Get us in your inbox

Seven weird and wonderful foods to eat in Chinatown

What Dad Cooked

There's more to feasting on Chinese New Year than checking into a fancy restaurant (although, that's always nice). Chinatown is full of weird and wonderful foods you can grab for a quick bite, so here are seven you might be tempted to try this weekend.

Thousand year-old eggs from 'New Loon Moon' Supermarket, Gerrard St/©What Dad Cooked

  1. Thousand year-old eggs from the New Loon Moon Supermarket

Well, they're not actually that old – but this style of preserving eggs has been around since the Ming Dynasty. Curing a duck egg in a mixture of salt, tea and other ingredients for up to 50 days transforms the eggs. The whites turn a beautiful dark amber with a fragrant and jelly-like texture, the yolks are rich and creamy (and green!). Pick up a dozen at New Loon Moon. 9A Gerrard Street, W1D 5PN

Racks of duck at Canton, Newport Place / ©What Dad Cooked

 2. Barbecue 'duck and offal' from Canton

Hanging in the windows of most Chinatown restaurants is one the world’s greatest culinary treasures – roast duck. These bronzed beauties are created after a long, complex (and often secretive) cooking process. But those aren't the only heavenly things to eat on those racks. There's barbecued chicken, pork and cuttlefish, while piled on the lower trays are – as one restaurant puts it – ‘assorted pigs' organs’. One for the gastronomically adventurous. 11 Newport Place, WC2H 7JR 

Traditional rice cake from Wonderful Patisserie / ©What Dad Cooked

3. Fish rice cake (nian gao) from Wonderful Patisserie

This special New Year’s treat is packed with a double whammy of symbolism. The fish means good fortune and prosperity and the rice cake represents the prospect of ‘going up’ in the world. These are traditionally eaten fried as a sweet pudding on New Year morning. 45 Gerrard St, W1D 5QQ 

Taiyaki from Chinatown Bakery / ©What Dad Cooked

 4. Taiyaki from Chinatown Bakery

These fish-shaped, custard-filled, waffle-like pastries are an import from Japan and the result of a piece of mechanical genius. An automated machine whirs, clunks, clicks, dollops and bakes these delectable mini fish. They’ll be sure to bring good fortune and help to sweeten the New Year – and they taste great too. 7 Newport Place, WC2H 7JR

Bubble tea at Happy Lemon, Newport Court / ©What Dad Cooked

 5. Bubble tea from Happy Lemon

This milky or fruit-flavoured tea with large round gummy bear-like tapioca pearls has been all the rage in the last few years. Order one from Happy Lemon where you can choose from black tea, green tea, or coffee – or even half tea and half coffee. They come in every fruit flavour under the sun (and bubbles in every colour of the rainbow). 24A Newport Court, WC2H 7J 

Durian from New Loon Moon, Gerrard St / ©What Dad Cooked

6. Durian from New Loon Moon Supermarket

The durian is notoriously stinky, which is probably why all the durians in Chinatown are kept outside. But here’s one of those rare culinary curiosities, where something that smells awful can also taste divine. Get inside the fruit and you’ll find a delicious custardy flesh that tastes of lychees and mangoes. 9A Gerrard Street, W1D 5PN

Making jiaozi dumplings in Jen Café / ©What Dad Cooked

 7. Dumplings from Jen Café

Where would we be without dumplings? They come in every shape and size; they can be sweet or savoury; and they can be steamed, baked, boiled or fried. They’re very important in Chinese cuisine – dim sum takes the dumpling art form into a whole new way of eating. The jiaozi-style dumplings (often seen being made by hand in Chinatown) are similar in shape to Chinese silver ingots, so are particularly enjoyed at New Year as they signify future prosperity and wealth. Tuck in! 4-8 Newport Place, WC2H 7JP

Find more ways to celebrate Chinese New Year on January 28.

Or get boozy with these ace Chinese New Year cocktail recipes:

Celebrate Chinese New Year with these cocktails

Cheers! Celebrate Chinese New Year this week with these sparkly cocktail recipes.

Posted by Time Out London on Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Latest news