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Restaurant Review: New World in Chinatown

Every now and then you make a brutal food error. New World last weekend was that for me. Chinatown has always been a bit risky for dim sum and I would normally divert straight to Yauatcha and have a pitch perfect meal. However, this time we wanted something cheap and fast.

New World has been a Chinatown resident longer than I have been alive. It is a behemoth of a place and what is most disappointing it is that, well, the food is a let down.

I mean, it could nearly be perfect. The years have taken their toll. The paint is scuffed, the interior is tacky, the concept stuck in the 1960s. The clientele a ragtag mix of Chinese families and gormless tourists. The service was indifferent and made its best efforts to ignore you until it came time to get new customers in. The ladies with their trolleys full of baskets of dim sum press more dim sum baskets onto you whilst making no concession to non native speakers. This didn’t have to be a bad thing. Coupled with good dim sum it could be an atmospheric treat.

Instead, what came out was stolid stuff. Surgical tools were broken out to pierce dim sum skins. Squash could have been played with some of them. What was inside could have been regurgitated lizard skin.

Now I know we didn’t help ourselves by going late when the dim sum had been sitting around for a while but please try harder New World if I am ever stupid enough to go there again.

Price – £20 for light portions of inedible dim sum

New World on Urbanspoon


  1. Wild Boar

    Is the quality at Yauatcha still good? I haven't been in over a year and I've heard the standard has dropped since bossman Alan Yau left.

  2. Mr Noodles

    What were you thinking of ? For quick and easy, try a bowl of noodles or a plate of Cantonese bbq on rice next time you're in chinatown at that hour.

  3. Tom

    Wild Boar – I only snacked last time I went and it was very good. I haven't had a blow out try everything meal there for a while. I keep meaning to but the wallet shreaks no.

    Mr Noodles – it was madness. It was actually surprising how bad it was. It is a shame there isn't one with trolleys which is actually good. The Empress (as on yours) looks like my next Chinese food experience.

  4. The London Foodie

    I remember going to the New World in early 1993 with Dr G for the first time (in fact that was the very first time we went out for a meal together), I remember very little about the food, I was a vegetarian then (silly i know). We went back a few years ago, and we were both shocked by how bad the food was and how awfully tacky the whole decor was, it is amazing to realise how this place is still opened and still managing to find custom…

    Interesting to learn that they have not changed in the last 7 or so years since we have been. Thanks for that.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  5. Tom

    Luiz – that is an amazing story and from your twitter updates I think your choice of a meal (la chapelle, with meat hopefully) is a far better choice 🙂

  6. ChineseFoodie

    If I remember and understood this from memory, New World restaurant was indeed one of these literal decent place in its haydays, it was what is classed as “Haute Cuisine” eating establishment for Cantonese (?) food in modern day terms. (I have no idea who started to use this term recently in some article. It goes to show the lack of understanding of the cultural understanding of the cuisine itself.) The decor may have slowly deteriorated over the years, but because Chinatown is almost a tourist place now, most decent dim sum chefs who wants their culinary skills to be appreciated have probably left the area ! I think it is nostalgia which is still holding the place together for any local Chinese communities who still frequent these places.

    For very decent dim sums which highlight the pastry techniques as well as some good thoughtful ideas on the taste and fillings, then consider trying one of these places where the dim sums are so much more refreshing. Most decent dim sum chefs would have migrated away from chinatown, unless there is still a demand back now. I often find the Northern Dim Sum establishments to be so much better than the ones I find in London Chinatown…


    Yauatcha is definitely more emphasize on the decor, and service than the food itself. Cos there is no way that simple dim sums should be charged at that kind of prices??? It is not even classed as emperor’s banquets or “haute cuisine” kind of dishes. That is SO ridiculous. Only the upwardly mobile will pay this kind of prices and bump up mediocre food….. THIS literally kill off any chances of decent haute cuisine dishes to ever reach Chinatown. You are paying lowly priced home-made food at high prices….

    • As I am now fortunate enough to find myself in HK I don’t have to ply the streets of China town anymore.

      I have to say, it scares me to go back. The shonky attempts at dim sum (even at the best places) are embarassing in light of my new found knowledge earned by eating way too much char siu.

      Not being able to have proper char siu from Fu Sing will make me want to cry when I leave.

      As for the prices at Yauatcha. I would pay double that if it was as good as here… WIll save the odd flight back to HK to stock up on food memories

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