China town Manchester is a significant ethnic neighbourhood in the Manchester city centre that is home to a wide variety of stores, eateries, and events dedicated to Chinese and Asian culture. Due to the presence of Manchester’s first Chinese restaurant, this region served as the cradle of Chinese influence in the city. Though the current Chinatown has a large Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese food, Nepali, Malaysian, and Singaporean culture, you won’t just find Chinese eateries there.
1. Things to Know About China Town, Manchester
There is a lot to do in Manchester’s Chinatown, whether you like to eat, shop, or take in the sights. Both children and adults will love the regional fare and Manchester’s distinctive bakeries, stores, and supermarkets that sell things that are exclusive to Manchester. While it is possible to spend all day in Chinatown, it takes at least two or three hours to explore everything it has to offer, including time to eat and buy.
1.1. Food Culture in China Town Manchester
The Chinese culture has long been centred upon food in Manchester. The region is renowned for its reasonably priced cafes, bakeries, and award-winning restaurants with authentic recipes, where chefs frequently enliven traditional Chinese cooking methods with northern influences.
Ping Hong, the first Chinese restaurant in Manchester, opened its doors in 1948, a time when Anglo-Chinese food was immensely popular. Even now, more than 60 years later, chefs continue to modernise British cooking techniques and recipes. Previously dominated by Cantonese cuisine, the scene is now more diverse and dishes from Hunan, Shanghai, Beijing, and Szechuan are becoming more and more well-liked.
There are many different Chinese restaurants to discover today, all crammed between Portland and Princess street. However, don’t be shocked to encounter restaurants providing food from other cuisines as well. Chinese, Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, and Vietnamese eateries compete for customers in this paradise of cultural mingling, and there are still more stacked far above the street level. Visitors who are hungry have a variety of over 100 venues to select from.
1.2. Dim Sum, Roast Meats and Hot Pot
Both experts and customers have long recognised Yang Sing as one of the best Chinese food restaurants in Manchester’s city centre. It has a location on the outskirts of Chinatown and is well-known for its dim sum and variety of unique dishes. You almost certainly won’t recognise all the dishes, so make friends with your waiter.
With its renowned dim sum, Yang Sing Restaurant stands out among the best and can give you the impression that you’re dining on the streets of Shanghai. The flavours have been somewhat altered for the Western palate, being slightly sweeter and substituting red chilli with black bean sauce for the native recipes and components.
Try Mei Dim, a modest basement cafeteria with sizable laminated, pictorial menus, for a truly delicious dim sum, a staple at any fine Chinese restaurant.
Little Yang Sing, a separate establishment is also worthwhile to visit and offers a fantastic lunchtime set menu option, as does Happy Seasons, which is well-known in the area for its roast meats and serves everything from rich, lacquered whole ducks to fatty cuts of pork belly.
If the hot pot is what you’re after, put XiongQi Hot Pot on your list.
1.3. Bubble Tea and Bakeries
Additionally, this area of town is popular for its excellent bakeries, affordable cafes, and dessert shops. Go to WooTea on George Street, the place where they manufacture their boba to have bubble tea. It is a Taiwanese beverage that has swept Manchester’s Chinatown (and also the world) by storm. This is prominent in the desserts also which include decadent lava cakes stuffed with cream.
Choose a custard bun or try the char siu or bolo buns here, both of which go well with a classic milk tea.
It’s also worth it to stop by the Japanese dessert and tea bar Tsujiri Matcha. It is well known for the matcha, as the name would imply, and offers also a wide variety of treats, such as ice cream basque cheesecakes, matcha-flavoured lattes, roll cakes, and chocolate tarts.
1.4. Nightlife and Hotels
The karaoke bars and casinos are the centres of Chinatown’s nightlife. These have different styles and go until the early hours. Vina, K2 Karaoke or Orchid Lounge, are your options for karaoke. All of these places are perhaps the closest thing to a Chinese nightclub outside of Shanghai.
There are two casinos: the open-during-the-night Grosvenor on George Street and the nearby Genting and Napoleon’s on Portland Streets. Due to the area’s proximity to Princess and Portland Street, there are several hotel options available. Budget-friendly lodging options include Roomz, Ibis, and Novotel. For a more upscale stay, check out the nearby hotels Brooklyn, Townhouse, or The Midland.
1.5. Shopping in Chinatown Manchester
Asian supermarkets with wide selection and unique characteristics, such as Hang Won Hong, Wing Fat, and Woo Sang, dominate the retail sector in Chinatown. The smallest, Wing Fat, is a locals’ favourite since it keeps items in its refrigerators including bulging plastic packs of pork belly, whole fish, crustaceans, and vacuum-packed Chinese sausages.
My particular favourite, Hang Won Hong, offers other subsections for different east Asian goods from countries like Korea and Japan. Additionally, you can get traditional Chinese medicine shops and a fresh food department on the streets here.
1.6. Best Time to Visit
Even though there is always a pleasure to be had in Chinatown, February is one of the greatest months to go. When this time comes around every year, Chinatown celebrates the Chinese New Year.
The spectacular parades, art exhibits, and acrobatic performances draw thousands of spectators. It is also very easy and simple to get there. You may either take the bus or walk a short distance from Manchester Piccadilly station to get there.
1.7. Art in Chinatown
Sneaker63 is a consignment shop that offers extremely uncommon sneakers and is crammed with fascinating items from companies like Kaws, Supreme, Off-White, and Parra. It is hidden behind the Japanese sushi restaurant Wasabi on Faulkner Street.
The T LA art and craft gallery, a gift shop open since 1986, is located just off the main square. Chinese art supplies, New Year’s decorations, tea sets, bowls, wind charms, incense sticks, and other items are available here.
Visit Chinatown and enjoy mini China in Manchester. You are sure to find a lot of other interesting things to do here as well.