Over the last six months or so, I’ve been on a mission to find the best Chinese food in Brighton & Hove. Traditional dishes I’d never tried before, as well the best options if the takeaway classics most of us grew up with are more your bag.
At the start of the research, I was expecting to find a clear winner for the title of ‘Best Chinese Restaurant in Brighton’ but the truth is that if you know where to look, we’re spoilt for choice. Each place has its own regional specialities and you should go to different places for different reasons but one thing’s for sure, there’s no lack of quality and talent on show.
Full House specialises in Hunan / Xiang cuisine and probably sits atop the pile for best overall experience. Comfortable setting, white tablecloths, helpful and friendly service, and most importantly – perfectly executed dishes packed with flavour.
The menu is overwhelming in its vastness, so by all means close your eyes and see where your finger lands. It’s likely whatever you choose will be delicious. Portions are generous and good value, so take some friends, get a Lazy Susan and order as much as you dare.
I’ve heard about some very poor takeaway experiences, so my tip would be to find the time to dine-in.
This place is more ‘spit-and-sawdust’ than Full House but the food has been equally delicious. Ease yourself in with the great value lunch menu, which includes a choice of 70+ dishes with a soft drink for just £8.50. The dishes with rice I’ve tried have all been great but I think the noodle soups are the real gems.
All you can eat hot pot is available for £20pp inc a side per couple. Go for the two soup bases with no English translation. One is Sichuan (£2 supplement), the other is a pork and chicken bone broth (£5 supplement). Make sure you check out the condiment trolley full of sauces, herbs and oils to make your very own custom dipping sauce with.
This is a bit more inconspicuous than the others. Hidden in plain sight on Queens Rd, you’ll struggle to notice it in daylight but as darkness falls, look out for the Bat-Signal (Beijing House logo) being projected onto the pavement in front of the restaurant.
There are dishes I haven’t seen on any other menus like the Spicy Crayfish, as well as plenty of superbly executed classics like the Green Beans with Minced Pork which was immensely tasty.
Plenty more I want to try at Beijing House including the Beijing Haggis Soup, which our server belated declared as his favourite dish on the menu. Also the Pancake Soaked in Catfish – can someone please order this and let me know how it comes?!
My Beijing House review on Instagram:
Xian specialist, Jia Mo is the perfect place to try some traditional, regional dishes. Everything is made on site including the buns, several types of noodles, soya milk, sauces, spiced oil, and so on. Other than Beijing House, I’m not sure anywhere else in Brighton is taking the time to make their noodles by hand.
The best noodle dish so far has been the You Po noodles, served hot. The simple vinegar, soya sauce and spiced oil sauce is delicious and is the perfect accompaniment for this style of noodle.
The slow cooked pork belly bun is simply flavoured but rich, fatty and melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness.
My Jia Mo review on Instagram:
As far as I’m aware, the a la carte menu is pretty much full of dishes you’re probably familiar with, but done properly. Fine if that’s what you’re after but I’m here for the best dim sum in Brighton, served daily from 12-4pm.
At the weekend, it’s best to book a table. There’s usually a queue outside before the doors open at noon and ten minutes later, the place is packed. Service for me has always been fab, and the place is run with military precision.
The dim sum menu is pretty extensive and has options to suit everyone, unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, in which case this is a terrible place to visit.
I keep forgetting to try the dessert dim sum dishes, but apparently they’re as good as everything else.
My China Garden reviews on Instagram:
Dim Sum visit
Another old school white tablecloth venue and pretty much the only place there’s a chance you won’t be given the Chinese menu by default. If the staff start replacing your chopsticks with forks and spoons, check which menus are on your table.
Even when you do get the Chinese menu, most of it will sound familiar. Steamed Spare Ribs in various sauces (the black bean is v good, I’d skip the plum), excellent Cantonese roast meats – the crispy pork and roast duck in particular, and some more ‘interesting’ dishes like the Braised Eel & Crispy Pork Hot Pot, which was also a hit.
The dry Ho Fun dishes are great, and even the Morning Glory with garlic is way, way better than you’d expect from such a simple sounding dish. The Yong Tau Foo is a personal favourite, partly for nostalgic childhood reasons but I’d recommend giving it a try nonetheless.
Ho Chiak is run by a lovely Malaysian auntie and serves up some great Chinese Malaysian dishes.
My favourite has to be the Seafood Wat Tan Hor (on the menu as the Ho Chiak Special) which is the Cantonese version of a Malaysian Char Kway Teow. This Malaysian classic is normally dry fried but this version comes with a soupy egg gravy, and I LOVE it.
I can’t speak to the rest of the huge menu but my Dad did have a very generic sweet and sour pork (yeah, he’s that guy), so my advice would be to stick with the Chinese Malaysian options.
Published: 8th March 2022