I love Leeds Chinese takeaways but had no idea 5,400 calorie salt and pepper 'munchie boxes' weren't authentic

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The Rate My Takeaway star shares his favourite Chinese meals

As Chinese New Year approaches, Rate My Takeaway YouTube star Danny Mei Lan Malin reveals his favourite Chinese takeaways, go-to dishes and how his understanding of the cuisine is changing.

There’s a large Chinese population in Yorkshire, something which I’d never realised until meeting my now wife who is mixed race Chinese and English.

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I admit to being ignorant to many different cuisines before traveling around the UK and the world reviewing takeaways.

With my wife I have explored more Chinese food and realised the variety of grub available from Szechuan cuisine to Cantonese, Shandong, Huaiyang, and Northeastern. We often only hear about the first two if any at all in this country.

My favourite dish however is a simple beef and mushroom. For me a Chinese takeaway which I know is not the tradition involves beef and mushroom main, chips and Chinese curry sauce. I’m also partial to a Chinese munch box which is a mountain of English style Chinese food served in a big pizza box.

Danny Mei Lan Malin, who said he had no idea huge 'munchie boxes' with salt and pepper dishes were not authentic Chinese cuisine.Danny Mei Lan Malin, who said he had no idea huge 'munchie boxes' with salt and pepper dishes were not authentic Chinese cuisine.
Danny Mei Lan Malin, who said he had no idea huge 'munchie boxes' with salt and pepper dishes were not authentic Chinese cuisine. | National World/Rate My Takeaway

Apparently these originated in Scotland and are now popular in Northern England.

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My wife however is against them l because people l mistakenly assume that’s authentic Chinese food. Whereas they’re simple deep fried ingredients such as chips. I do love them especially with all the salt and pepper flavoured dishes.

I’ve even eaten salt and pepper flavoured potato smiley faces when I visited a takeaway in Scotland as well as a 5,400 calorie munchie box.

I remember having one at Lucky House in Wakefield too which was ok but I didn’t think I’d return until I realised it was the same road my now wife lived. That said, what we eat at home and for Chinese New Year it is different but delicious.

My wife introduced me to a steam boat or ‘hot pot’, which is a large circle pan of broth often with different flavours in each side. We put it in the middle of the table on top of a stove with lots of condiments and fresh ingredients to dunk in. We also have a grill on the table for the meat.

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Eating a hotpot is all about unity and family coming together. It always feels like a banquet when we have a hot pot as we’re all sharing. For New Year’s Eve, traditional dishes include wonton soup, spring rolls and dumplings for wealth, steamed fish for prosperity, good fortune fruit and sticky rice balls for family togetherness.

If we’re going out for food in West Yorkshire, Joy’s Kitchen on Vicar Lane in Leeds serves up freshly made dim sum which includes a variety of dumplings and appetisers. I also enjoyed more banquet style eating with the family at traditional Chinese restaurants. There’s several great ones as well as Chinese supermarkets on the outskirts of Leeds city centre such as Oriental City and Sing Kee Supermarket.

Sheffield also has a lovely China Town area at New Era Square. I’m yet to put up my table and chair around there but I have been to the former Candytown restaurant on the edge of it which is bang on. My wife swears by Wawin takeaway too.

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One of the most memorable Chinese takeaways I’ve been to however is Wiyu - the first Chinese takeaway drive thru which is in Warrington. The reason they’re food is delicious is because they’re l wise by only having a small menu. It’s made fresh to order with their pre-prepared sauces.

For something a bit more upmarket for adults wanting a contemporary twist, you can’t go wrong with Tattu on East Parade or the bottomless brunch at Man’s Market on Wellington Street. Sadly this season will

Or you can try Ivy Asia, which has a stunning interior and a relaxing atmosphere. It's a far cry from the busy dim sum places I’ve experienced abroad with waiting staff busily rushing around with trolleys.

My favourite local Chinese takeaways are Morley Chinese in Leeds and Taste of China in Wakefield.

The kids love it too but my wife’s favourite is Hong Kong Vegan and Wawin in Leeds because she’s a veggie although she prefers home-made.

Kong Hey Fat Choy this Year of the Dragon.

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