Chinese restaurants started out as simple cafes serving Chinese seafarers in British ports. But there were early upmarket Chinese restaurants too.
The Asiatic in London’s West End was opened by former Chinese Embassy staff who were made redundant when the Communists came to power in 1949. It served Chinese delicacies with fine French wines to a clientele which included Ava Gardner. And in 1963 when Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon were snapped by the paparazzi in a new Chinese restaurant that served the first Peking Duck, its success was guaranteed - as cookery writer Deh-Ta Hsiungdescribes. But outside London tastes took a while to catch up.
Rosa Fong recalls the “Chinglish” food her parents had to serve to win over British palates in New Brighton in the 1960s.
Oriental food emporium founder W.Wing Yip recalls how English diners would stand outside his restaurant in Ipswich and laugh at the very idea of sweet and sour pork. Gradually even they got accustomed to it - as long as it was served with chips.
What a great episode and series. Despite such diverse contributions to British culture, the Chinese have been an "invisible" minority in terms of the media far too long. It would be terrific to have a programme on the current Chinese in Britain to break all those stereotypes that persist. My own children are still getting those silly questions I used to get. Well done to the producers and contributors. Kelley Lee
An interesting take on how food has been an important vehicle for Chinese integration within, and contribution to, British society and culture. Chinese in Britain has been a superb series: informative, extremely well researched, excellent use of oral testimony, and engagingly presented by Anna Chen. Congratulations Culture Wise! Lisa Dickens
An affectionate look at Chinese catering which brought back fond memories of growing up in Britain in a family Chinese restaurant. Thanks! Jonathan Man