Chinatown in Liverpool is hard to miss as you are met with a traditional Chinese arch at the top of Nelson Street that was imported from Shanghai and constructed by expert Chinese craftsmen. The arch not only welcomes you into Chinatown, but it also celebrates the twinning of two cities, Liverpool and Shanghai. Standing at 15 metres tall and adorned with 188 dragons and 12 pregnant dragons on the arch, which symbolise good fortune between the twinned cities, it is a beautiful way to enter Chinatown and celebrate its rich culture.
It might not be the largest of Chinatowns, with two main streets (Nelson Street and Duke Street), but what it may lack in size it outweighs in exciting places to visit. What makes Liverpool’s Chinatown so unique is that it is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe. 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 Liverpool’s Chinatown to discover on your next visit to the area.
1. Chung Wah Supermarket
If you’re looking for a new marinade or just some general inspiration on how to jazz up your homemade Chinese cuisine, this massive Chinese supermarket will do the trick. Chung Wah has everything from noodles to fresh fish, meats, 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.
Delicious Chinese food and karaoke may be hard to come by in Liverpool but ChinaCity has got you covered. The restaurant and karaoke bar is located in the heart of Chinatown, on Nelson Street, and is open from 6pm until 3am everyday, during normal times. ChinaCity offers a wide range of Cantonese and Szechuan dishes as well as seafood specials for you to enjoy as you belt out your favourite songs. The karaoke rooms are available for private hire for up to four hours and a banquets can be served whilst you party away.
3. Chamber 36
This Chinatown restaurant on Berry Street offers a modern twist on the classic cuisine. Chamber 36 is described as pan-Asian and not only serves delicious dim sum but also fresh Thai dishes complimented by delicacies from Japan, Korea and beyond. You’ll find delectable delights such as salt and pepper dishes, bao buns, baby ribs in a sweet and tangy sauce, pan fried pork dumplings, plus vegan specials like tofu and aubergine in black bean sauce, kimchi cauliflower and vegan croquettes. They even have chocolate spring rolls for dessert! If you’re full from earlier on in the day, the bar at Chamber 36 is perfect for sipping an Asian-inspired cocktail or two.
4. Yuet Ben
Yuh Ho Yau and his family established Yuet Ben in 1968. ‘Yuet Ben’ means ‘Welcome Honoured Guest’ and when you enter one of the city’s longest standing restaurants you will most definitely feel welcomed. The Chinatown restaurant is today run by Yuh Ho Yau’s daughter Theresa and her husband Terry Lim and they continue to serve authentic flavours of Northern Chinese cuisine to the people of Liverpool. The restaurant sits perfectly opposite the Chinatown arch which is great to look at from the window seat as you chow down on dry barbecued spare ribs, crispy duck pancakes, spicy Sichuan cucumber and deep fried aubergine.
5. Bon Bon Bakery
If you’re looking for fluffy Chinese baked goods and some of the yummiest pillows of cake, then Bon Bon Bakery is the place for you. The smells of the bakery will be enough to tempt you in but their beautiful counter filled with a selection of buns from char sui pork to coconut cream will surely have you gawping through the window in awe, then proceeding to order multiple bags of these to take home. There’s even shredded pork floss buns for those days when baked goods and meat are all you need. You heard us, shredded pork floss buns.
6. Mei Mei
If you’re going to visit Chinatown, a beautiful banquet is pretty much a right of passage, and you can enjoy one at Mei Mei. Located on Berry Street, you can pick how hardcore you want to go on the banquet (all require a minimum of two people) with their Royal Banquet being the most expensive at £38.80 per person and indulgent as it features fillet steak in Mei Mei’s special sauce. With a banquet, it’s the case of the more the merrier as the more people taking part, the more divine dishes are served. With six people or more taking part in a banquet, you can enjoy a dish of fried sliced lamb in spicy garlic sauce. Mei Mei also offers vegetarian banquets, dim sum combinations (vegetarian options available too) plus you can order individual dishes such as char siu wonton noodle soup and baked lobster in black bean sauce too.
7. The Bagelry
Ok, so it’s not Asian cuisine but you can’t miss out on visiting this Chinatown café in Liverpool filled with bagels and doughnuts. The Bagelry serves an array of bagels from your classic plain, New York-style or more intriguing flavours such as jalapeno and cheddar. For a quick lunch on the go, you can order one of their gorgeously-filled bagels along with a coffee to have on hand as you wander through Chinatown. Their halloumi shawarma bagel (spiced halloumi, hummus, lettuce and tomato) and pastrami melt bagel (pastrami, sauerkraut, pickle and cheese sauce) sound like winners to us. If you feel like you’ve not had enough dough whether that’s in bagel, bao or bun form then treat yourself to one of their deliciously fresh doughnuts, such as their peanut custard one.