Manchester’s Chinatown might seem petite if you’ve seen the ones in New York or Paris, but it’s actually the country’s second biggest. Wedged between Moseley and Portland Streets, it’s a riot of colour and flavour; restaurants serving up Chinese, Japanese, Nepalese, Vietnamese and Thai food jostle for attention at street level, with more places to eat, specialist groceries, karaoke bars and massage parlours occupying basements and upper floors. It’s always a fun place for dining out, and some of the city’s top kitchens are here.
Here are our top 5 picks
The mighty Red Chilli gets lots of love from foodies; it was one of the first to serve fiery Szechwan food in town and it always delivers. We recommend their green beans with pork and chilli, lamb hot pot, and Beijing dumplings. There’s a second location near the university on Oxford Road.
Hunan is (obviously) focused on the dishes of Hunan province, hot like Szechwan but with a bit more of an emphasis on smoking and curing. If you’re one of those macho offal-eaters, you can properly freak your friends out at either of these places – but remember, it can backfire when you end up having to polish off that entire plate of “crystal pig’s ears layers” yourself.
Middle Kingdom offers the full hot pot experience, where you and your friends order a bunch of ingredients and cook it yourselves at the table. If you get bored with cooking you can stare in awe at the manga-inspired mural covering one wall. Epic.
At the rather classy Japanese restaurant Yuzu you can feast on homestyle rice and noodle dishes, fresh, delicately-prepared seafood and sample what may be the city’s best sake bar. It’s tiny and popular, so booking is a good idea.
Giggle at the name all you want, Ho’s Bakery’s buns are the business. Honey buns, cream buns, roast pork, coconut, and (mmm) red bean buns, all pillowy soft in that way that only Chinese baking can be. Our favourites, though, are the egg tarts, which are so decadently rich they should probably come with a gym membership. We defy you not to finish everything in your bakery bag long before you get home.