Ever since Chinese food first landed on the UK’s shores back in the 19th century we’ve been hooked. It’s fast, flavoursome and as healthy as you want it to be – depending what you order, obvs.
And because Chinese grub works so perfectly as a slap-up posh meal, or naughty post-pub treat, Brighton has always had an extra special relationship with the cuisine of the Middle Kingdom.
Not to mention our sizeable population of well-heeled Chinese students, who do us all a favour by keeping restauranteur’s standards high and dishes rigorously authentic.
Here’s our pick of Brighton’s finest Chinese eateries…
Okay, so it’s a lame chiché. but whenever you wander past this classy Preston Street joint it’s always full of Chinese people. So you know it’s authentic, but there’s also enough anglicised bits and bobs on the menu – your chow mein, your pork balls – should your meeker mates be too squeamish for the real deal. Plus it boasts a sea view, and a piano. Swing by around lunchtime for some premium Dim Sum action. There’s a reason this place is still thriving after 30 years.
88-91 Preston St, BN1 2HG
For our money the closest Brighton has to the sort of genuine backstreet joint you stumble on in Chengdu or Chongqing, the menu at Beijing House (just down from the station) has no truck with delicate English tastebuds. Nope. Expect full on fiery spices, tripe-based delicacies and brusque staff who don’t speak much English, and make it quite clear that this is your problem and not theirs. Go for the realness, stay for the startlingly good noodles and fresh veg.
Well worth a trek out to darkest Hove, this decade-old eatery doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which works just fine for us, thanks very much. Don’t come here for authentic Szechuan spices or traditional tripe-based treats. Nope, it’s anglicised chicken, beef and prawn based nosh, cooked well, in a fancy-enough (tablecloths! decent wine glasses!) room, ideal for a stress-free family occasion or non-milestone anniversary.
Steamed buns, deep-fried Gyoza, spicy wonton hotpot, duck liver in salt and chilli. Yeah. They do proper Asian food here, and as well they might; the Gars family migrated to our lovely hippy city by the seaside from Hong Kong way back in 1955, and to this day fly the flag for authentic south-china delicacies. Special shout-out to the Dim Sim and thoughtful speciality tea pairing. Trust your waitress, she knows her stuff.
19 Prince Albert St, BN1 1HF
Despite the spectacular wok-work on display at this funky new hole-in-the-wall, Noo Noodles don’t want to set the world on fire. And that’s cool with us. If you’re peckish while out on the sesh, or just hankering for a decent working lunch, their noodle boxes (chicken, chow mein, veggie) are just the thing. If you’re feeling flush the Lobster box is delightfully decadent (cashews are a nice touch), or the ‘pure protein’ with double chicken breast and oyster sauce sets you up a treat for the gym.
14 Cranbourne St, BN1 2RD
Simple, no-nonsense set menus dished with just enough style and panache to make it feel like an occasion. A good measure of this sort of place is the iron-plate sizzle selection – the veggie is maybe the best we’ve tried, and plenty hearty enough for even the keenest carnivores. Quite a few nice pubs out at this end of Hove Church Street as well, just saying.
121 Church Rd, BN3 2AF
Another oldschool Preston Street joint, Good Friends attracts a winning blend of Asian expats and squeamish tourists through the door. And the menu reflects this; plenty of easygoing standard anglo-chinese fare, Tsingtao beer, you get the idea. But delve deeper, if you dare, and skip to the real-deal bits of the menu. A plate of duck tongues with a side of chicken feet anyone? Where’s your sense of adventure.
24-25 Preston St, BN1 2HN
Full house by name, full house by nature – this bright and cheery spot just by the Level is always chock-full of discerning Chinese students and fiercely loyal locals. As such it’s another duel-menu sort of place – and again, our best advice is to skip the basic-bitch prawn toast nonsense and dive right into the hearty Hunan house specialities. A bit of tripe never hurt anyone.
18-19 York Pl, BN1 4AA