The Chinese Quarter area could already be your go-to for some incredible and authentic dining experiences. You may well have stumbled into Chinatown from The Bullring or markets. It's really worth dipping into the surroundings and soaking up the atmosphere. If you have not visited, as familiar with the city as you think you are, why not consider yourself a tourist for a day? A true cultural treat awaits you.
1) The restaurants
There are Chinese, Cantonese, Korean and a huge choice of Asian originated places to dine, or grab some noodles on the go. Cafe Soya would be a bit of a favourite for vegetarians, and if you have never tried bubble tea a visit to Happy Lemon might be in order. A definitive guide to where to eat in Chinatown is always going to be a never ending work in progress, but we've compiled a few suggestions here.
Follow recommendations, dip in to somewhere unknown or take the time honoured tradition of do as the locals do and you won't be disappointed. You'll be supporting some great independent business' too. With so much choice just be wary of plans getting skewed though- you'll be heading for a night of clubbing on Hurst Street, and the next thing you'll know is the only thing you'll be dancing with that night is a pair of chopsticks.
If you decide that you want to re-create some of the dishes that you have been sampling, be sure to get your ingredients while you are in Chinatown. The supermarkets will stock everything you need, as well as things that you may never have heard of if these are your early Chinatown days. The markets are eclectic, so you can also drop the odd souvenir or gift in your basket as you go.
The big tip here? The supermarket in the Chinese Quarter is going to be far cheaper than your mainstream one for Asian food, more interesting to visit, and the staple student noodle snack pack will always cost under 20p. Even if you don’t want to buy anything it is a joy to browse the shelves, just as it is a joy to wander the streets of Chinatown.
3) Just explore!
Chinatown is part of Birmingham’s Southside, sitting between, and edging its dragon’s tail into the Bullring, and breathing fire into the theatre district and Gay Village area around Hurst Street. A little bit of history? You’ll need something to chat about while sitting in one of the many fine restaurants waiting for your first plate of Dim Sum. The quarter has its roots in the 1960’s with many migrants of Chinese heritage coming to the UK from Hong Kong, it then grew from there to be officially recognised as an area of the city some twenty years later.
You can really loose yourself in Chinatown, but still find your way back to where you want to be. Check out landmarks like the pagoda or look up to the rooftops to get a sense of the architecture. You’ll need your phone to keep your Instagram Stories on the go, life, culture and there’s always some tasteful kitsch around the corner!