Alessio enjoys traveling and discovering new cultures and food traditions.
Milan is the most cosmopolitan city in Italy. It is not surprising that, besides being a sought-after destination for those wishing to taste traditional Italian food, it is also a rich ecosystem where different cultures coexist, each with its gastronomic traditions. For example, one of the most prosperous Chinese communities in Italy, and perhaps also in Europe, has settled in Milan. With it, an accurate miniature Chinese town was born within the Italian city. In this scenario, Milan is not only a city where to admire unique monuments and taste good Italian food but also one of the best places in Europe where you can taste Chinese food, almost like you would in China. This article intends to guide you to discover the most authentic places in Milan where you can taste traditional Chinese food.
The first place to look for typical Chinese food in Milan is undoubtedly Chinatown. Among the various restaurants in this neighborhood, there are three that I would recommend in particular.
This restaurant specializes in Shaanxi regional cuisine. One of its highlights is the Biang Biang Mian, a large-sized noodle typical of this region. In this place, you can also order the classic dishes popular throughout China, such as tofu salad with century eggs or dry hotpots.
Houjie is a typical Cantonese restaurant. Here you can order clay pot rice, a rice dish cooked in a casserole with various ingredients. Other popular food choices in this restaurant are the artisanal dumplings filled with chives and the Chinese BBQ skewers.
Tang Gourmet is a Shanghai-style dim sum eatery. This place works like a fast food restaurant, as you order your dishes at the counter, pay in advance, then sit and wait for the staff to serve you. As Tang Gourmet specializes in dim sum, the main dishes to taste here are dumplings, buns, and noodles. Everything is hand-made, and the menu features a wide choice of noodle sizes and buns.
NoLo means "North of Loreto" and refers to the neighborhood north of the homonym square. The area is one of the most multiethnic in the city. Here it is easy to find Peruvian, Filipino, Indian, and Turkish food places on every corner of the streets, and of course, there is also a good choice of Chinese restaurants. After Chinatown, it is the second favorite district in Milan by the Chinese community.
This restaurant is good for eating Mala Xiang Guo, a popular Chinese dish featuring different stir-fried ingredients. It is also known for artisanal dumplings, lamian noodles, and spicy Chinese food—one of the best places in Milan for value for money.
Jin Yuan Sifu
Its menu is variegated and features different dishes from various parts of China, even if there is a predominance of Sichuanese specialties. Like Yuan, it is maybe one of the best Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood for value for money.
This restaurant serves malatang, a Sichuanese soup tasting similar to the hotpot (the Chinese fondue). While hotpot is a way of sharing and eating food together by cooking ingredients in a large pot at the center of the table, malatang is something ready to eat. After entering the restaurant, the staff will guide you to a fridge from which you can take the ingredients you want to eat. They weigh your tray on a scale and tell you the price when you finish. Finally, they proceed with cooking your malatang.
This pastry shop is the main one in the NoLo district, and it features artistic cakes and a wide variety of biscuits. The place is small and features no seats, but it is good if you want to try some traditional Chinese pastries to eat on the road.
Farini is another multiethnic district in Milan. Here there are fewer choices of authentic Chinese restaurants compared to Chinatown and NoLo; still, most of them are great for value for money.
Eating hotpot in Milan is easy as, in many districts, there are restaurants specializing in the Chinese fondue. In the city, you can find both à la carte hotpot menus and all-you-can-eat formulas, each with different prices. One of the best hotpot restaurants in Milan is Cuan Cuan, located in the Farini district, near Maciachini square. The restaurant is small and spartan compared to other places with glitzy surroundings. Given the small space and poor ventilation, it is almost certain that you will need a shower after dinner. Despite this minor inconvenience, the hotpot is one of the best eaten in Milan and closest to what you would eat in Sichuan.
Bian Chi Bian Lao
This restaurant is inside the Igiban Hotel, a Chinese-owned accommodation. Despite its position, the restaurant offers excellent value for money for those who want to try Northern Chinese food and also serves Chinese BBQ.
168 Chinese Township
168 Chinese Township is a particular kind of restaurant popular in China, especially in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. It is not a simple eatery but a temple of Chinese food, often chosen by the local Chinese community for celebrating parties and special events. Its particularity is its wide extension: the restaurant features several dining rooms where you can have different meals. There is a hotpot area, a sushi bar, and a fine-dine luxury service. Its particularity is that it also features several private rooms where you can celebrate your most important events without being surrounded by the typical crowded atmosphere almost any restaurant has.
Dong Bei Si Fang Cai
We move from the luxury of 168 Chinese Township to a smaller and more spartan place known in the Chinese community for being one of the top restaurants specializing in the cuisine of northern China, together with Bian Chi Bian Lao.
Rococo Dolci is the second Chinese pastry shop worth of mention for its value for money. Compared to LZ Pasticceria, it also has some tables where you can sit and relax while eating pastries or drinking bubble tea.
Italy is a beautiful country to visit, and Italian food is delicious. However, it is also amazing to see how easy it is to spend a day like in China in one of the most cosmopolitan Italian cities, especially if, in addition to admiring the beauties of Italy, you are also passionate about oriental cultures. You will almost feel like you have made two trips in one, coming into contact with two different cultures that are now perfectly integrated. And if you even want to organize a themed party after enjoying your Chinese day, don't forget to listen to the 15 best Chinese songs for parties.
- Best Authentic Chinese Food in Milan
A list of Chinese restaurants in Milan serving traditional dishes.
© 2022 Alessio Ganci