either. Yes, guilty as charged - I was totally checking out other people's plates.

Orient London je moje najnovejše odkritje, ampak imam občutek, da bo restavracija kmalu postala moja stalnica. Prepričali so me modernejši dizajn, bolj sproščeno vzdušje in njihov dim sum - najboljši kar sem jih jedla. Moje najljubše poslastice z menija so pečene štručke s svinjinskim nadevom (baked mini roast pork buns), šanghajski žlikrofi s kaviarjem (caviar shanghai dumplings), ocvrte tajske lignjeve tortice (thai style squid cakes) in lepljiv riž v lotosovem listu (glutinous rice in lotus leaves). Njihov dim sum je na žalost na voljo samo za kosilo, ampak mislim, da vas tudi pestra večerna ponudba ne bi smela razočarati. Ko sem vrgla uč na ostale krožnike, je vse zgledalo zelo vabljivo. 
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Orient London

London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Orient London
Next are bakeries, where I go for my proper carb fix. Asian savoury buns and sweet treats are, believe it or not, a lot more similar to the Slovenian soft, buttery pastry and moist cakes than the British counterparts, which I often find too dry and covered in yucky icing sugar rather than delicious cream. I normally stop at either Chinatown Bakery or Bake - they're both oozing with mouth-watering goodies! One thing that sets Bake apart, though, is the Japanese Taiyaki ice-cream - that vanilla or green tea flavoured swirl in the cutest fish cone you can see all over Instagram. Tried and tested, I have to say it isn't just a pretty face, but a taste bud pleaser too; however, a note of caution - it melts like no other. Make sure you have a pack of wet tissues in your bag!

Obiska vredne so tudi njihove valilnice pregrešnih ogljikovih hidratov - pekarne. Raj (pa tudi pekel, če pomislim na kalorije) za kruhovce kot sem jaz! Azijsko slano pecivo in slaščice so, verjamete ali ne, veliko bolj podobne našim slovenskim kot pa njihove angleške verzije, ki so meni ponavadi presuhe in preveč obložene s sladkorno glazuro. Jaz še vedno prisegam na 'žonftne' tortice s sladko smetano. No, nima veze. Pekarni, v katerih se ponavadi ustavim, sta Chinatown Bakery in Bake. Obe se ponašata z bombetkami, ki se kar topijo v tvojih ustih, medtem ko ima Bake na voljo še en dodaten slasten prigrizek - sladoled z okusom vanilije ali zelenega čaja v japonskem Taiyaki kornetu v obliki ribe. Brez skrbi, okusa po ribi na srečo nima. Sladoled in kornet nista samo fotogenična ampak tudi zelo okusna, edino paket vlažilnih robčkov moraš imeti nujno s sabo, ker se topi s svetlobno hitrostjo. 
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Chinatown Bakery

London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Bake
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops Bake Taiyaki Ice-cream
Entering an Asian supermarket in Chinatown is like entering another world - it always makes me feel like I've teleported myself to Southeast Asia. Frozen dumplings and cute-looking desserts is what I personally normally stock up on, but they sell everything from tropical fruits, veggies I've never even heard of, a hundred types of noodles, Asian sauces, frozen everything... the sky is the limit! I have to admit I'm not an expert on Asian supermarkets, but my flatmate says SeeWoo is the best on the block.

Vedno ko vstopim v azijski supermarket, se mi zdi, kot da sem se znašla v nekem drugem svetu, sredi tržnice na jugovzhodu Azije. Zmrznjeni kitajski oziroma korejski žlikrofi in lušne slaščice v obliki medvedkov in ne vem še česa vse se največkrat znajdejo v moji nakupovalni košarici, prodajajo pa drugače vse od tropskega sadja in meni neznane zelenjave do milijon vrst rezancev, azijskih omak... kar hočeš, res. Moram priznati, da nisem nek hud ekspert kar se tiče azijskih proizvodov, ker si azijsko hrano redko pripravljam sama doma, moja cimra, ki se na te zadeve res spozna, pa najbolj priporoča supermarket SeeWoo
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops

London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops
I also have to mention the touristy 'all you can eat' buffet restaurants. Sure, most people frown upon them, but sometimes you just want to stuff your belly with cheap, greasy Chinese, am I right? Especially if you're visiting London on a budget. The one I always end up in (because it seems to have the biggest selection of dishes for £10.95) is MW Buffet on Shaftesbury Avenue, but there's also a cheaper, £7.95 option on Wardour Street.

Čeprav se veliko ljudi nad njimi zmrduje, moram omeniti tudi samopostrežne 'all you can eat' azisjke restavracije. Včasih si pač zaželiš mastne hrane na kubik, pa še dokaj poceni prideš skozi, če obiskuješ London z bolj praznimi žepi. Sama grem vedno v MW Buffet na Shaftesbury Avenue, ker se mi zdi, da imajo za £10.95 največjo ponudbo, obstaja pa tudi cenejša opcija za £7.95 na Wardour Street.

To finish of the list, here's some honorary mentions of places I personally haven't tested out (yet), but come highly recommended by my friends. For fans of matcha latte, Tsujiri Matcha House apparently makes the best one; Chatime make great bubble tea; the shop called P2bus is the place to be for lovers of Korean and Japanese cosmetics; and Bubblewrap Waffle is where you can find the instagrammable bubble waffles.

Za zaključek bi omenila še nekaj kotičkov, ki jih sicer sama še nisem preizkusila, vendar so mi jih priporočili lokalni prijatelji. Za ljubitelje matcha latte je Tsujiri Matcha House baje najboljša izbira; Chatime pripravljajo okusen bubble tea (čaj s tapioka kroglicami); trgovina P2bus je raj za ljubitelje japonske in korejske kozmetike (ki jo, mimogrede, dobiš tudi v tule v Sloveniji); Bubblewrap Waffle pa je najnovejša vroča točka, saj tam prodajajo bubble vaflje, ki so preplavili Instagram.
London Chinatown: Best Restaurants & Shops



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