Chop Chop - Surprisingly a billion people aren’t wrong

The flyer for Chop Chop, the Chinese restaurant, on Edinburgh’s Morrison St asks ‘can a billion people be wrong?’. It’s a direct reference to the authentic Chinese cuisine that the owner and chef, Jian Wong, has brought to Edinburgh with Chop Chop. Judging by the fantastic meal I ate here on Saturday evening the answer is a resolute no they can’t.

Exterior of Chop Chop on Edinburgh's Morrison St Interior of Chop Chop restaurant in Edinburgh

Anyone passing Chop Chop on Morrison St must notice the bright yellow and red exterior, it’s unavoidable. In some ways it had put me off visiting; I thought it was just another Chinese restaurant serving the standard fare. But then I started hearing good things about Chop Chop from friends and a positive review in The List’s eating and drinking guide.

Shades might be needed in Summer when viewing Chop Chops exterior but the restaurants open plan interior is a lighter affair with pale yellow walls and the occasional red painted support. It’s certainly nothing fancy and can be adequately described as resembling a large cafeteria, but it’s not the venue that makes Chop Chop: refreshingly and noteworthy, given Edinburgh’s style bar/restaurant invasion, it’s the actual food.

To drink, I had a bottle of Grolsch (¬£2.10) and then a bottle of McWilliams Australian Riesling (¬£12.85). I don’t think Chop Chop sell many bottles of wine as it wasn’t chilled; to compensate our waiter submerged the bottle in a bucket of ice and water for about 10 minutes. By the time it was served the wine was cool, but not enough. Given the size of the restaurant and the ice cold Grolsch I was served, you would think Chop Chop could keep the wine chilled! A Bring Your Own Wine policy is offered by Chop Chop, but you will be charged ¬£5 corkage.

The menu is spread over many A4 pages, and offers a sizeable number of dishes. The starters incorporate salads, spring rolls, chicken wings, pork ribs and soups. The mains include, but aren’t limited to, standard chicken, pork and beef dishes, noodle dishes including noodles in peanut and mustard sauce, chow mein, stir fries and fish dishes. And then there’s the boiled and fried dumplings that the chef specialises in, and to which a whole page of the Chop Chop menu is devoted. So many tantalising combinations fill the page, such as beef and celery or pork and green pepper, that deciding which to order is a difficult task. Eventually we elected to share eight boiled vegetable dumplings (¬£3.15) and four fried pork and sauerkraut dumplings (¬£3.20) to start with.

While waiting for our food the chefs husband came to our table and introduced himself, asking whether this was our first time at Chop Chop, etc. It was a nice touch and he seemed a genuine guy who cared about the customers of Chop Chop and what our opinions were on the food. He said his wife tried to stick to authentic Chinese cuisine as much as possible, but had to adapt a few dishes for the British market and serve some dishes, such as crispy shredded beef, specifically for this country. He finished by saying “We should be in for a treat”. And he wasn’t wrong.

Vegetable boiled dumplings with crushed garlic and chilli oil bowls at Edinburgh's Chop Chop Crispy shredded beef at Chop Chop in Edinburgh

Our efficient Polish waiter delivered the dumplings in ceramic bowls, with accompanying chili oil and crushed garlic. He pointed out the tables soy sauce and Chinese vinegar, while encouraging us to make our own dipping sauce for the dumplings. We duly followed and quickly concluded the dumplings and accompaniments could only be described as fantastic. The fillings were sensational, especially the sauerkraut and pork, while the dumplings exterior was made and served to perfection. My only regret was not ordering more dumplings and some of the other varieties - they were truly that good.

Our main courses of stir fried diced lamb and diced potato(£7.80) and crispy shredded beef(£5.45) were generous in portion, while looking and smelling great. We also shared a bowl of fried rice (£1.60). Following the taste sensation of the dumplings was a difficult task, but these mains proved up to the challenge. The diced lamb was delicious, while the diced potatoes were so tasty I could have eaten them all day. The taste of the stir fry sauce was great, although one of the spices used left my tongue burning hot, and my hand reaching for water! The crispy shredded beef was equally good, which was a massive step above similar dishes I have had at Chinese restaurants in the past.

Diced lamb and diced potato stir fry at Chop Chop Edinburgh Mixed fruit dumplings for dessert at Chop Chop, Edinburgh

Comfortably full, but willing to try any dessert Chop Chop could muster, we opted to share eight fruit dumplings. And thankfully the quality did not disappoint. The wheat flour pastry cases were perfect and the apple and blueberry contents were a delight to eat: a refreshing but not overly indulgent dessert made these dumplings a great way to end a great meal.

The worrying aspect of my visit was that for 8pm on a Saturday evening Chop Chop was not very busy. By the time we left only two other tables were occupied. This might be attributable to the gorgeous warm evening Edinburgh was being treated with or may be more symptomatic of the relatively low key Morrison St location of Chop Chop and the highly competitive Chinese restaurant market in Edinburgh. I hope that Chop Chop does well; it truly deserves success. Their Chinese cuisine uses fresh ingredients, quality recipes and a chef who obviously has passion and care at the forefront of her mind. My meal was truly excellent, and showed there is much more to Chop Chop than just dumplings, although these are a strong draw on their own. I can’t wait to go back and try some more dishes off Chop Chop’s menu. Fianlly, it’s worth noting the value for money offered at Chop Chop is also very good.

So chop chop, and get yourself down to Morrison St for some fine and refreshingly different Chinese food.

13 Responses to “Chop Chop - Surprisingly a billion people aren’t wrong”

  1. We went on Saturday 5th August at about 6 o’clock and it was starting to fill up. All the tables were reserved, but they managed to squeeze us in.

    The savoury dumplings lived up to their reputation. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough room to try the sweet ones, after stuffing ourselves with shredded potato salad and belly pork & sauerkraut noodle soup [so light and tangy].

    Cant wait to get back but will book well in advance.

  2. I went to Chop Chop last night with a friend, and it was a lovely experience. The staff were very friendly and attentive, one young man in particular who was extremely charming! The food was first class and such a change from your average ‘take-away’ fare. We had three types of dumplings, a bowl of noodles each, along with a bottle of Chinese wine and a pot of tea and the bill came to under ¬£30! Would highly recommend this eatery, will definitely be going back.

  3. I am a regular visitor of Chop Chop and continue to recommend friends and family to give it a try. Its proper Chinese food at a great price. You can’t beat their Business Lunch for ¬£5.50 for 4 dishes! My favourite has to be the boiled pork dumplings, but the salads are tasty too.

    I have always found the staff to be welcoming and pleasant and have yet to be disappointed by the quality of the food. This is a great little place for food and especially if you are on a budget. Highly recommended!

  4. Chop Chop is without a shadow of a doubt the best Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh if not Scotland. Keep an eye out for the owners son who also does a superb turn as a magician. Highly, highly recommended!

  5. wow i cant wait to go to chop chop

  6. Was there under a week ago and had a fantastic meal, so so cheap and very nippy service. The food was obvisouly very authentic, slightly varied to what other chinese restaurants in Eeinburgh are serving. The food definetly has it’s own trademark.

    Thanks for the review too!

  7. Visited Chop Chop about a month ago after hearing fab things from friends - and I was not dissapointed. Having been used to very average Chinese Restaurants around edinburgh - Chop Chop was an absolute delight. There was a big group of us so we went for a set menu. As we all know set menus can sometimes be a let down with quality and quantity - but not this time - the quality from the amazing sweet and savory dumplings through to crispy beef and various other mains was excellent and there was plenty. I am now a big Chop Chop fan and will be going back as soon as I can!

  8. While in Edinburgh last month I was lucky enough to find Chop Chop.
    What a delight to get great food at a very resonable price. I cant wait to visit again and have looked at some favoured Chineese Restaurants with distain since tasting the wonderful feast.

  9. Campbell Wilson on November 23rd, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Took my wife out to Chop Chop after seeing a glowing review in the November 2009 edition of Foodies magaazine. The food was better than the usual Chinese sweet and sour gunge. Dishes were fresh and service attentive. For a cold, wet Sunday night the place was very busy. We both thought the dumplings were very good. The main meals were freshly prepared as was the fried rice. There were a few downsides to this place. Firstly, you are sitting in what can only be described as a worn out transport cafe - the place is very tired … sticky carpets, grotty furniture and the walls could do with a lick of paint. Some might find this part of the experience. Secondly, don’t sit near the entrance. Every time the door opened, a blast of cold air came rushing in. A number of other diners commented on this. Thirdly, avoid 7-8pm when the yummy mummies allow their badly behaved children to treat the place as their own -screaming the place down and running between the tables unchecked. Overall, the food is way above the normal standard but little or no ambiance. We wouldn’t rush back.

  10. Wow! What amazing reviews! Thank you so much for writing this Blog post and sharing in such detail your experience.

    I realise we are a few years late in responding, but we are pleased to note that you will not find our tables empty any more - some of this is due to great people like you and your commenter’s who take the time to write about us. Thank you!

    We hope to see you all back again soon!

    Chop Chop

    P.S. - We are opening a new location in Leith soon - follow us on Twitter @eatatchopchop for details!

  11. Yes they are wrong! Service was average bordering on poor. Food was covered if not swinmming in oil. So dissapointed after booking a month in advance. Had better dumplings at bernard st, leith and the imperial palace. Don’t go. Your bottom will be numbed on ikea wooden chairs with no padding! Wine was good but waitress couldn’t answer any questions on the list . . . need i go on.

  12. i don’t fancy it either, for authentic Chinese, I love Saigon Saigon, Wing Sing, Lee-on and Panda Inn.

  13. went for a booked meal after a scotland rugby game, wrong dish arrived 4 times, food quality poor, in fairness manager gave 40% discount so credit where its due.
    Would we go back not in your nelly

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