Red chairs, bare wooden tables and plastic Chinese New year decorations everywhere – the place is so tacky it’s endearing. This is what a Chinese restaurant in China would look like, if it wasn’t for the Caucasian waiter it would all be incredibly authentic.
But Chop Chop is different -- it’s far from a culinary black hole like the rest of them. Claiming to be Edinburgh’s favorite Chinese restaurant, it specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine, and in particular, jiaozi – crescent shaped parcels that resemble dim sum and gyozas but have a slightly thicker dough which are either boiled or fried. Chop Chop’s bright yellow plastic menu cards also feature simple home-style cooking dishes that may seem alien to the foreigner’s eye – egg and tomato stir-fry, fried aubergines, cucumber salad – typical Northern dishes that would be cooked at home. You won’t find your usual Singaporean fried noodles, wonton soup and black bean sauce at Chop Chop.
And that’s why it was all so promising to begin with. The order started with two cold dishes – a cucumber salad and a tofu salad, both of which were lovely and refreshing. The cucumber salad was sweet and garlicky and the silken tofu was light and fragrant from the sesame oil. Then came two of their most popular dishes – fried aubergines and crispy fried squid. The fried aubergines was excellent – deeply flavorful, the spring onions still crisp, the aubergines soft and tender. The crispy fried squid, despite the off-putting orange color, was alright. The batter’s a bit thick, but it was nicely spiced and it tasted nice.
Chop Chop as the best Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh? No doubt, as the competition is not stiff. Some dishes are promising, and I understand the temptation to adapt to the local palate (it was no surprise that the most popular dishes in the restaurant are battered and deep fried). It’s popular and endorsed by many (including Gordon Ramsay), and so if you’re craving Chinese and are intrigued by something slightly different, I’d recommend it.
(They also do takeout and loyalty cards -- and you're looking at about £20 per head)
248 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8DT
0131 221 1155
76 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX
0131 553 1818