Centred around Ladywell Walk, close to The Arcadian, the Chinese Quarter or Chinatown in Birmingham is hard to miss as you are met with pagoda shaped archways as you enter some of the shops and restaurants in the area as well as rows of red lanterns down Cathay Street. It might not be the largest of Chinatowns but what it may lack in size it outweighs in exciting places to visit.
What makes Birmingham’s bustling and colourful Chinatown so unique is that it grew from a synagogue. The Chinese Quarter initially began with the oldest Chinese restaurant in the city, Chung Ying Cantonese on the corner of Wrottesley Street, which was a former Jewish place of worship. As more Chinese Cantonese restaurants and businesses opened during the 1980s, the area around Ladywell Walk became officially recognised as Birmingham’s Chinatown.
The city has many reputable Chinese restaurants, Chinese takeaways and a huge selection of Chinese groceries from many Chinese supermarkets. Check out our guide to the best places in Birmingham’s Chinatown to discover on your next visit to the area.
1. Chung Ying Cantonese
If you’re going to visit Chinatown in Birmingham, a beautiful banquet is pretty much a right of passage, and you can enjoy one at Chung Ying. Started up back in 1981, Chung Ying has proved to be one of the oldest and most successful Cantonese restaurants in Birmingham; winning several awards, including ‘Restaurant of the Year’ 2019 at the Birmingham Awards. You can pick how hardcore you want to go on the banquet with one of their Deluxe Banquet menus being the most expensive at £36 per person and indulgent as it features dim sum hors d’oeuves, crispy aromatic duck with pancakes and fried lobster tail with ginger and spring onion. Better still, Chung Ying even boasts its very own outdoor heated terrace.
Chung Ying Cantonese, 16 – 18 Wrottesley Street, B5 4RT
2. Ming Moon
Not got your heart set on a specific dish? Or perhaps you want to try and bit of everything. Well, Ming Moon on Hurst Street offers a buffet service which allows you to pick all your favourite Chinese dishes and enjoy them on one plate, and go back for more. At this restaurant you not only get to choose from traditional Chinese dishes but also enjoy ones from Japan such as sushi.
Ming Moon Restaurant, 16 Hurst Street, B5 4BN
3. Peach Garden
Hidden down a quiet alley of Chinatown known as Bath Passage, you’ll find Birmingham restaurant Peach Garden with its window boasting a selection of cooked meat hung up. Inside, the place is buzzing as people flock to this small restaurant for their popular triple roast dish featuring pork belly, char sui pork and duck, served on a mountain of white rice with some greens, which can then be doused in chilli oil. Not only is the food top notch but the atmosphere of Peach Garden transports you to the likes of Hong Kong and proves that sometimes the small, off-the-beaten track spots have some of the best food out there.
Peach Garden, 34 Ladywell Walk, B5 4RX
4. Xiong Qi Hot Pot
Hot pot is a traditional dish from the Sichuan province of China and it’s a great way to socialise with friends over food. At Xiong Qi you get involved in the cooking by dipping an assortment of ingredients into a hot bubbling pot of spicy soup, which will both cook and take on the flavour of the liquid. Choose from the likes of a seafood, traditional spicy, vegetarian or vegan broth soup base, but if you can’t decide the pot can be split in half so you can enjoy two soups of choice. As part of the hot pot experience, guests can select something from the freshly prepped meat and vegetable platters along with other side dishes such as hand prepped egg noodles and prawn paste to add to the pot.
Xiong Qi, Unit 3B, 44 Essex Street, B5 4TR
5. Asia Asia Food Hall
As the name suggests, Asia Asia Food Hall specialise in Asian fusion food with delicacies from all over Asia including cuisines from Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, China and Japan all under one roof. On the first floor you’ll not only find a drinks bar serving a range of beers, bubble teas, juices and other soft drinks, but also find three restaurants- Korean Food, Pho Viet serving Vietnamese street food and Sakura serving Japanese food. Head to the next floor up to discover Malatang (cHinese street food), Bangkok Cafe serving Thai food and BBQ and Dumplings serving barbecued meat on skewers, spicy chicken wings and dumplings. With so many options, the best advice we can give you is to arrive hungry in order to try as much as you can.
Asia Asia Food Hall, 10 Pershore Street, B5 4RX
6. Cafe Soya
Although Cafe Soya’s meat-based dishes are great, it’s their vegetarian and vegan options that really stand out. Cafe Soya manages to recreate meaty favourites like crispy aromatic duck with their delicious, texture soy-based mock meats without any compromise, and their dishes pack as much flavour as their meat version. Other highlights include sweet and sour hot pots with fresh pineapples, onion & peppers and stir-fried mixed vegetables with garlic served in crispy lettuce wraps.
Cafe Soya, Unit B106 Arcadian Centre, B5 4TD
7. Miyako Teppanyaki
It’s not just about the Chinese food in Chinatown in Birmingham as it’s also the place to sample a multitude of Asian cuisines including Korean and Japanese. Watch your food being prepared before your eyes on a heated steel plate at Miyako Teppanyaki varying from fried rice, steak, chicken, seafood, fish, tofu, stir fried vegetables and more cooked with the likes of onions, garlic, soy or teriyaki sauce. Better still, guests can tuck into a range of appetisers including a selection of sashimi, plus nigiri and maki sushi.
Miyako Teppanyaki, Arcadian Centre, Ladywell Walk, Hurst Street, B5 4ST
8. Day In Supermarket
If you’re looking for a new marinade or just some general inspiration on how to jazz up your homemade Asian cuisine, this massive Chinese supermarket will do the trick. Day In has everything from seasonings and noodles to fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh Chinese specialities such as spring rolls and wanton, and lots of impressive snacks that’ll guarantee you’re the most popular person in the office.
Day In, Pershore Street, B5 6ND
Bringing a taste of Korea to Birmingham, Topokki serves classics such as bibimbap, bulgogi and kimchi fried rice. It’s a great spot for some fuel before or after a show (the Hippodrome is slap bang in the centre of Chinatown) and offers a range of Korean dishes suitable for all hunger levels with lighter bites such as miso soup, king prawn salad and edamame beans, or larger staples like yakisoba, ramen and dupbap (rice bowl dishes). Their desserts are both tasty and intriguing with options such as green tea or red bean ice cream, plus mango, chocolate or green tea mochi.
Topokki, Unit 1C Hurst Street, B5 4TD