7 superb Asian-inspired restaurants in the UK

02/09/2022

Because of its location, Hong Kong offers a massive variety of different kinds of cooking for both visitors (remember those?!) and residents.

If you can excuse the pun, it’s a veritable melting pot of food tastes and varieties.

A walk around the Temple Street Night Market or along streets and alleyways filled with restaurants on Hong Kong Island is a sensory experience like no other.

People I know who have arrived in Hong Kong with fairly conservative food tastes have left with a palate open to a whole variety of culinary experiences.

When I first thought about this article, I started by listing all the different Asian-inspired food experiences you can enjoy in Hong Kong without too much searching around. But when my list reached 20 different styles, with all the different fusions of two or more, I realised it was an impossible task.

I then started thinking about some of the best places to find some of these types of cooking in the UK.

So, if you’re returning to the UK soon, or you’re already here, read my selection of seven of the top Asian-inspired restaurants in the UK.

1. Chinese – Din Tai Fung, Selfridges, London W1

On a shopping trip to Selfridges recently, I was absolutely delighted to find this gem on the top floor. Just the name transported me back to the Causeway Bay restaurant in the same chain.

This is actually the second of two in London, the other one being just down the road in Covent Garden.

Din Tai Fung is actually a worldwide brand with more than 170 restaurants. It has been named one of the world’s top restaurants in The New York Times by renowned food critic, Ken Hom.

The quality of food is excellent. I’d recommend the dish they are most famous for – Xiao Long Bao – or steamed pork soup dumplings.

2. Indian – The Mint Leaf Lounge, London EC2

My wife’s family originate from India so, as you’d expect, Indian food plays a big role in our lives.

I do enjoy cooking Indian food – saag paneer is a signature dish of mine – but there are many restaurants in London and elsewhere who I’m sure do finer examples!

One I’d strongly recommend is the Mint Leaf in Angel Court just around the corner from the Bank of England in London. It has been a city institution for many years.

It’s always salutary to see the reaction of English people used to the traditional suburban “curry house” when they dine here and realise that Indian cooking is far more than chicken tikka masala, naan bread and a pint of Cobra beer.

3. Chinese – Golden Park, New Chester Road, Wirral

Before you start thinking this list is all a bit London-centric, we’ll head north to this fine establishment.

Golden Park is renowned as one of the best restaurants in the north-west and has been voted the top Chinese restaurant in the prestigious Asian Restaurant Awards for 2022.

The quality of the food is superb, and the service is always excellent.

4. Asian Fusion – Vermilion Cinnabar, Manchester

Staying in the north-west, it’s a short journey down the M62 to Manchester where you’ll find a superb example of a fusion restaurant.

The myriad of influences in Asian cookery means that fusion cooking is becoming increasingly popular. After all, why limit yourself to one fine example of Asian cooking if you can successfully combine two or more? Sometimes it can feel a bit forced, but in the case of Vermilion Cinnabar it’s a treat.

This is very much a Manchester institution, and hugely popular.

5. Sushi – Sushi Mami, Manchester

While we’re in Manchester, let’s tick sushi off of our list.

The decision to include this Japanese-style of food preparation – which I admit is not to everyone’s taste – was inspired by my young daughter, Lanah, who has recently developed a love of the stuff. I think she likes the idea of the conveyor belt delivery system!

Sushi Mami won the award for best Japanese restaurant in the Asian Restaurant Awards while resident chef,  Xiang Yang Liu won the Oriental chef of the year award.

6. Vietnamese – The Pho chain of restaurants (various locations)

At the last count, the Pho chain of Vietnamese restaurants boasted 33 venues around the UK. This means that there’s liable to be one within striking distance of where you are.

It’s well worth making plans to visit your local Pho because the food quality is wonderful.

They pride themselves on serving up authentic Vietnamese street food, and reviewers constantly reference the continual excellent quality of the fare on offer.

7. Singaporean – Bugis Street Brasserie, London SW7

I’ve always been a huge fan of Asian food and, if you had to pin me down to stating my favourite dish, Singapore-style noodles would be on my short list.

This means I’m always happy to visit the Bugis Street Brasserie in Gloucester Road, west London.

It offers a range of different Asian styles – Malaysian, Indonesian and Chinese – but their speciality is Singaporean, including a superb spicy noodle soup.

It’s considered to be one of London’s best Asian restaurants, and it’s easy to understand why when you start tasting the food they serve up.

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