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Birmingham’s long-established Chinese restaurant, Wing Wah, has made the move to the city’s bustling Chinatown after 21 years trading at the iconic Wing Yip Centre in Nechells.
Located in the heart of the city, just a short walk from Birmingham New Street Station and the main shopping area, Wing Wah has dropped its buffet menu and now offers dim sum and full a la carte.
The venue’s smartly decorated ground-floor location - think dark walls and white tablecloths with the addition of authentic red and gold notes throughout - boasts more than 120 covers and an open-plan dim sum kitchen, allowing diners to watch the team of highly skilled chefs prepare some beautifully crafted small dishes.
Prior to our visit, I’d heard from a reputable and trustworthy source that Wing Wah serves the best Chinese food in Birmingham. Both my partner and I are huge fans of the cuisine, so needless to say we were beyond excited to sample the venue’s new menu.
As with many Chinese restaurants, Wing Wah’s dishes are more authentic and adventurous than those usually offered in local takeaways. We ordered every dish, bar one, that hadn’t been adapted for the Western palate, so to speak.
Options included marinated jelly fish with spicy sesame oil, salt & pepper duck tongue, braised sea cucumber with duck feet and mushroom in casserole, fish head and bean curd soup, and boneless chicken claws in Thai style, to name but a few.
We started with a crab meat soup and a seafood & dried scallop soup, as well as a mixed dim sum basket to share.
Wow! The soups, particularly the crab meat, were out-of-this-world good. I’ve eaten plenty of (what I considered to be) incredible soups over the years, but these really were another level of delicious. The crab soup, thicker in consistency than the seafood & scallop, was without question one of the tastiest dishes I've eaten in my life. It really couldn’t have been further away from the ‘crab & sweetcorn’ soup on offer at your local takeaway.
The dim sum basket comprised two king prawn, two vegetable & prawn, two crystal scallop and two pork & prawn dumplings. Beautifully presented, they were certainly on a par with the best dumplings I’ve enjoyed anywhere. Large in size and all featuring a substantial amount of mouthwatering filling, they really should be a must-try option the next time you visit Wing Wah.
Three dishes in and we were seriously, seriously (it deserves the repetition) impressed with the quality of the food.
Choosing what to have for our main courses was quite the deliberation. Some dishes that particularly caught our eye were Sichuan-style fresh lobster, lamb brisket with bean curd stick casserole, and stir-fried pork ribs with pineapple in sweet & sour sauce. In the end, we chose the triple roast from the roast meat section, which comprised roast duck, roast pork and roast crispy belly pork.
Each meat option was cooked to absolute perfection. The dish was so nice, in fact, that words can’t do it justice - you really do need to experience its magic for yourself. As with everything else we’d devoured beforehand, the duck was far superior to any I’d eaten at a Chinese restaurant before. The meat melted in the mouth - and as for the skin...divine!
We thought we’d also ordered the typhoon shelter-style fried blue crab, but there was a bit of confusion and we were instead brought a huge bowl of noodles with tofu, egg, pork, beef and prawn. Although not what we’d asked for, the dish was nonetheless stunning and fantastically flavoursome - the ultimate comfort food. The staff were incredibly apologetic, but the dish was so delicious that they really had nothing to be sorry for; far from it, in fact!
We added a side of stir-fried vegetables with minced salty fish, which helped bring a sense of freshness to our exemplary banquet. Regrettably, we couldn’t quite finish it all, but we certainly gave it a good go! The portion sizes at Wing Wah are impressively large, which suited us perfectly.
Both my partner and I were absolutely blown away by the cuisine we tried on the evening we visited. The flavours at Wing Wah are truly outstanding and, certainly from our perspective, by far the nicest in Birmingham. And that’s no easy feat to achieve considering the city’s abundance of high-quality Chinese and Cantonese eateries.
***** Lauren Foster
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