It's the year of the goat. You really need some dim sum. But where to go for a decent steamed bun? Try one of these central London eateries to start off the new year in style
Don't get stuck with a dodgy chow mein this year. Our round-up of London's ultimate Chinese restaurants will tell you where to go – and we can even advise on how to dress and what to order for a happy new year too (you're welcome).
Rude but really good
Royal China Club is an institution; it's Ken Hom's favourite place to go in London (or so he told us over dinner once). Service is famously rude but that just adds to the charm and it's easy to forgive any restaurant that makes such delicious roast pork puffs (rich crisp pastry around softly spiced juicy meat. Mmmmmm).
Critics say: "As good as anything you find in Hong Kong" – Ken Hom
We say: go with a big group so you can justify ordering a whole duck
- Royal China Club (Baker Street, Queensway & Docklands) rcguk.co.uk
The cherry-wood roasted Peking duck at HKK could quite literally change your life. Any restaurant where the chef carves in front of you and you're encouraged to dip the crispiest slice of fat into a pile of sugar crystals is onto a winner. (We promise to always dip fat in sugar from now on.) The celebration menu features signature dishes from China's eight major culinary regions and with the tasting menu costing from £98 per person it should mark the start of a prosperous new year.
Critics say: "Each dish in turn became the greatest Chinese mouthful of my life” – Giles Coren
We say: more mind-blowing than a Chinese fire cracker
- 88 Worship Street, London EC2A 2BE hkklondon.com
If you love exploding dumplings
Dumplings' Legend is renowned for its xiao long bao, or steam soup dumpings. You'll see novices biting into these fluffy little treats, and a warm surprise dribbling down their chin. Not a good look. The right way to eat them is to pop them into your mouth whole, so the meaty stock explodes in your mouth. Be sure to book as this place gets busy.
Critics say: "Comfort and adventure are Dumplings' Legend's two watchwords" – Daily Mail
We say: it's not just about dumplings: their kong bao spicy peanut chicken is pretty addictive too
- 15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE dumplingslegend.com
The unexpected classic
It might look like a conference room but the Princess Garden in Mayfair actually does some sterling dim sum, especially from northern China. It can be refreshing to step out of the bustle of Chinatown, and after stuffing yourself senseless with their incredibly light steamed baozi pork buns (don't say we didn't warn you) you can go for a stroll in Hyde Park.
Critics say: "This is the place to come" – Fay Maschler
We say: Despite the prime location it's not too pricey
- 8 - 10 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZD princessgardenofmayfair.com
Some like it hot
Sichuanese cuisine is the spicy wildcard of Chinese cooking. Sichuan pepper is what brings the trademark burn that's somewhere between clove and an eye-popping chilli. Try Sichuan Folk in Spitalfields: it doesn't look like much from outside (and the decor inside isn't much better) but their steamed Sichuan-style cod is lip-tinglingly good.
Critics say: "An absolute gem, a true collector's piece" – Jay Rayner
We say: It's going to be spicy. Enjoy it. And then order plenty of Tsingtao beer to recover
- 32 Hanbury Street, London E1 sichuan-folk.co.uk
Time for a drink
Opium is an enchanting drinking den and late-night dim sum parlour fuelled by the kitchens of Gerrard Street's dumpling restaurants down below. Look for the jade green door and don't be put off by the bouncer as once you make it up the townhouse stairs you can recline on a red chaise longue and feast on king prawn dumplings and chilli martinis until 3am.
Critics say: "It’s all very theatrical – but that’s nothing compared to the drinks" Time Out
We say: just make sure you visit the bathrooms too. They're something special
- 15-16 Gerrard St, W1D 6JA, opiumchinatown.com
Stay in and cook it yourself! Check out Ching He Huang's insider tips on how to wok like a boss (no, it's not OK to stir-fry with olive oil. Yes, you do need to cut all your veggies that small). and try her recipes for chicken chow mein or classic Peking duck to get you started.