Chinese food culture attracts many people who want to know more about China, or people who are interested in Chinese food. Lots of freshers are constantly asking me questions about this, including several UK students who order not-so-authentic Chinese takeaway lots of times. This confused me greatly before realizing that TripAdvisor, a popular app that should provide the best suggestions for local foods to people who are new to the city, has been given completely incorrect suggestions. As a second-year student who goes to a Chinese restaurant three times a week, I hadn’t even heard of most of the names of the restaurants on their ranking
I believe everyone has different opinions for the ‘best’ Chinese restaurant in Leeds. Personally, I will be ranking them based on what I can recall from my experience and its distance to Parkinson building. Different restaurants cook in different ways, which means even if you order the same food, they taste differently in different Chinese restaurants. I know that price should also be an important consideration. However, the fact is that you need to spend over £5 per dish if it’s not a lunchbox. This is why I had to learn how to cook, instead of eating out at Chinese restaurants all the time, no matter how delicious they are!
Since we are students and may not be able to spend too much on eating out, I will mainly be recommending restaurants with lunchboxes, which is cheaper but only comes with rice and one dish. Most of the Chinese restaurants only accept cash, and you can also call them directly to order takeaway. I personally would advise not to trust any Chinese food delivery app.
Don’t worry if you are vegetarian or have specific food allergies, there is a large range of options for you to choose from, based on the different regions of China.
Even after the new noodle house, NOODLESTA, opened, Home is still my favourite restaurant. Some of the food are of a Northern Chinese style, which means they’re a bit spicy, or very spicy for some of you. I usually order some ‘Enoki Mushrooms & Sliced Beef Soup’, ‘Boiled Fish’, and ‘Steamed Tofu and Shrimps’.
Fish and Chip is a classic in the UK, but it should not limit your imagination of the ways we can cook fish. In China, and some parts of Asia, we prefer to boil the fish, with pickled pepper or Sauerkraut for example, because it is the best way to bring out the flavor and keep the original quality of the fish flesh. Whenever you eat Chinese food, you will realize that Chinese food puts more focus on the flavor, rather than only satisfying the feeling of being full such as that of food in a fast food restaurant. Usually we’re not satisfied with just eating pork, fish or beef; it is more about the use of ingredients, and even the intensity of the heat used when cooking.
One of the reasons why it is more expensive to enjoy Chinese food is that some of the ingredients come from Asia. Some of them even insist on getting the raw ingredients from China, in order to ensure the most authentic flavor.
Unlike the other restaurants I recommend below, its lunchbox is not the main star. If you need to meet with your friends for a long chat, or just simply want to taste more dishes and split the bill with your friends to save the money, there is a whole menu of food based on different regions in China. Feel free to explore and compare them!
‘Home’ is located between the Laidlaw Library and Central Village. I prefer to go there if I am meeting a close friend. When I first arrived in Leeds and felt homesick, this restaurant was very attractive because of its name, similar to the name of the ‘Library’ pub.
You can find NOODLESTA easily by crossing the road from the Parkinson building. There are only a few options like sirloin, chicken or beef with noodles. The main difference is whether you want your noodles to come with soup or not. Based on experience, if you choose to have it without soup, it will come with a bit of vegetables, compared to the ones with soup that have no vegetables. Unlike ‘Home’, the service is similar to that of McDonald’s; you pay for your order at the cashier desk, get a number, and go to collect your order after you hear someone shout out your name. It is classic Chinese noodles and worth trying if you want to eat noodles.
“It’s the cheapest and delicious” and “The portions are good” may be some of the popular comments from most of those who have tried the food at Noodle House. Compared with ‘Home’ and ‘NOODLESTA’, most of the dishes here are only around £6. Although it is called ‘Noodle House’, you will find that the menu consists of other special dishes like barbecued pork, roasted duck, marinated steamed chicken and roasted pork with crispy skin. Don’t feel confused! Some of you may have not heard of them, but they are popular dishes in Southeast Asia, and because the flavor tends to not be as spicy and sweet, it’s more popular compared to the Northern Chinese dishes .
They usually ask you for a large or small portion. Trust me when I say that the small one is sufficient, unless you want to bring the leftovers home. The only issue is its location, which is in the city centre, a bit further from uni. However, the food tastes more delicious after you’ve spent all that time to get there!