Though there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ takeaway chow mein every now and again, Aberdeen’s flourishing Chinese eateries are out to smash the stereotypes and challenge preconceptions of Chinese cuisine. Representing the region’s dizzying diversity in all its glory – from the spices of Szechuan to the seafood of Shandong – Scotland‘s fair port city has it all. So whether you’re ready to splash out or feeling cheap-as-chips, we’ve got you covered with the five best Chinese restaurants in Aberdeen.
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
Tucked away amongst the bustling stalls of Aberdeen Market, HK Café is truly a hidden marvel. Don’t let appearances fool you – this unfussy little family-run shop serves up aromatic Cantonese fare so scrumptious and authentic, you’ll swear their woks were a portkey straight to Fragrant Harbour. The noodle soup bowls will have you plumbing the depths for that last dumpling or piece of roast beef, and will keep you running throughout the cold winter months. Likewise, their Cantonese-style breakfast French toast and dong leng cha will make Hong Kong natives weep with joy to have a piece of home so far north.
Two words: dim sum. The Manchurian does it like no other, and are geniuses at crafting dumplings that will linger in your dreams for weeks to come. Like pearls in an oyster, every bamboo steamer contains a perfectly crafted treasure – parcels of cuttlefish and prawn, delectably crispy fried squid, spare ribs stewing in black bean sauce… Their char siu buns – sweet pork enveloped in white, fluffy bao – are also a revelation. Make sure to leave room for their traditional dishes as well, because their seasonal fish steamed with garlic and coriander is made just the way your Chinese granny used to.
A local institution, Yangtze River has been dishing up authentic pan-Chinese dishes for more than 50 years, from rich Cantonese sauces to kick-in-the-teeth Szechuan heat. Staunchly veggie-friendly, their menu features vegetarian spring rolls and a generous selection of mouth-watering vegetable and bean curd stir fries, doused generously with chilli and cashews. For those looking to go all in, their hot pot is not for the faint-hearted, with a staggering seafood selection and spicy, buzzy broth that’ll warm you down to the toes.
Despite its chic, upscale decor, Yan’s feisty fusion ethos proves that they’re not afraid to pack a punch either. Combining the best of Thai and Chinese gastronomies, their menu is packed with contemporary twists, like fresh mussels served in chilli and black bean sauce, or chicken marinated in shallots and white wine. Don’t miss out on the crispy aromatic duck layered with onion and juicy grilled pineapple; Yan’s surprising take on this staple will make you rethink this traditional dish entirely.
The ever-stylish Zen Oriental is here to set a new standard for authentic Chinese cuisine. Perfecting home-grown favourites like sa cha beef and kung po king prawn, the masters at Zen Oriental understand the importance of going back to the roots and celebrating traditional Chinese fare. Their set dinners are ideal for date night, offering a perfectly-crafted dishes from their warming Peking Hot and Sour soup to the Seafood Supreme, a delightful melange of prawns, scallops and fish in a rich oyster sauce.