Chinese Restaurants

The first major opportunity Londoners in general had to experience Chinese food was as part of the Health Exhibition at South Kensington in 1884.

A Chinese restaurant and tea-house was set up with cooks, ingredients and even shop fronts imported directly from China.  Although mocked in the press, it proved to be one of the most popular attractions of the exhibition.

Chinese Restaurant, 1911

Chinese Restaurant, 1911

Old Friends Resturant

Old Friends Resturant

 

A permanent restaurant intended primarily for Westerners opened in Piccadilly in 1908 and was still going into the 1920s. At that time there was still a lot of prejudice, but British soldiers encountering Chinese cooking in the Far East during the Second War created a demand back home.

Salmon Lane Site of Good Friends Restuarant

Salmon Lane Site of Good Friends Restuarant

Good Friends Chinese Restaurant in Salmon Lane was opened in the late 60s by entrepreneur Charlie Cheung. Good Friends was world renowned in its day and had a customer base that included the likes of Sean Connery, Barbara Streisand, Groucho Marx and many more.  It was part of a Friends chain which included at various stages, Old Friends , New Friends also in Salmon Lane and City Friends. He also opened Local Friends in Salmon Lane which is known to be the first takeaway in the UK and is still there today.