Ahead of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we have recruited Edinburgh local, Liz Swanson to check out the cities best eateries to help you avoid the tourist traps. First up: Chop Chop
From the outside Chop Chop near Haymarket train station appears to be an unassuming a Chinese restaurant sandwiched between pubs and a collection of other takeaways.
Chop Chop operates in a traditional Chinese serving style, dishes are served as they are ready. This added a sense of anticipation as each dish arrived and the meal took shape. Another unique aspect of Chop Chop is their Unlimited Banquet for two to six people. When the whole table pays for the Unlimited Banquet any dishes can be reordered for no additional charge. For any larger group, business dinner/lunch, or even for that night out where you can’t get enough of that particular dish this is the perfect option. The al a carte menu is brimming with enticing dishes in a range of meat, fish and vegetarian options, often in different sizes, making for a highly personalised experience.
Chop Chop has a relaxed simple style which highlights the food even more when the plates begin to arrive at the table. It is obvious that it is the food that matters at Chop Chop. The atmosphere is relaxed and homely with bustling conversation and laughter making a comfortable backdrop to the meal. This is an ideal location, for those looking for somewhere to eat which offers an alternative to the usual tourist traps, as it is within easy walking distance of Haymarket Train Station. When the Edinburgh Festival Fringe begins in August this will be one of our tops picks as it is convenient and welcoming and a perfect place to meet friends and share the many amazing dishes on offer.
The first dish to arrive was a seasoned cucumber salad (which gave us good practice with our chop stick skills). This dish was deceptively simple, becoming a fresh and light starter but also a side dish as our other dishes came out and acting as a palette cleanser to the more robust flavours of the hot and spicy noodles. Next up came the pork and coriander dumplings, we opted for the fried option but the menu has both boiled and fried, as well as several meat and vegetarian options. The attentive hosts showed us how to create the dumpling dipping sauce to suit personal taste from vinegar, soy sauce, chillies and garlic. The dumplings were perfectly cooked and the pork and coriander option was delicious we could have ordered the larger order of 8 dumplings happily! The next dish served up was the Crispy Northern chicken which was by far the best of the night. The moreish sauce brought the chicken and the vegetables in it to life; we couldn’t get enough of it (happily the Northern Chicken on the Unlimited Banquet menu which means next time the most can be made of this truly delicious dish) The hot and spicy noodles were up next in a huge portion of freshly made noodles which definitely lived up to their name yet still possessed depth of flavour. Both the dumplings and the noodles are all freshly made from scratch at Chop Chop adding yet another layer of quality to the dining experience.
After the delicious mains it would have been a travesty not to sample the inviting desserts. Genuinely delicious peanut butter dumplings dipped in creamy vanilla ice cream were a highlight. But the sugar string apple was standout; dipping the apple slices smothered in caramelised sugar in cold water causing them to become even more crispy and crunchy made for yet another interactive and sharing experience.
The scrumptious white wine was impressive in its quality, whilst the Chinese beer on offer and was light and refreshing which accompanying the variety of flavours and spice throughout the course of our meal.
Clearly we loved loved our experience at Chop Chop. This is a must for those who enjoy quality Chinese food and are looking for restaurants which offer something a little different during the busy festival season!