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The silver chopstick award: Who does the best and worst Chinese food in Liverpool?

We want to know. Whether it's a takeaway, chippie or restaurant, there £100 banquet and a crate of Tsing Tao for the rants that tell us most

Published on September 22nd 2010.


The silver chopstick award: Who does the best and worst Chinese food in Liverpool?

THIS weekend, Europe's oldest Chinatown will be awash with colour, noise and all the fun of the fair as thousands turn out to celebrate the Year of the Ox in weak winter sunshine..

Confidential likes Chinese New Year: It seems to take care of itself and always appears to run seamlessly with little intervention, plus the restaurants and cafes around Nelson and Berry streets, and right across the city, buzz with people and travelling dragons turning up in minibuses making things go with an extra firecracker bang. There's no better time to enjoy the Chinese experience.

But what of the Chinese food experience? Confidential has had good, bad and a lot of very average grub in its chopstick travels around the place. By the latter, we mean bogstandard beef in blackbean sauce and oyster prawns drowned in cornflour gravy or thick sauces that could easily be sponsored by Win Yip or Blue Dragon. And we haven't even gone near the MSG question.

Only recently, however, we were at the New Star, in Duke Street, which could become something of a favourite. The menu threw up few surprises but the ingredients in the dishes we tried were fresh, tasty and there was lots of it. Nicely presented too.

There was friendly service from our waitress, Ping (pictured), who not once hovered over us, and left us to it, for ages. There's a bakery in the basement where they make all kinds of confections and elaborate celebration cakes. Crucially, the place is regularly a-babble with that unbeatable marketing tool for any proprietor trying to lure punters in: Chinese people. Eating.

But unlike London and Manchester, there still aren't many places at all here in Liverpool offering a bit of different for the gwailo, ie, a menu translated into English that offers something more challenging than crispy duck and pancakes.

Because we wouldn't eat it? Give us a chance!

Off the top of our heads, within a 500-yard radius of The New Star, the Mei Mei is a safe bet, the Yuet Ben even safer, and the Ma Bo and North Garden were the only choice for students, and those in the know, for years.

The Far East, one time recommendation of the restaurant guides, has gone. Meanwhile, the budget, all-you-can-eat-out-of-a-trough places, like the Buffet Star in Hanover Street, frequently have them queueing and waddling out of the door.

But the question we're asking you today is who does the best – and the worst - Chinese food in Liverpool? Is there a takeaway in Woolton that knocks spots off the Tai Pan? Have you had anything memorable anywhere - soberish, and not after a nightclub - and why was it memorable? For all the right or wrong reasons?

On a fast food map we were sent this week, Liverpudlians appear in the top three Chinese food lovers for eating approximately 27 takeaways a year and spending almost £300 in the process. So where are you going and why?

The family who run The New Star also have a place in Aintree, proving that the search for the best could be quite wide. So let's not get city centre-centric, and let us know where we should, or shouldn't, be going.

We will award a £100 Chinese banquet in a place of your choice for the best rant on the subject and a crate of Tsing Tao beer for the runner up. We will also visit with our silver chopsticks and award them to the establishment in question.

So go ahead...Chinese food in Liverpool – bag yourself a banquet.

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44 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

In case you were wondering, we are on the case of the Silver Chopstick award based on some of your suggestions here. If anyone else has anything or any place further to add, let us know here. Come on. Give us a compelling reason to award it.

Sheila StoneJanuary 23rd 2009.

The New Capital in Chinatown is excellent. The food is constantly great and the Lee family make you so welcome. My 19 year old son loves it so much he now goes with his friends and they all love the food plus the Lee daughters.!! A Gem to be handed down throughout the generations.

DigJanuary 23rd 2009.

I like Sub Wei. I particularly enjoy their deep fried crispy spider.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 30th 2012.

Spiders !

yargevetsJanuary 23rd 2009.

Beijing City, Allerton Road. Worth travelling from Aigburth for Singapore Vermicelli Deep Fried Chilli Chicken.Gorgeous !!

DigJanuary 23rd 2009.

I think the Shangri La & downstairs in Profile in particular should get it. On a weekend it's not just the deep fried squid that gets battered. 1 or 2 of the customers do too.

Peeking duckJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Yuet Ben is OK. Inoffensive enough. For English people who like nice English surroundings and nothing challenging, but a better bet than most Chinese restaurants in Liverpool, if that's what you want. AD, you should have eaten out more in Beijing,like I did...

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Far East has been replaced by Harbour City (same location, upstairs from the karaoke) which is excellent value for money and their menus are in both English and Chinese. On top of which, parking in the lot behind the restaurant is currently free and there is direct access to the restaurant from the car park. I just had a birthday banquet dinner there for 10 people and the 9 course dinner (which included lobster) was £15 per head. Bargain for the quality and range of delicious food!

foy453January 23rd 2009.

I very much doubt steak pie 'won us the empire' (didn't realise it was a competition). I like love english food, chinese food, indian food, thai food, italian, mexican. Thats the point and what this trying to do is ween out the best ones. Numpty.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Chinese Dragon Restaurant in the centre of Wigan.Upstairs, so difficult if you have trouble walking. They do an 'eat as much as you want' with lots of choices, and the soups are brilliant. 1000 times better than the Phoenix on Scot Lane. You'll see more Chinese eating there, which is usually a good sign.

Miss ComerJanuary 23rd 2009.

I have lived in Manchester for 7 years and have yet to find any chinese as good as most of the restaurants and even take-aways in Liverpool . My ultimate favourite is the Ma Bo; Won Ton Noodle soup with half a plate of duck/half char sui, pot of chinese tea and loads of chilli oil HEAVEN. My Dad's gone there for years and so long as they keep open I will take my kids there too. Lingy's chippy on Windsor Street needs a shout to, not traditional Chinese but the special recipe Fish Toast Dinner is AMAZING. Makes me wonder why I live in Manc land sometimes!

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

the best chinese restaurant is definitely the Capitol in birkenhead, it's a bit pricey but excellent service and atmosphere

DigJanuary 23rd 2009.

Great shout on Lee's Garden Never Wong. That's my local and a great place for a family party or a quiet meal. I've never had a bad night or bad meal in there. Always leave with a full satisfied belly and a smile. Only problem can be getting a cab afterwards. You have to book well in advance on a weekend or be prepared for a long wait or long walk to civilisation!

Stephen GriffinJanuary 23rd 2009.

The New Capital Restaraunt in China Town cannot be beaten for quality and service.People talk about the Mei Mei, Tai Pan , Chung Ku and others beleive me they cannot live with the New Capital.This family run restaraunt whose quality of food and friendly service is outstanding. And the prices are very reasonable.Enjoy a visit if you havn`t already.

SnakedoctorJanuary 23rd 2009.

Sing Ping in Prescot without a doubt. Great little restaurant. Fantastic food every time. What a hidden gem! Tip: The spring rolls are the best i've ever tasted!

DigJanuary 23rd 2009.

I think I might know who you are Liverpool Wag. Are you and AA Grill acquainted?

pooky peteJanuary 23rd 2009.

Why chinese? Why discriminate against other races by flogging this tired old alsatian and rice garbage?The best place for chinese food is in the bin.fish and chips is the only meal that an englishman should be praising. it makes me laugh that there are morons who dont realise crispy seaweed is cheap cabbage smothered in fat and sugar.good for you?eat lard, drink oil, and gorge on sugar that is chinese food in essence.

the food tasterJanuary 23rd 2009.

Everyone knows the shangrila on Victoria Street, usually for the wrong reasons and only as an 'after the ale house' food It used to be HORRIBLE...but believe me.Try it! The service is fantastic.The staff really know 'their thing' You can go native and order off the chinese menus or just tell them what you like and their chefs will do their best.My husband had a mixed seafood dish the other week and it was excellent, fresh prawns, scallops etc - not a fishy smell in sight. This place should win, just for turning itself on its head and making you want to actually go in there sober!!! go on, give it a try. I dare you....

PinkympJanuary 23rd 2009.

My 2 best friends are Chinese, so I know that when they recommend a place, it's gonna be good! My all time favs are North Garden in Chinatown, so small and friendly, but the problem is that it can be difficult to get a table sometimes and payment is only in cash, but that's the price you pay for quality. Also, become a bit of a fan of Harbour City now. Basically, if you want to know how good a Chinese restaurant is, look around and see how many Chinese people are eating in there. These are the experts. My biggest turn-off for any Chinese restaurant is when they immediately come over and take away the bowl and chopsticks and replace them with a plate and fork. Not everyone is that ignorant and just wants chicken chow mein. Jumbo City have done this every time I've been there.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

When it comes to chinese it's ALL about Tok You, the quality isn't as good as Mei Mei next door but it is cheaper than chips! Plus their king prawn in black bean sauce is worth dting of MSG poisoning for....YUM.

Liverpool WagJanuary 23rd 2009.

I think cold-plates are overrated too. I mean once you've heard one Chris Martin song, you've heard them all.

Hoi Li WagJanuary 23rd 2009.

Dig don't be greedy, you've already been given the Dipstick award

andypandyJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Lux Express on Berry Street is top food and an atmosphere at night thats excellent the wonton noodle soups and proper chinese food are mega!! ive been going for years and all my mates are well impressed u wont be dissapointed.

englishmanJanuary 23rd 2009.

Why bother to eat such muck anyway? Whats wrong with steak and chips, steak pie, and steak and kidney pudding? English food is what won us the empire and now the empire is trying to poison us with salty offal and deep fried muck. Chinese food is a contradition in terms.

AndyJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Taipan on Great Howard street always does it for me. Always plenty of Chinese families eating there. You can go off-piste and ask them to recommend something off the 'Chinese' Chinese menu.

Mike HomfrayJanuary 23rd 2009.

In Manchester, there's a restaurant called Red Chilli. They serve Szechuan cuisine, and there is one menu, not a separate 'Chinese' one. Mr. Chilli has opened on mount Pleasant with a similar menu, but I haven't been and don;t know anyone who has.For me, Chinese restaurants tend to come into the 'local , cheap and cheerful' category , or something a little more - and its the latter which Liverpool lacks. but the best place is one of the oldest. Yuet Ben, every time. the food is fresh, everything is made there, its one of the very few Chinese places which caters for veggies as well (not that I have an eating disorder, mind, but at least they can serve up something more than a single stir-fry- and-tofu'). The menu is shorter than most others which might be a clue as to why the quality is better. I'd like a little more in the way of variety but the standard here is generally quite high. There are very few places where the food won't be hot, plentiful and edible.

bigfatmanJanuary 23rd 2009.

does anyone know if any of the all you can eat chinese places in town are any good?

Liverpool WagJanuary 23rd 2009.

No Dig, it's just a vicious rumour.

I want to break freeJanuary 23rd 2009.

When I went to the Harbour City it was same old, same old, i'm afraid. Nice enough however.

Dizzyhead68January 23rd 2009.

Love love love The Lady jade restaurent in Old swan Liverpool, situated opposite Tesco supermarket.Freshly cooked and yummy meals and staff very accommodating to your taste buds. yum yum!

LinziJanuary 23rd 2009.

tried the lady jade in old swan last weekend thanks to the above post. It was on my doorstep and i hadn't even noticed it.Well i have to say it does the best prawn toast EVER! you must try it to believe it. The main courses were full of flavour and came on scoulding hot plates (sounds a odd coment but its one of my pet hates cold plates).

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

Bigfatman: The all-you-can eat Chinese places look awful. Chinese food needs to be flash cooked in a wok and eaten as soon after as possible. Any vegetable that's been sitting around in a sauce for any length of time is going to turn mushy and limp and the taste of the whole dish will be compromised. Nevermind, what does that matter in dumb Britain. If it says all you can eat, bring it on!

Pop TartJanuary 23rd 2009.

Gosh..... what was the name of the chinese restaurant that used to be at the top of Bold Street where Rapid is, that was good ahhhhhh the Golden Yen... memories!But the best for me is Tok Yu, it's like eating in a school canteen and your never sure your going to get exactly what you have ordered, i'm sure the staff don't understand a word i say - but i like that! Not at all flash but the crispy beef, squid, noodles mmmmmm and a bottle of Hardy's red or white for £8.. fantastic food and outstanding value for money i say!

GracieJanuary 23rd 2009.

Guys,Guys you are totally forgetting Tso's that is the place for all you can eat, fit chinese food, i will agree that the capital in Birkenhead head is good but for a mean takeaway hit the Golden Phoenix in Greasby! mmmmwwwahhh

Mike BJanuary 23rd 2009.

Well after reading the article I knew straight away which restaurant I would be recommending for quality; The Lady Jade in old swan. I have to say that it must be one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets in the Chinese food trade. Since I found this Chinese restaurant over 2 years ago I have been reluctant to go anywhere else, as I am concerned it won’t be to the same standard and you would be paying more.The Lady Jade has a fantastic friendly atmosphere as it is only a small restaurant, over the last 2 years I have built up a good friendship with all the staff and am now known on a 1st name basis by all in the restaurant. The chef is the owner and you can tell as the food quality is always to a high standard, if you like prawn toast this restaurant is the place for you I would say it’s the best in Liverpool. On my last visit I was talking to the owner who was saying he had been awarded 5 stars on the hi-life website.

TopsyJanuary 23rd 2009.

Tokyu wins hands down for me, their roast duck (melt in the mouth, and so tasty) and charsiu noodle dish is simply delicious, and with complementary green tea you'll even get change from a fiver!

Mike BJanuary 23rd 2009.

Another restaurant that deserves recommending for being on a budget is the Tok You. I have been several times for quick lunches whilst in town, have to say it is really nice and so cheap. As stated before you don’t know if you are going to get the right stuff as the waiters/waitress always look confused when taking the order. As for restaurants I wouldn’t recommend, I have been to several Chinese restaurants over the years and have to say the worst has to be the all you can eat at St Johns. The chicken sweet corn soup (if you can call it that), was dire it had a very strange texture and lacking ingredients, it was as if they had been dipped into the water and then skived out to be used else were. The food was bordering the realms of being cold and bland.

ADJanuary 23rd 2009.

How can knowone on this rant have mentioned the Yuet Ben? It is far and away the best chinese restaurant in liverpool and has been for years. Its beijing style cooking is so good that it stands comparison with the restaurants I've eaten in when in Beijing. The rest of liverpools chinese restaurants all seem to serve up the same cantonese slop that puts so many people off chinese food in the first place. Basicly liverpool should be embarased that with such a vibrent chinese comunity they can only turn out one truely decent restaurant.

lizlJanuary 23rd 2009.

The worst Chinese meal I ever had was in Allerton Road, in a tiny place now closed, no doubt by public request.It featured the foulest-tempered Chinese gran who was waitressing. She was a Cantonese version of the Wood and Walter "Two soups" waitress, and banged each plate down as if it had insulted her . They had chicken and sweetcorn soup the consistency and colour of wallpaper past.But the best touch was when my mum ordered fruit sald.It cam e in one of those miniscule tin dishes. AND was actually tinned mixed veg.Someone had clearly opened the wrong tin.I rather like the Buffet Star, having a huge 11-year-old to feed. The staff are always polite, despite having to run about nimbly through the bustling , waddling punters. It does ,however, attract the fattest people in Liverpool, buti expect that is ineviatable;"All you can eat" being something of a thrown-down gauntlet.

never wongJanuary 23rd 2009.

bit out of the way but Lee's Garden in Melling is a fantastic chinese. good menu, fantastic service.

Professor ChucklebuttyJanuary 23rd 2009.

I think that for a quick snack the best Chinese Food outlet is Sub Wei. It may not be very authentic and overspriced stodge full of salt but the Won Fut Long sandwiches are guaranteed to drip down your shirt. Just a shame that there are seldom any Chinese staff visible to advise you.

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2011.

having dined in most of the so called top Chinese
restaurants, the best by a mile is the
phoenix palace peking style 581 west derby road tuebrook its great value, and the quality of food is to die for

AnonymousSeptember 9th 2011.

Are you taking the piss?

Robert EatonNovember 18th 2014.

Rubbish name, Hard Wok Cafe, but the tastiest,most authentic choice on Merseyside, no frills, communication problems,uninspiring decor but fantastic tasting food on a menu that offers more than any other Chinese restaurant I have ever been to including Manchester's Chinatown. Ask for the "special menu", a twin soup container on a heater that you cook the tray of raw food that accompanies it on. Delicious!!! Add on chopped garlic and noodles and any other extras you fancy and you will have a near perfect meal. Enjoy , Sinophile.

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