Travelling in London can be difficult, because there is so much going on. But one thing you definitely want to do is explore food in London, because between rooftop restaurants, terrace gardens and cooking classes, there is something for everyone. You should not leave London without indulging in Chinese cuisine, whether it is on the floating restaurant on the Regent’s Park canal, Feng Shang Princess, or from one of Chinatown’s bustling alleys with smells that transport you from Central London to Asia. Soho’s Chinatown is a peak food district in London, an eclectic area which shows what a metropolitan cultural melting pot the big smoke really is. But why not step things up a notch and attend a Chinese cooking class? That way, the flavours you explored in London travel home with you, gracing your kitchens whenever you fancy a bao bun or peking duck.
School of Wok
Contact: 020 7240 8818
Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG
School of Wok in Covent Garden has got more than just a killer pun going for it. It is Europe’s only award-winning Asian and Oriental cooking school, making it the most obvious go-to if you are looking to learn about and explore food in London. Whether you are looking to spend an hour learning the basics of bao buns, or wanting to dedicate the day to learning how to prepare a full-day Chinese banquet meal, School of Wok has you covered.
Prices start at £15 and climb depending on the level of expertise you are looking to acquire and how much time you are willing to spend in their modern, well-stocked kitchens. You can get the insight into dim sum you have always wanted, learn some staples as well as some vegetarian show-stoppers that will elevate your dinner parties to a whole new level. No matter which course you choose to do, booking a School of Wok Chinese cooking class is the first easy step towards taking a piece of Chinese culture home to your kitchen. It really woks.
Le Cordon Bleu “Taste of Asia”
Contact: 020 7400 3900
Address: 15 Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London WC1A 2LS
Anyone with a passion for fine dining and
an aptitude for cooking will have heard or even dreamed of attending Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School in
Holborn. This internationally recognised gastronomical establishment was once a
noble tribute to the world of French cuisine, and now offers such a diverse
selection of multi-ethnic courses that the name holds immense culinary weight
across most cuisines.
Their Chinese Tastes of Asia course is a prime example of this culinary variety,
proffering trade secrets of well-loved Chinese dishes. It covers the
fundamental pillars of Chinese cuisine, including everything involved in
creating a mouth-watering peking duck: from preparing, poaching and drying the
bird to glazing, roasting and devouring its tender flavours with a dreamy
hoisin sauce. It delves into the necessity and intricacy of marinades, how to
wrap spring rolls to spill-free perfection and how to get noodles at the
perfect consistency. Though this may sound daunting, the course is open to all
The £230 price includes the six hour training
session, a branded tea-towel and apron, all the ingredients necessary as well
as the equipment you will be using. Though you are encouraged to eat and sample
all the delicacies you make, you are also welcome to take things home with you
to show off to your family or nibble on leftovers from your hotel suite. But
you don’t just take the produce of your hard work home and when the leftovers
are finished, you will still have skills that will serve you a lifetime!
London Cookery School
Contact: 07756 289779
Address: 296 Holloway Rd, London N7 6NJ
This culinary hotspot in Holloway is a haven for anyone interested in learning how to become masters of food. But one of their specialties and most popular courses is their dim sum class, where attendees can learn how to make these small-plate Chinese favourites. For only £45, these little taste sensations could be one of the go-to meals you make for your friends and family. The teachers are not just there to tell you what to chop and which spices to use – though that is certainly a handy part of the process! They are there to help you learn and understand the flavours and the process, so that you are able to adapt the recipes and techniques to suit your own kitchen. You will learn not only how to make them in their specified shapes, but also get a bit of an insight into the cultural significance and relevance of those shapes.
This is not exclusively a way to explore food in London, but a course that shows you how to transfer those skills into your everday life and enjoy them forever.
The Avenue Cookery School
Contact: 020 8874 7623
Address: 3 Enterprise Way, London SW18 1FZ
While School of Wok and Le Cordon Bleu offer courses with a range of items in Chinese cuisine, London Cookery School and The Avenue Cookery School is where you want to be heading if you have got a specific Chinese dish in mind. For London Cookery School, it is their dim sum class you want to b-line for. Whereas, The Avenue Cookery School is the end goal if you want to learn how to recreate delicious bao buns. Often eaten as a lighter meal or starter, bao buns originate in the Fuzhou region of China.
Depending on the class you pick – there are a couple to choose from, all dedicated to bao buns – you can get all sorts of packages. Some include dinner and bottomless drinks, and some are quick crash courses, but they all send you home with a brain full of technique and a bag full of buns. What’s there not to love about that? Vegetarians are welcome and upon prior request can be catered for. Just know this: you will leave with a newfound obsession with bao buns but it is worth the risk.
There you have it – a simple formula for food-based success: head to London and book a Chinese cooking course. Though the experience will come to an end, you will reap the benefits of the time and effort you put into these courses every time you open to fridge and wonder what you will make for dinner.