Thursday, 14 July 2011

Chinatown in London

As promised, I am going to try to do a guide about Chinatown in London! Chinatown is a very small area but it still still worth a quick visit if you are in the area. I have tried to include details which I think will be interesting for lolitas who are visiting here. I was ill when I went to London so I am sorry if this guide is not that detailed! I will do my best with the information I have gathered.

Warning!- I should point out that Chinatown is usually packed with tourists. If you are in a big group of people wearing lolita you WILL get mobbed. When the Oxfordshire Lolitas went to Chinatown in June, every single group of tourists asked us for photos and it took us ages to get anywhere. If this is something that concerns you, try to avoid the busiest times. Chinatown is especially busy during meal times so about 1-2pm and 5-8pm would be the times to avoid. If you don't mind being photographed you should be fine but the early evening is especially hectic! The tourists here tend to pounce on sweet lolitas the most but you might get asked for photos regardless of what style you are wearing.

One of the first things you will notice about Chinatown is that there is a lot of highly decorative archways (the one pictured is on the main road Gerrard St). In fact, you may notice that there are little Chinese influences on most of the buildings. So my advice is to keep your eye out for good places to take some photographs. You should even look upwards because some of the buildings have statues crawling down the buildings and little lanterns.

And now, for my map! These are the places which I think are note-worthy. I am sorry if the numbers are not that visible. The numbers basically go from left to right.

1. Oriental Delight- best for Asian snacks and sweets

Oriental Delight is on the Macclesfield St/Gerrard St corner. There are some UFO Catcher machines outside (as you can see my friend Matt gave them a go). They mainly have Nintendo and Hello Kitty toys in the machines. Inside the shop, you will find a lot of popular sweets from Asia. These are not specifically Chinese and most of the sweets were actually Japanese. Chinatown is the cheapest place in London to buy popular snacks such as Pocky, Pretz and Hi Chew. They also had some flavours which I had not seen before. I got some Cotton Candy flavoured Hi Chew sweets which were very yummy. Oriental Delight also had a small selection of pre-packaged mochi and traditional sweets.

2. Loon Fung supermarket- best Asian supermarket

I had to get Matt to stand in the way so the staff didn't see me taking this picture! I thought the picture on the wall looked very pretty.

Chinatown has a couple of Asian supermarkets but my favourite Loon Fung. There were lots of specialist ingredients which you would not be able to find in mainstream supermarkets. Want an authentic Asian ingredient? Come here! There were lots of items I had never heard of before, the selection appeared very wide and there was even a cookware section at the back.

3. Crispy Duck- best restaurant

If you want cheaper food, it is better to look around the outskirts of Chinatown. A majority of Chinatown is restaurants. As far as the Chinese restaurants go, I have been told many times that the Crispy Duck is the best! The prices are reasonable providing you are not on a budget. For other restaurant ideas, see further down this post.

4. Wonderful Patisserie- best cakes!!!!

The picture shows some of the cakes in the Wonderful Patisserie window. I had my eye on the cakes on the bottom row! If I wasn't rushing about so much, I would have bought one.

This place is AMAZING. I had a custard bun from here and it was yummy. This shop definitely lives up to its name! If you want to grab a quick snack, this would be the first place I would recommend. This is just a shop so the only issue is you need to find somewhere else to sit down. This shop also has a selection of sweets such as Pocky.

5. Chinatown Market- best for Chinese souvenirs

This is the pagoda just outside Chinatown Market. The shop I am talking about is the one with the orange canopy. It is packed full of every Chinese souvenir you could ever wish for. this is the place to come if you one of those lucky cat ornaments, paper umbrellas or little trinkets. There is also a traditional Chinese clothing at the back. You wont find any lolita here but the clothes are still very pretty! They also sell individual fortune cookies. According to my cookie, exciting times lay ahead for me!

6. The bit everybody wanted to know about!

A couple of people have been asking me about the shop in Chinatown that sells Chocomint accessories and this is it! (thanks to Beau and Sammi who showed me this place in June) As far as loli-able items go, Charring Cross road is an absolute gold-mine. I would suggest having a good look all along this stretch of road.

The shop in the picture is 55-57 Charring Cross road. As soon as you step in, you will be right inside Qu'tse which is the place which has Chocomint stuff. If you are looking specifically for Chocomint stuff, it is kept in a locked display case near the till and you have to ask the cashier to open the case for you if you want something. The selection is small and you should expect high prices, but being able to buy Chocomint in person is a huge bonus in my opinion! I would recommend having a look around the rest of Qu'tse. They have a lot of very cute stuff in there.

This is the Chocomint necklace I got this time-

I have recently developed a taste for fluffy Chocomint stuff. I am looking forward to wearing this.

Further inside the same building, there is another shop which I believe is called Hello Panda. You carry straight on through Qu'tse and then it is just to the right.

Purikura machines- This building also has Purikura machines. Whilst in Qu'tse you may notice a door to the right of where the till is. Go through there and then go up the escalator. Upstairs you will find the machines.

Other places and items of interest-

Bubble Tea- There are loads of places in Chinatown which sell bubble tea. A lot of the shops will have an advert in the window with a picture of bubble tea on it. It is worth giving it a try!

Waxy O'Connors- This is a pub which is located at 14-16 Rupert Street. Rupert Street is very close to Chinatown and it is likely you will go past here if you are visiting Chinatown. So what is so special about this pub? It is incredibly beautiful and there is a tree growing in the middle of it! It is a great place to go for an alcoholic drink. Waxy O'Connors is a brilliant pub to relax in but it is also very popular and may be busy at popular times. I would suggest going earlier on in the day.

Cheaper restaurants-

To be honest, if you are short on cash it might be better to go outside of Chinatown.

Noodle Stop (44-46 Cranbourn St)- this is located very close to Leicester Square. You start with either generic rice or noodles and then you choose what you want on top from a variety of dishes. I will be honest- it is not exactly the best food and it is run like a fast food place, but for £5 you get a huge amount of food. There is a decent sized seating area too. I would not recommend this for a lolita meet but if you are on a very small food budget, I would recommend this place. The satay chicken with noodles I had tasted good.

Misato's (11 Wardour St)- This Japanese restaurant is located in Soho. There is likely to be a queue to eat here because it is popular. The food is cheap and the portions are generous. The staff are rumoured to be a little rude and the general atmosphere is not brilliant but for cheap and cheerful food, this place is great. I have not yet experienced Misato but from what I have heard, the food is very good. I definitely want to come here sometime!

I hope my guide was useful. Chinatown is such a small area but if you know it well enough, you will find some hidden gems worth visiting.


  1. I'm totally going to visit Chinatown when I'm going London someday... :)

  2. I've been to that shop on Charring Cross road but I didn't realise they sold Chocomint, ahh the really have to check it out now. Did they have any of the teapot/teacup hairclips by any chance?

  3. No, I couldn't see any of those but I didn't have a chance to check the whole shop. Unfortunately the selection is very small and they don't seem to have the most popular items. So no more star clips for me! The items they did have were very cute though.

  4. Ahh, thanks for this! I've been to China Town only once and we got some cakes from Wonderful Patisserie and some snacks from one of the asian supermarkets, but I just couldn't find the purikura from what people had described; so far I have previously been told to "look for a normal looking shop", "look for a wedding shop", "look for a cute shop" seeing a photo is helpful XD next time we're up there, I'll have to drag the other half in there mwahahaha XD I'll just tell him we're going to Wonderful Patisserie...

  5. You are welcome! When you go up the escalator there are a couple of shops and one of them is a wedding shop so that is probably what your friends were trying to tell you.

  6. I never knew there was a shop on charing cross road..

    So when you get to the chiniese souvenirs shop.. what are the directions to get there?


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