Birmingham's Chinatown food guide

If you haven’t been to Birmingham’s Chinatown to eat at the incredibly diverse and often very affordable restaurants, then check out our top tips and make sure you pay the gem a visit.

Posted 03 January 2024

Southside is Birmingham's most vibrant and diverse scene: embracing Chinatown, Theatreland and The Gay Village, which makes it a fantastic nightlife alternative to the main city centre areas like the High Street and Broadstreet. The real star of the show though, is the food. Chinatown isn’t limited to Chinese cuisine, you’ll be able to find dishes from Korea, Vietnam, Japan and more, but with so much to choose from it can be hard to decide where to go. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best and most loved Chinatown-based restaurants below!

For dim sum - Chung Ying Garden

Dim sum often refers to a selection of steamed or fried dumplings with different fillings. It’s delicious, varied and perfect for sharing. Chung Ying is Birmingham’s dim sum home and it’s loved by professional Birmingham chefs and residents alike. There are over 65 dim sum dishes to tuck into, ranging from the delicious siu mai dumplings (pork and prawn) to steamed char sui buns. There’s also a wide-ranging menu that’s not focused on dim sum if you want to stick to the classics.

Price: Varies

Location: 17 Thorp St, Birmingham B5 4AT

For Vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters - Cafe Soya

This casual restaurant serves up a fusion menu of Chinese dishes and Vietnamese cuisine. Café Soya’s huge menu might be daunting, but their amazing range of meat-free dishes means that vegetarians and vegans don’t miss out on their favourites. With mock chicken skewers and veggie prawn toast among a host of vegetarian alternatives, and another menu for carnivores, Café Soya is an ideal place to take a group of friends with differing dietary restrictions.   

Price: Affordable, cash only

Location: Unit B106, The Arcadian

For Sushi - Kyoto Sushi and Grill

A Japanese sushi restaurant borrowing an all-you-can-eat concept from the Netherlands. There’s no conveyer belt, no self-service – you choose a selection of dishes from the menu and they’re made fresh and delivered to your table. Once you’ve finished the food you have, you can order another round and as many rounds as you want for up to two hours. Each person can order up to five plates at a time and can choose from up to 80 dishes. This way, there’s less food waste and you can actually order the dishes you like instead of hoping they’ll appear on the conveyer belt. 

Price: More expensive

Location: The Arcadian, 72 Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4TD

Try something new - Topokki

Bored of Chinese food? How about Korean? Topokki offers a relaxed dining experience and the detailed menu and helpful staff will demystify some of the dishes you’ve maybe not seen before. Oh, and it’s delicious. In fact, if you’re not feeling adventurous just go for the Korean-style sweet and spicy fried chicken, which is excellently spiced and the perfect comfort food. Or you could try Topokki, the restaurant’s namesake, which is a mixture of soft rice cake, fish cake, and the sweet red chilli sauce.

Price: Affordable

Location: 1C Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4TD

For Dessert

Egg custard tarts

The two authentic Chinese bakeries below each have their specialties. Cakes are usually really affordable and will cost you a fraction of the price of an average restaurant dessert.

Wah Kee Bakery – If you want light, fluffy sponge cakes and renowned Hong-Kong style egg tarts.

China Court Bakery – They do a range of cakes but the real stars are the filled sweet and savoury buns. Try the custard milk bun (which is like a huge custard doughnut).

Drinks and dessert - Xing Fu Tang

Xing Fu Tang is an extremely popular Taiwanese bubble tea café known for their viral brown sugar boba, which is a must-try. They also do a wobbly Japanese soufflé pancake with a fun range of toppings to pick from. Definitely worth a visit to finish off your trip to Chinatown. 

Find more amazing food and drink options to try on the Southside website.

Student life in Birmingham

Birmingham has everything: bars, restaurants, theatre, music, nightlife, street food. We're one of the most cost-effective cities for students in the UK and with five universities there's so much here to see and do. Find out why Birmingham has the UK's largest student population outside London!

Find out more