Chop Chop is a bit of an Edinburgh institution. Ask anyone for a recommendation for a Chinese restaurant in the city and Chop Chop will probably be quite high up on the list. However, despite living just round the corner from their Haymarket restaurant I had never been. Shame on me, I know. So I was delighted to be invited along recently to finally see what all the fuss is about.
As is recommended to first-timers at Chop Chop, we went for the unlimited banquet for two – along with a couple of Tsingtao beers of course.
The set banquet included two options of the dumplings that Chop Chop is so known for – boiled pork and coriander dumplings and fried prawn dumplings. Both were incredibly flavoursome, showing that when dumplings are done well, they’re a pretty perfect dish. A fun touch was that on the table there were ingredients to make your own dipping sauce. I accidentally went a bit heavy on the chilli, but luckily for me, we had a cooling cucumber salad to fight the burn. Alongside this was crispy Northern beef, seasoned chicken wings, crispy squid and aubergine as well as boiled rice and prawn crackers.
My favourite dishes were the cucumber salad, the Northern beef (in fact we had two helpings) and the squid. The beef had a deliciously sweet and sticky sauce while the meat was still tender and not at all chewy which can often be the downfall of these types of dishes. Similarly, the squid was perfectly cooked with a brilliantly crispy coating and I also really enjoyed the green beans that accompanied the dish. A surprise for me was the aubergine. I usually hate aubergine – something about the sludgey-ness of it puts me off, but this one won me over. It’s never going to win any beauty pageants but Chop Chop’s aubergine dish was cooked just enough with a really tasty garlic and spring onion dressing. I never thought I’d say it, but I liked it.
We were pretty full by the time we got to desserts but we did manage one more dumpling – a chocolate ice cream dumpling. Perfectly sized if you’re someone like me who has to fit in the sweet hit of a pudding even if your stomach is telling you not to! Hot crispy outer, cold creamy inner. Very nice.
I had lots of fun at Chop Chop. The staff are fantastic as well, clearing and replacing dishes promptly and one even showed me how to use chopsticks properly after some good-natured teasing at my lack of skill. This adds to Chop Chop’s relaxed atmosphere where the focus is on making sure you don’t go home hungry. My tip would be to go with an empty stomach – it’ll soon be filled with a wide range of tasty treats!
Chop Chop also has a restaurant in Leith so they have both ends of the city covered, and they do a free membership scheme where you can get discounts and vouchers. The unlimited banquets are £20.25 per person which I think is pretty good considering the quality of the food. I would encourage you to try something on the menu that you’re not sure about, it will pay off for sure. Chop Chop is a great restaurant for sharing a meal with a big group of friends or family so we’ll definitely be back.
*Disclaimer – we were invited along to Chop Chop for a complimentary meal but were not asked to write a positive review. All opinions are our own and reflect our experience.