Are you looking for some cheap, good East Asian eats in London? Fed up of lunches and dinners that comprise of unauthentic, poorly imitated chain restaurant meals (that are often overpriced)? Have a little read of Nee Hao Magazine’s favourite cheap eats in and around London!
Delight your tastebuds with the very best of Sichuan fare – we’re talking incredible flavours packed into morsels of meat parcelled in delicious dumpling skins. The restaurant has a old Communist China feel, with revolutionary music that will make a lot of Mainlanders who grew up in the 80s feel nostalgic. Recommended are its dumplings in spicy soup, it’s absolutely delightful if you can handle the heat. Not for the lighthearted, this restaurants’ dishes pack real punch. Move over Nando’s, spice is our domain now. Expect to spend at least £15 per head. Closest tube station: Leicester Square
Taiwan’s bubble tea sensation is hitting our nation. Swap your latte for a taro milk tea and try a new flavour of tapioca. Nee Hao’s favourite is definitely the lychee tapioca, it pops in your mouth, unleashing a wildly exotic flavour. If you’re feeling rather English, try their new Earl Grey Milk Tea with tapioca. Be warned though, you won’t be able to sit in – we’d recommend this joint if you’re looking to stroll around in the area with faithful drink at hand. Closest tube station: Leicester Square
This hairstylist-slash-eatery joint is a celebrity favourite. You can catch a few famous East Asian stars’ signatures on its walls, as well as scribbles from diners in a multitude of languages that would make the UN blush. Really cheap deals, you’ll be hard pressed to spend over £8 here (including drinks). Try the kimchee chigae with tuna, it’s pretty delish. A great place to go if you’re hungry and a friend needs a hair cut… or vice versa. One downside, however, is that there’s often not a place to sit. Not good for parties of 4 or more, due to capacity reasons. Closest tube station: Tottenham Court Road
Yijo Korean Restaurant
Under new management, Yijo has reformed itself from being an over-priced, slow-service restaurant to a fan favourite. The lunch deal is a surefire winner, at only £5.99 (which includes little side dishes!). They have Korean barbecue, traditional Korean stews and a wonderful array of starters (the kimchee pancake is really tasty). Flavours are rich and the dishes taste like they’ve been homemade, whereas a lot of other places seem to suspiciously douse everything with MSG.
The waiters are friendly and sometimes the chef will come out himself to greet you and see you off. A great place for a date, you feel well looked after. The atmosphere is nice and spacious and you don’t feel like you have to rush with your food. Even during dinner time, you could spend £13 per head and leave with a full stomach. Closest tube station: Finchley Central
This chain has various locations throughout London, but we love the Golders Green location in particular. Enter through a traditional sliding door, there’s a quaint charm about the place with waitresses dressed in traditional Japanese dress known as yukata. There is a menu that just overflows with choice, with bento boxes and ramen starting from £7, and all sorts of unique rolls and traditional onigiri on offer, as well as teppanyaki.
Prices are really reasonable, and the quality of food is fantastic. We’re talking highly-trained chefs from Japan (note that one of Eat Tokyo’s branches’ head chefs won the Hyper Japan sushi competition) crafting dishes out of love… something rare considering how London’s Japanese food scene has been littered with the factory-like delivery, robotic (yet slow) service and stingy portions of chain restaurants like YO! Sushi and wagamama. Closest tube station: Golders Green
Please note that the opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nee Hao Magazine, but instead reflect those of the author.