Chop Chop

Chop Chop
248 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8DT
  • Telephone 0131 221 1155
  • Food served Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm.
  • Average price 19.75 (set lunch); £16 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website www.chop-chop.co.uk

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Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2014 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2014) edition.

Fast food Chinese-style, Chop Chop’s canteen-like interior lends an authenticity to the experience that transforms diners to perhaps the campus of Peking University. With simple wooden tables and bright-yellow walls, the Haymarket branch is jam-packed on a Friday or Saturday night with groups. If you’re looking for a more intimate meal, the modern Leith branch is decorated with simple natural colours brightened up with Chinese lanterns. Both restaurants offer identical menus designed for sharing. This feels like the Chinese version of tapas, and gives diners a chance to try lots of little dishes. The speciality is dumplings, jiao zi (boiled) or guo tie (fried). The prawn guo tie are packed full of tasty prawns while the vegetable jiao zi provide a simpler taste worth dunking in your soya sauce. Meat and fish eaters have plenty of alternative choices including stodgy fried fish balls, fresh spicy squid with garlic, and light sliced beef strips. The menu doesn’t offer a huge variety of flavours – there’s a lot of teriyaki sauce and garlic – so make sure to prioritise some of the vegetable dishes, most notably the excellent stir-fried green beans and chilli. Unusually, it’s definitely worth trying dessert – the peanut or mixed-fruit dumplings are delicious with vanilla ice-cream.

Takeaway review
By now, there can’t be many in Edinburgh unfamiliar with the Chop Chop approach, which eschews typical anglicised Chinese fare for authentic cuisine from the north-east of the country, served up in a variety of portion sizes. For the uninitiated though, that means delicious filled dumplings, either boiled (Jiao Zi) or fried (Guo Tie), a number of unusual but alluring vegetarian selections (like shredded potato salad with garlic, coriander and sesame oil) plus lashings of flavoured noodles. The takeaway service – which includes generous meal-deals and discounts for members – follows the same winning formula as the restaurants. You can order online or by phone and collect from either Haymarket or Leith branches; a delivery service from the latter has stuttered recently so check with the restaurants for confirmation that it's available.

  • High point: Chinese-style tapas is great to share on a night out with friends
  • Low point: Simple, repetitive flavours limit the actual choice on offer
  • Notable dish: Prawn guo tie
  • Provides: Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Chinese modern
  • Capacity: 80
  • Largest group: 80
  • Open since: 2006
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 6
  • House wine: £13.50 per bottle
  • BYOB: £5 corkage (Corkage £15 for 4 bottles and £3 per bottle for 5 or more)

Reviews & features

Chop Chop dumplings set for supermarket sales

25 Feb 2008

Edinburgh restaurateur Roy King, who runs Chop Chop, has announced that the dumplings for which they are famous are now being produced for sale in Sainsbury's. He insisted on maintaining his policy of 'fresh ingredients only and no pre-cooking…

Comments & ratings

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21. Plastivore3 Dec 2012, 11:44am1 star Chop Chop Report

A really inviting slogan: "How can 2 billion people be wrong?"

Well, they are thousands of miles away from that restaurant, so I guess that makes the statement right! The food is overpriced and really not that good. My wife and I first tried the one on Morrison Street, fooled by its awards and reputation, and were left very disappointed by the food. On top of that, the service is below average. the only dish that was really good was the peanut and mustard noodles (freshly made!), but it came in such a small portion that it was not even remotely worth it. We were so disappointed that we left the restaurant no completely full.

Later, we got a Groupon offer for Chop Chop again, and decided to go to the one in Leith, to give it another chance. That time was even worse, both the food and the service.

All in all, a place that seems to have started as a good small restaurant, but now that the masses are coming in, they must have raised the price and rest on their laurels. It is really outrageous to charge that much for this quality and that small portions. Every time I pass in front of it, I feel like to come in and tell people to wake up and go for something much better and oh so much cheaper!

Don't let yourself be fooled by their catchphrase, the awards (which seem to belong to a now long gone era) and the amount of people inside (of which you will find very few Chinese people, if any -never a good sign for a Chinese restaurant!-). I really don't understand how they managed to get such a good reputation!

So, yes, just do like the 2 billion people: be right about it, and stay clear of this place.

20. Keburg9 Feb 2012, 8:11pm1 star Chop Chop Report

Having just been to the original Chop Chop, I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth. To start with, the service was well below average but 10% service was still added to our bill. We had heard good things about the dumplings but they are massively inferior in comparison to Imperial Palace and so much more expensive. The squid dish was oily and the squid itself was overcooked. The aubergine was again oily and we received 4 strips of aubergine for £3.20. Nobody checked back on us to see if our food was ok and two of our prawn dumplings were just casing and no prawn filling but we couldn't get anybody's attention to get them changed. The food would have only been tolerable if it had been cheap. It was clearly food that had just been reheated for speed of service. We certainly won't be back again

19. E.D.31 Jul 2011, 6:42am Report

Last Saturday we went to this place because of its reputation, but we soon found we were led away going there.We choose their specialty - dumplings. To our disappointment , their dumplings were horrendous - the fillings in the dumplings were tasteless and the skins were like rubber . The other two dishes we ordered were Lamb and beef. They were really disgusting. Rubbish! We both said it was the worst Chinese food we have had. We will never go back.

18. jane Watt16 Jul 2011, 1:50pm Report

I like Chinese food very much because I have been in China for many years. Last night I went to Chop Chop with my friend for we'd seen it on Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurants. To our disappointment, their dumplings are simply horrendous and absolutely nothing like dumplings I had in China - no flavour at all and the skins were like rubber.The taste of other two dishes we ordered is awful - aubergin with garlic and lambin cumm .I am sorry to say this is the worst Chinese food we have had.

17. Chop for the chop19 Apr 2011, 2:46pm2 stars Chop Chop Report

WOW.... What a disappointment!

My Fiance and I were excited to go as we'd seen it on Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurants.

We knew not to expect much from the decor but thought the service and food would speak for itself.

Unsure of what to order we opted for the banquet as from experience this is where any restaurant would showcase their dishes.

This included two types of dumpling, which is supposed to be a specialty here, we both agreed you can get better from M&S. No flavour and below average.

Mains consisted of a veg course and two meat, we requested to change the veg for something else, which the waitress was not accomodating with at all, she told us what we would eat instead of asking what we wanted.

We ended up with two types of beef dish and a lamb, two of them had no veg or garnish and very basic, we could have made this ourselves for free. No wow factor at all!!!

The sad thing is the only half decent thing we had was a side salad of cucumber and carrot the only thing we re-ordered.

16. CP23 Feb 2011, 4:51pm4 stars Chop Chop Report

We ate here last night and the food met and exceeded my expectations. We enjoyed one of their unlimited banquet for 4, with a delicious and varied selection of dishes served as they were cooked. Unlike the previous post, we thought the dumplings were delicious. Of the other dishes I particularly enjoyed the lamb with cumin and aubergines with garlic. The service was good with very helpful staff, my only complaints would be the tired and unimaginative decor, and the 10% service charge automatically added on to the bill (for a small party this felt cheeky but we were happy to pay as the food was so good). Having ordered extra dishes that we struggled to eat, we took away a takeaway box of leftovers - yum!

15. Chris Radley13 Nov 2010, 8:07pm1 star Chop Chop Report

My wife and I were interested in trying this restaurant after reading about Ramsay's endorsement but if he's endorsing this as a favourite local restaurant then he knows absolutely nothing about Chinese food.

We ordered two plates of boiled dumplings and one fried and they were simply horrendous. One plate of dumplings was so bad my wife took one bite and spat the rest out.

Their dumplings are simply horrendous and absolutely nothing like dumplings one can get in China. How do I know? I've spent time travellnig around China and my wife is a Taiwanese chef. She's eaten dumplings in Hong Kong and I've eaten dumplings in Shanghai and Taipei and Chop Chop isn't a fraction as good. The fillings we had in our dumplings were tasteless, the skins were like rubber boots and the portions incredibly small.

Good tasty dumplings are so easy to make (even I can make good dumplings thanks to my wife) so I can't understand how these are so poor.

14. chazzyb3112 Jul 2010, 2:40pm4 stars Chop Chop Report

I visited Chop Chop in Morrison Street in June 2010 with a friend and we found it to be very different from your run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurants. We had been pre-warned not to expect the usual type of fare offered by Chinese restaurants and given a few pointers on which dishes to try.

The dim sum was fabulous - no complaints whatsoever. My friend and I consumed them with gusto and were suprised when our main course was delivered before we were even finished them.

We chose the chicken with peanuts and pork with coriander and ginger for our main courses, with boiled rice as an accompaniment. I thought the chicken was rather bland and would have benefited from more of the spring onion that the menu stated it was cooked with. That or some garlic would really have lifted the dish. However, it grew on me as I ate it. The pork was absolutely marvellous, bursting with flavour and I would definitely recommend it.

My friend and I toyed with the idea of dessert, but decided not to as we were full to bursting. Our tummies were well satisfied at the end of our meal and we talked about returning soon to try more of the dishes.

While the decor is far from traditional (more cantina than canton) and the noise from patrons and kitchen staff was enough to deafen, it was still an enjoyable experience and the food was very good. You couldn't fault the service, which was speediness itself and the staff were very happy to assist first-timers who needed some guidance.

Another point to mention is their reward scheme, which new patrons are encouraged to sign up to and customers are given points for every pound they spend. The membership card takes a while to arrive (around 4 weeks), but the whole family can use the card and for every £250 you spend you get vouchers to use in the restaurant.

I have also bought their dim sum, available from Sainsbury's, and it is every bit as good as that served in the restaurant.

13. C C6 Mar 2010, 3:59pm1 star Chop Chop Report

If you like chinese food ,that is OK . but not for me .sorry

12. Barry Scott2 Nov 2009, 12:41pm2 stars Chop Chop Report

It's interesting to see how this place has changed over the last few years. When chop chop first opened it was a little shabby but with superb, authentic food. We used to visit all the time and the owner would talk to us about his desire to keep everything as it would be in northern china. The dumplings are still great but the price of the other dishes seems to have shot up, just as the portion size, quality and authenticity has plummeted.
A real shame.

11. M19 Oct 2009, 12:51pm5 stars Chop Chop Report

Quite simply this is fantastic, authentic Chinese food and great value for money.

The service and surroundings are themselves pretty authentic too, with more dishes being served as and when they are ready, which adds to the experience and makes sharing dishes more relaxed and paced.

10. FraserC25 Aug 2009, 11:45am5 stars Chop Chop Report

Quite simply the best Chinese food i have had outside of Hongkong. in fact, better than HongKong. Lovely food, lovely people. If anything the unassuming decor adds to the place.

9. Derek&Wendy9 Apr 2009, 11:01pm5 stars Chop Chop Report

Excellent food wish we had found the Chop Chop sooner but glad we have found it now

8. Shawn18 Feb 2009, 2:55pm4 stars Chop Chop Report

I was treated to a meal here last July for my birthday, by a friend who lived in China for a year, so I valued her opinion that the food was good. And it really was, so much to choose from too, if only i'd had room to try a few more things. Yes, the place could do with a bit of an update in the decor department, but the staff are great, and i've been buying their dumplings (sold at Sainsburys) ever since.

7. Big-Yin2 Feb 2009, 4:51pm4 stars Chop Chop Report

Great food. Just the right sized portions and a good mix of different offerings to mix and match. I recommend the peanut and mustard noodles!

6. Nina24 Dec 2008, 3:56pm3 stars Chop Chop Report

The food was good. The dimsums were tasty. The service was good too with a lot of advice on dishes on offer which I found very helpful. The venue lacks atmosphere though and feels more like a canteen than a restaurant which is a shame.

5. Hackel7 Dec 2008, 11:27pm2 stars Chop Chop Report

The dumplings were quite good, which you might say is their specialty, however the Northern Fried Lamb was really disgusting. Chewy meat with an awful breading in a nearly congealed sauce. Also, this restaurant raised its prices instead of passing the 2.5% VAT rebate on to its customers. Also NO discount for take-away, and no delivery. Rubbish, I say. I won't be going back.

4. Richard K10 Jul 2008, 9:46pm Report

Sorry Roman didn't like it; I'd vote it the best Chinese food I've ever eaten in Britain. I came away each time wishing I could find space for just one dish more. Excellent service too.

3. Roman9 Jul 2008, 4:14pm Report

Not to my taste! In fact it's the most unpalatable Chinese food I have ever tasted and I've travelled all over the world!

2. jimjamjem1 Jul 2008, 5:26pm Report

So good to see a Chinese restaurant doing something different. Great if there's a few of you so you can try as much from the menu as possible.

1. R Dineen15 May 2008, 10:54am Report

Chop Chop is a great place to go to experience authentic chinese food at a great price.

Great menu with lots of options and i always want to have just that little bit more.

The service can be a little haphazard but in some strange way this can add to the experience (if you are not in a rush).

However, the restaurant itself can become very busy so book if you can.

Just a point to Mr King... it has been open long enough now for the decor to be smartened up and the loos need a more professional paint job. This does pull down from the experience as it makes the loos look unclean (which they are not).

Get the paint brush out.

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Average rating 3/5 from 15 reviews of Chop Chop.

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