18 Great Restaurants For East And Southeast Asian Cuisine In London, According To A Local

London is known for its diverse population, comprised of communities from around the globe, including East and Southeast Asian diasporas. Though still early in its recognition, thanks to advocates within the ESEA communities, the U.K. has finally begun to acknowledge the contributions and rich cultural makeup of these communities through a dedicated ESEA month in hopes of helping these diasporas to feel seen and bring some of their histories into the public eye.

The first wave of Chinese immigration to London wasn't until the early 1800s. Many first settled in London's East End, an area known for being a landing point for many diasporas, alongside other neighborhoods, including Pennyfields, near Gill Street, and the Limehouse Causeway. It wasn't until the 1950s that London's now-famous Chinatown began taking root. Many other Southeast Asian communities also settled in London, some through their dealings with the British-owned colonial trade giant known as the East India Company, others in more recent years as students or various forms of employment.

Today, there are many communities from the East and Southeast Asian diasporas living in London. The city benefits from cultural representation in various forms and ways, including increasing choice and variety within the restaurant scene. This list of great places to eat East and Southeast Asian cuisine in London represents only a tiny fraction of the offerings available from the ESEA diaspora communities. They were chosen based on positive and trusted reviews from local critics, firsthand experiences, and each establishment's unique cultural representation.

Roti King

Founded by Malaysian chef Sugar Gopal, Roti King's first restaurant opened in 2014. Now, with three locations, Euston, Battersea, and newly-opened Waterloo, Londoners have more access to the venue's signature dish and namesake, roti canai. This stretchy, freshly-made Malaysian flatbread is served with a choice of curries, including dhal, chicken, mutton, or fish, or stuffed with a choice of filling (known as murtabak). Roti can also be ordered as dessert, filled with coconut jam or kaya, condensed milk (planta), or pisang (banana). This is the spot to watch chefs roll and cook each roti fresh to order with mesmerizing precision and speed.

Other classic Malaysian dishes available include beef or pulled shiitake mushroom rendang, nasi lemak served with endorphin-producing sambal and crispy fried chicken, or fragrant Kari Laksa. Pair your meal with a tall glass of teh tarik, condensed milk-infused Malaysian milk tea served hot or cold, or teh o'ais limau a sweetened lemon tea (hot or cold). Reservations aren't taken, but be warned, tables go quickly, so it is best to arrive on the earlier side of lunch or dinner time.


Multiple locations

Sambal Shiok

Those hungry to chase away the winter blues (or any other kind of blues, for that matter) should look no further than Mandy Yin's laksa bar, Sambal Shiok. What began as a popular pop-up in 2013 eventually took root, opening as a brick-and-mortar in 2018 in Islington. Yin draws from her Malaysian-born Chinese heritage in her signature curry laksa which combines the laksa of Kuala Lumpur with the Assam-style laksa of Penang, blending Malay and Chinese flavors often reflected in Peranakan Nyonya cuisine.

Sambal Shiok also serves Penang Assam laksa, cold rice noodle salads, rendang, and Malaysian chicken curry alongside steamed rice. Finish your meal with a cocktail, including a lemongrass spritz or pandan americano. Take home a jar of the house-made laksa paste, tomato sambal, and a copy of Yin's cookbook for mid-week cravings. Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday and lunch and dinner Friday and Sunday.



171 Holloway Road, London N7 8LX

Sông Quê Café 

First opened in April 2002, Sông Quê Café has been going strong for the last 20-plus years. Own and run by husband and wife Lot Van Pham and Ann Phuoc Ti Pham, the Vietnamese cafe's most popular items include slow-cooked pho (by far the most popular item on the menu), smoky grilled pork, cha la lot (ground pork wrapped in betel leaf), bahn xeo (Vietnamese savory filled pancake) and herbaceous summer rolls.

Not just for pho, Sông Quê Café also features an array of traditional Vietnamese techniques and flavors, including clay pot cooking, or kho, and an array of bun (vermicelli noodle) dishes and prawn paste served on skewers made from sugar cane. It's open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, closing between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.


+44 (0) 207 613 3222

134 Kingsland Rd, London, E2 8DY


Imone on New Malden's high street is held in high esteem by locals and local restaurant critics alike, with lines forming outside the bright yellow restaurant in anticipation of its noon opening. A few tables exist in the front, with an annex of several more hidden behind the shop.

Start with jeon (pancake) and a plate of crispy yangnyum dak (chicken wings) before moving on to Imone's signature dish, Saengseon jjim, a whole fish coated in toothsome and delicious chrysanthemum leaves and mung beans dressed in a spicy tomato sauce. This showstopper of a dish is worth traversing the city for. You can order dishes separately or as a lunchtime set. The Ssaengsun Jjim set being our top choice for obvious reasons, includes a jeon, rich tofu soup, an assortment of banchan, the aforementioned fish dish, and steamed rice. This set is meant to be ordered in pairs, so either come incredibly hungry or with a friend. Reservations are suggested to ensure a table. Open for lunch and dinner six days a week, closed on Wednesdays.


+44 (0) 208 942 9588

169 High Street, New Malden, KT3 4BH


This husband and wife-owned Japanese establishment opened in Kingston upon Thames in 2015, adding a second location in nearby Teddington in 2022. Set further south, these small, intimate Japanese establishments offer a range of dishes, including bouncy, chewy udon soups, beautifully grilled yakitori and other skewers, and donburi dishes with fragrant and seasoned steamed rice topped with melt-in-the-mouth cuts of sashimi. Vegetarians should order the yasai roll (pickled vegetables) and the yasai tempura alongside a bowl of steaming hot miso soup. Pescatarians, the menu is genuinely your oyster here.

Almost always busy due to the small number of tables and the outstanding food that streams out of the kitchens, reservations are highly recommended. Obon is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday in Teddington and Friday and Saturday only in Kingston. Both locations are open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays.


Multiple locations


This family-owned Thai restaurant run by chef Sirichai Kularbwong is known for its cult-like following of enthusiastic eaters and its once hidden gem status — a status put well to rest for better or worse. Recently, and for the first time in its 20+ years running, Singburi was fully booked for a solid four months straight, its 'best kept secret' cover blown for good.

Everyone has their favorite dishes at Singburi, but the handwritten blackboard that changes daily is the best place to look for what-to-eat inspiration. Recently, the restaurant took home a 'Top 100' accolade at the National Restaurant Awards, now standing as the 73rd best restaurant in England. Needless to say, reservations are now most definitely required. Note this is a cash-only restaurant. Though everything on the menu is reasonably priced, you can never order too much; you'll have to work out how to fit it all on the table. Open for dinner Thursday through Sunday with take-out options available.


+44 (0) 208 281 4801

593 High Rd Leytonstone, London, E11 4PA


Founded by Dan Anton and head chef Zaw Mahesh, Lahpet remains one of the only restaurants in the city that specializes in Burmese cuisine. Lahpet began, as many good ones do, as a stall to gauge interest while testing out dishes and menus. Since then, Lahpet has successfully opened and maintained two brick-and-mortar sites, the first in Shoreditch in 2018 and a second in the West End in 2022. The name refers to a traditional fermented tea leaf and a cultural tradition of Myanmar.

Fueled by Burmese food memories, upbringings, and roots, Lahpet aims to celebrate the cuisine's nuances and flavors. Menus include tofu and split pea fritters, which come with a sweet and sour tamarind dip, a Lahpet thohk salad consisting of pickled tea, double-fried beans, dried shrimp, peanuts, chili, and garlic oil, curries, noodles, and more. Finish off with a scoop or two of refreshing sorbet or lime and ginger ice cream. Open for lunch, dinner, and feasting seven days a week, reservations are suggested and required for feasting menu options.


Multiple locations

Lao Cafe

Lao Cafe is located in the heart of Covent Garden and a stone's throw away from London's Chinatown. Founded by Saiphin Moore, a chef and businesswoman with Thai and Lao heritage, Moore is also the co-founder of the successful Rosa's Thai Cafe. Lao Cafe is one of the city's only establishments to celebrate Laos's unique cuisine. It, too, was born out of a successful pop-up that left Londoners wanting to know (and eat!) more from Moore.

Like the cuisine, the menu is designed for sharing and includes sweet, sour, salty, and spicy salads, soups, and grilled meats. All feasts, big or small, are only enhanced when accompanied by sticky rice, a staple of any Laotian meal. It's open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.


+44 (0) 20 3740 4748

60 Chandos Place, London, WC2N 4HG

Ramo Ramen

Ramo Ramen is the product of two extraordinary cuisines that come together under one roof and into one bowl. It's tradition meets innovation, alongside some serious cooking chops. Founded by Omar Shah (Ramo spelled backward) and Florence Mae Maglanoc through their restaurant group Maginhawa, the Filipino ramen house opened in 2018 in Kentish Town, adding a second location in Soho in 2021.

Go-to orders include the oxtail ramen, which includes some of the peanut-based flavors of Filipino stew kare kare, a seafood ramen derived from sinigang, a Filipino soup known for its use of sour tamarind based broth, and chicken sopas that include chicken adobo, chicken-based chicharrones, and, depending on the location, a matzoh ball. All meat served at Ramo is also Halal, making it a wonderfully accessible restaurant option for London's Muslim communities.


Multiple locations


What started as one lone shop in Soho in 2012 is now 14 locations deep, and that's just in London. Tonkotsu has been at the heart of the ramen explosion in London; the clue is in the name for what to order when you go. Like others, Tonkotsu began as a pop-up before becoming a brick-and-mortar establishment.

Order the original tonkatsu, which includes pork belly, thin-cut ramen, bamboo, and a perfectly cooked egg submerged in a rich pork-based broth and topped with burnt garlic oil. If you don't eat pork or want to venture out and try other varieties, there are plenty of alternatives. Try the chicken or vegetable-based broths, including chili chicken, Tokyo, or Japanese mushroom miso. Tonkotsu also serves a range of katsu curry dishes and homemade gyoza for snacking while waiting for the main event.


Multiple locations

A. Wong

The effort put into each item on the menu at Andrew Wong's A. Wong is substantial, not just in the kitchen but in the extensive research of culture, history, technique, and technology that has culminated behind each dish. This labor showcases Wong's interests as both an anthropologist and a chef. The "A" is a tribute to Wong's parents, Albert and Annie, Chinese restaurant owners themselves. In 2021, A. Wong became the first Chinese restaurant outside China to receive a second Michelin star in 2021, just one of many accolades collected since opening in 2012.

Book a table for a dim sum lunch or tasting menu or one of the current evening tasting menus, a three-hour-long event known as "the Collections of China" that takes diners across China's 14 international borders. A. Wong is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations are required.


+44 (0) 20 7828 8931

70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, London, SW1V 1DE

Donia Restaurant

Newly-opened Donia is London's restaurant de jour; its name and Filipino flavors are currently on the tip of every London-based food critic's tongue. Set up by The Maginhawa Group, founded by Ramo Ramen's Omar Shaw and Florence Mae Maglanoc, Donia has only been open a scan few months, but its popularity is proving to reflect the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen as well as the public's desire for more Filipino flavors and culinary representation.

Start with adobo mushroom croquetas, the salted egg and tomato salad, or a sea bream kinilaw, a Filipino version of raw cured fish similar to ceviche. Main dishes include lamb shoulder caldereta pie and chicken inasal. Finish the dining experience with a scoop of ube or guyabano ice cream. Donia is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Mondays.


+44 (0) 203 340 8775

2.14 Top Floor Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London, W1B 5PW

Ong Ong Buns

Named after the owners, Icy and Aaron's beloved cat (obviously), Ong Ong Buns is an independent bakery selling a range of sweet and savory buns from Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and more. These slightly sweet, fluffy buns are filled with a variety of flavors. Savory buns feature favorites like char siu pork, halal chicken curry, kimchi and jackfruit, and stand-out Korean garlic bread. There are plenty of sweet fillings, too, including the Ong Ong signature bun, which includes a filling of custard and coconut topped with a sweet crumble. The bun is inspired by the bo lo bao (pineapple bun) and gai mei bao (cocktail bun).

You can find Ong Ong Buns in two locations: under the archways of Spa Terminus in Bermondsey and on the ground floor of the sprawling Westfield Stratford City Mall. Swing by the stall for a wide-ranging chat with Aaron and a delicious bun or three.


Multiple locations

Bao London

Bao London began as a pop-up in Netil Market, founded by Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung, and Wai Ting Chung. In 2015, the popular stall blossomed into its own permanent restaurant in Soho, inspired by Taiwanese Xiao Chi houses. The Bao brand has since expanded, offering six different locations across London, each slightly different from the rest.

The Bao brand ranges from its original Xiao chi form in Soho, and now Bao Kings Cross, both of which offer a range of tasty snacks from Taiwanese fried chicken and soy glazed aubergine to bone marrow rice and, of course, bao. Pop by Bao Marylebone to dine on its all-day dumpling menu, or head to noodle shops in Shoreditch and Battersea, which feature a Taiwanese rich beef cheek and short rib noodle soup and a braised pork mince Danzai noodle soup, respectively — a different bao for each mood and craving. Check individual locations for opening hours.


Multiple locations


Opened in 1982, Hunan has made a name for itself thanks to its delicious food and unique approach. There is no specific menu; customers tell their server what they cannot eat, including dislikes and allergies, and how much heat they believe they can handle from chili peppers. Then, a unique meal consisting of small tapas-sized plates from various provinces around China (not just Hunan) and Taiwan, perfect for sharing, appears at the table.

Though the restaurant has a few signature dishes, including a broth made of pork, mushrooms, and ginger, this cooking and serving style guarantees you can never eat the same meal twice at Hunan. Hunan does require a minimum of two people to book. Meals come at a fixed price of $75 per person for lunch and $126 for dinner. Reservations are essential.


+44 (0) 20 730 5712

51 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NE

Four Seasons

Opened in 1990 in Queensway, London, Four Seasons is hailed as one of London's best spots for Hong Kong-style roasted duck and other traditional roasted meats. Lucky for Londoners, Four Seasons now has several different branches to visit.

Order a whole or half portion of special roasted Cantonese duck on or off the bone. It also serves soy chicken, char siu, and crispy belly pork, all of which can be served on or off the bone. Balance your carnivorous tooth with a stir-fried dish of pak choi, choi sum, morning glory, or kai lan and a few orders of steamed rice for a well-balanced and unbelievably delicious meal. There are many other dishes on the menu, too, but it's the roasted duck and other roasted meats that take the trophy and give Four Seasons its legacy.


Multiple locations

Silk Road

Silk Road in London's Camberwell neighborhood is known for uniquely serving Xinjiang dishes, particularly from China's Muslim-practicing Uyghur Hui and Dongxiang communities. This differs from other cuisines of the country, including meats like lamb and spices like cumin, cinnamon, and saffron, alongside a generous helping of heat from chili.

Here, dumplings can be ordered by the piece, ensuring you can try one of everything while still saving room for the main courses. Order its famously coveted homestyle cabbage, hand-pulled noodle dishes, shish (or kebabs) of lamb, tripe, kidney or fish, spicy shredded kelp, and any other dish that tickles your fancy or piques your interest on the menu. Open for dinner Monday to Friday and from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.


+44 (0) 20 7703 4832

49 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR

Poon's Wontoneria

Poon's has been around London since 1970, with a family legacy and lineage of exceptional chefs. Bill and Cecilia Poon first opened the Poon's restaurant in 1973; their Covent Garden location opened in 1976 and was awarded a Michelin star in 1980. Now no longer with a Covent Garden location, Poon's offers a variety of services from sauces, wind-dried meats, and wontons available for national delivery, and a residency in the city's roving restaurant Carousel, which has featured pop-ups, residencies, and guest chefs for the last 10 years.

Poon's Wontoneria, launched by daughter Amy Poon, is a one-stop shop for dining in and taking home for later. Handmade wontons, including pork, chicken, prawn, or jackfruit, come soaked in a six-hour chicken broth or chili vinegar dressing, depending on preferences. The dinner menu is a bit more extensive, with various sharing plates alongside the range of wontons. Don't forget to pick up a box of cook-at-home wontons, a jar of chili oil or dressing, and some of Poon's famous wind-dried pork sausage while you're there. Do note that the current residency will soon be changing venues, so get in while you still can. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.


+44 (0) 736 767 4352

23 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RW


These restaurants and establishments were selected for a variety of reasons including positive first-hand experiences, reviews from trusted local critics and friends, and their variety of cuisines and unique interpretations within the ESEA diaspora communities. Though many can be visited for a successful and delicious solo dining experience, as many of the menus are made for sharing, experiencing each establishment within a small group will allow for an overall more pleasurable eating experience.