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The Won Kei, London, UK
The Won Kei restaurant on Wardour Street in Chinatown, London, UK, is pretty much undisputedly the best and one of the cheapest Chinese restaurants in the city. Proof is in the long queues that form on Saturday nights, despite the fact that some of the waiters are incredibly rude1 and that the restaurant is in fact enormous.
On entering the restaurant a waiter will call over to you asking for the number of people in your party, and on that basis will direct you either downstairs to the basement, to a table on the ground floor or up to the first floor. You may even be directed to the second floor. Be sure to have your fingers crossed while this process is going on, as the notoriously rude waiters inhabit the basement, and they get progressively more polite the further up you go.
- Do do what the waiters tell you to, or you'll get chucked out.
- Do try to decide what you're going to have before you go in, as you won't get long to look at the menu once inside.
- Do drink Chinese tea, and don't drink wine - it's far too expensive, not very good, and might take the price of your meal for two above ten pounds.
- Don't expect to get a table on your own - it's all communal and you will be put on a table with other people unless you're in a party of just the right number.
- Don't try to pay by credit card.
- Don't expect to be able to spend a great deal of time eating - you'll be expected to shovel it down and vacate the space for the next group.
You might be wary of trying the Won Kei, and wonder why people flock there if it's such a harsh eating experience, but you'll understand if you try the food. Particularly recommended are the Chow Ho Fun (wide, white rice noodles) with beef in black bean sauce and the roast duck noodle soup.
1 In fact, when one customer was bold enough to ask for a table by the window they were told 'You want a view? You go to Buckingham Palace!'.
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