The best restaurants in Manchester Chinatown are some of the most visited in the whole city.
They’re just the sorts of places you want to be heading for lots of food at not much cost.
As an area, Chinatown has plenty going on and there’s lots of history as well, so we thought we’d tap briefly into that before getting to the food.
If you’re here to find Chinatown’s best restaurants in a hurry, go ahead and scroll past this little history lesson. We won’t be offended.
What’s with Chinatown?
There are 35 official Chinatowns in the world, spread over Europe, Asia and the USA. Twelve of them are in Europe, with 5 in the UK.
The other UK Chinatowns are in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle. But, as the second largest yet least touristy of them all, Manchester Chinatown gets our vote as the best.
Since its creation in the 70s, Manchester Chinatown has developed so quickly that it’s now recognised as the main cultural hub for Chinese living in northern England.
As well as Chinese restaurants there are supermarkets, shops and Chinese physicians. There’s even Chinese newsagents selling newspapers published and then shipped in from Hong Kong.
Then there’s the iconic archway, of course. Grand and gorgeous and given to Manchester as a gift from China (an honour very few of the world’s Chinatowns have) as a stamp of authenticity.
Manchester Chinatown is a living, breathing Chinatown where people work and run their businesses. So, as mentioned, it’s not touristy at all. You’ll see a few people taking photos here and there, but there are almost no tacky souvenir shops selling the usual bric-a-brac.
It’s this, we think, that makes Manchester Chinatown such a great place to eat out, because it feels like a city within a city and the food being served is close to what people actually eat in China, rather than a British sweet & sour chicken that’s full of God knows what.
So, without further ado…
The best restaurants in Chinatown
Yang Sing calls itself smart Cantonese dining, but not smart as in techy. Smart as in lovely decor, food that’s refined and chopsticks that feel almost too nice to eat with. But all of that said, there’s no pretence at all, as even though the food at Yang Sing feels fancy, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to eat it. Case in point, the four-course banquet is only £30 per person. There’s also Cantonese cooking classes, daily bottomless yum cha afternoon teas and private dining areas if your occasion is a special one.
Must-try dish: Anything from the BBQ meat section, particularly the crispy belly pork
Spend per person: £30-40
Address: 34 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4JY
Chinatown doesn’t necessarily mean Chinese restaurants, because to overlook Japanese restaurants like Yuzu is not much short of criminal. You’ll find Yuzu in the Michelin Guide as well as the Good Food Guide, where it’s regularly and rightfully featured because of its menu that’s leagues above most other Japanese menus in Manchester. There’s no sushi, but there’s authentic tempura dishes, udon bowls and sashimi sets, all complemented just right with a good selection of sake.
Must-try dish: The award-winning salmon katsu is something to write home about
Spend per person: £20-25
Address: 39 Faulkner Street, Manchester M1 4EE
The sign outside Red Chilli is one of the most distinct in Chinatown, but it’s not the reason this restaurant is so popular. That’s all down to the food, which is cheap, cheerful and authentic. The menu features quality as well as quantity, which does mean you’ll likely spend a while flicking through it. While some dishes might sound a bit weird (duck tongue with pickled chilli, anyone?), there are plenty more that will have your mouth watering. Red Chilli also has a few set menus for special occasions, like the First Date menu for £24 each.
Must-try dish: Don’t miss the chilli sea bass
Spend per person: Depends on the occasion, but £20 is a good ballpark
Address: 403 – 419 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL
BBQ Handmade Noodles King
BBQ Handmade Noodles King is quite a mouthful to say and an even bigger mouthful to eat at. That’s because the portions here are as big as they are authentic, which means you need to be arriving with your appetite ready to go and probably a solid nerve as well because eating pig intestine is no joke. The handmade noodle bowls are soupy and delicious. There’s also a vast amount of grilled meat on the menu, served hot or cold. The restaurant itself is simple, stylish and right behind Piccadilly Gardens, meaning you can jump right off the train and fill yourself up before a day in the city. Win.
Must-try dish: Stir-fried handmade noodles with chicken and satay sauce
Spend per person: You can get away with a tenner each
Address: 45-47 Faulkner Street (upper ground floor), Manchester M1 4EE
Again, not a Chinese restaurant, just the North West’s OG teppanyaki experience. Teppanyaki Chinatown has been in the game since 1987 and continues to go from strength to strength thanks to its no-gimmicks approach. For the uninitiated, teppanyaki is a Japanese style of dining that involves a large table surrounding an iron plate cooking surface where the chef prepares the food right in front of you. It’s sort of like theatre, but where you get to tell the lead actor how you like your meat cooked. There’s everything from monkfish and lobster to fillet steak or lamb loin, all cooked in a special Tokyo sauce and served with excellent Japanese sides.
Must-try dish: Try the Land & Sea special of beef & lobster tail
Spend per person: Expect to spend between £30 and £50 each
Address: 58/60 George Street, Manchester M1 4HF
Little Yang Sing
Last but by no means least, Little Yang Sing rounds off this list with authentic Cantonese food, courtesy of Manchester Chinatown legend, Warren Yeung. Not only has the recent refurbishment made it one of the nicest looking restaurants in Chinatown, but the dim sum section of the a la carte makes it one of the best places to head with a large group of your nearest and dearest for a properly charming meal out. Vegetarians are also well catered for with more indulgent tofu and mixed veggie dishes than you can shake a stick at. Simply put, Little Yang Sing is in the Chinatown elite.
Must-try dish: All of the dim sum, especially the coconut chicken samosas
Spend per person: Most of the dim sum are £4.95 – we’ll leave the maths to you
Address: 17 George Street, Manchester M1 4HE