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.
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 beloved 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.
Location: 17 Thorp St, Birmingham B5 4AT
For Vegetarians - Cafe Soya
This cafe-style venue serves up a fusion menu of Chinese dishes and Vietnamese cuisine. Cafe Soya’s huge menu might be daunting, but their amazing range of meat-free dishes means that vegetarians 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.
Location: 2 Upper Dean St, Birmingham B5 4SG
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. It’s roughly £22 for all you can eat, which might be a little pricey on a student budget, but it’s a fantastic meal for special occasions and celebrations.
Price: More expensive
Location: The Arcadian, 72 Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4TD
Try something new - Toppoki
Bored of Chinese food? How about Korean? Toppoki 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 Toppoki, the restaurant’s namesake, which is a mixture of soft rice cake, fish cake, and the sweet red chilli sauce.
Price: Affordable – if you pay in cash you get an extra 10% off the bill!
Location: 1C Hurst St, Birmingham B5 4TD
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 - Happy Lemon
Inspired by Taiwanese bubble tea and home to some of the most elaborate drinks you can get in Birmingham, Happy Lemon is worth a visit. Anyone who’s ever come across bubble tea – a milk and tea mixture with tapioca ballspearls - will know that they usually come with a lot of flavours and personalisation but Happy Lemon takes their concoctions one step further, like with their Red Bean and Pudding Matcha Latte Milk Tea or Milk Tea with Oreo Cookies and Cream, for instance.
Know a place that needs to be on the list? Let us know!