Authentic Chinese Food Without the Airline Ticket – The Five Best Places in Christchurch

Xiaojing Wu

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 If you don’t want to fly twelvehours to China for an authentic bite of Chinese food over the weekend, some places in Christchurch may be a good alternative, all within a 20 minute drive.

Christchurch is a multicultural cityand you can find many ethnic restaurants in town. Chinese cuisine has a long history and varies in different regions.The growing number of Chinese immigrants has made their food here even more authentic today.

This article will introduce you to five restaurants in Christchurch that can give you an authentic bite of the several different Chinese cuisines.

  1. Madam Kwong / 美食轩
Dim sum plates at Madam Kwong

You don’t need to fly all the way to Hong Kong for great dim sum. Christchurch’s biggest Cantonese restaurant, Madam Kwong, has a wide variety of dim sum and they are the best Cantonese dim sum in town!

Dim sum are often in small dishes and there is usually a variety. A typical dish could be about four steamed shrimp dumplings or three small steamed buns on a plate. Each plate costs just $3 to $4.

You can fill your stomach with a small bite of everything. The waiters put these small dishes in hot trolleys and you can pick whatever looks appealing.

Dim sum in China is also called ‘morning tea’. Traditionally, businessmen gather in the tea house in the morning to have a cup of tea and discuss business. Dim sum was just the side food along with the tea. Nowadays, with the development of culinary culture, this side food has expanded in variety and has become a commonly featured dish, a favourite of many people.

If you would like a nice chat in the morning with your friend, along with some nice teas and small dishes, Madam Kwong is the best place to go.

  1. Dragon House / 龙顶轩
Hot pot and some common foods that come with hot pot meals


Dragon House is a hot pot restaurant. Hot pot is a Chinese cooking and dining method where you make a pot of meat soup with different spices and put it in the center of the table.

The soup has usually been slowly stewing for hours or days. To serve, you prepare thinly-cut raw food in dishes and put them around the pot.  You then sit down with friends or family around the table and use chopsticks to dip the food in the boiling soup for a few seconds. Then it is ready to eat!

These pots are usually spicy and hot but also have rich flavors that are amazing in the mouth! Dragon House’s soup always has a mellow smell as all the cooking ingredients and spices are sent from China to provide that authentic taste.

Chinese hot pot is also an important part of Chinese culture as it is usually experienced together. The atmosphere of gathering family and friends is the fundamental objective.

If you are ready for a spicy and hot meal, and maybe a family affair, then Dragon House is worth trying!

  1. Benson / 统一
Some classic dishes at Benson restaurant

With a great location in Riccarton mall, Benson is probably the most popular Chinese restaurant in Christchurch.

Benson’s dishes are typical traditional Chinese dishes and go well with white rice. They combine several major Chinese cuisines making it therefore suitable for people who like to try the different kinds of Chinese dishes.

You can select from cold, hot, spicy, or non-spicy, and all kinds of meats and vegetables in different cooking styles.

The downside to Benson is their prices are higher than other Chinese restaurants as they always emphasize their quality in food and service.

If you want a nice rice meal with traditional Chinese flavours, and don’t mind spending a bit more, Benson will not fail you.

  1. Little Taipei / 小台北
The first two photos – Decoration at Little Taipei / Third photo – The bubble tea is a featured product at Little Taipei

As the restaurant’s name has shown, Little Taipei is a Taiwanese restaurant full of cultural flavour and style, from their dishes to the restaurant’s decoration. This Taiwanese owned restaurant can give you the most authentic taste of Taiwan, right here in Christchurch.

This cuisine is usually sweet and different from other mainland Chinese cuisines. The braised chicken, seafood, and soup are cooked with different cooking methods and taste quite different from traditional mainland Chinese restaurants such as Benson.

If you don’t like spicy and hot or prefer sweet dishes, then Little Taipei can give you a new taste and experience in Chinese food!

Their desserts are their featured products so don’t forget to take a look at their dessert menu. As it is invented in Taiwan the bubble tea is a must try!

  1. Love Shanghai / 爱上海
Steamed soup dumplings, soybean milk, and fried dough sticks at Love Shanghai restaurant

Love Shanghai’s menu is simple and offers the Shanghai style breakfast.

The traditional Shanghai breakfast includes fried dough sticks, steamed sticky rice dumplings, and steamed soup dumplings (drinkable soup inside the dumplings) that perfectly go with soybean milk or tofu jelly soup. One tea egg also ensures that you get your animal protein intake.

At Love Shanghai, a nutritious breakfast is ready to go and everything here is homemade.

A Shanghai style breakfast is very popular throughout China nowadays, especially in busy cities such as Shanghai itself, as it is so quick and nutritious.

Love Shanghai is open all day from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, so if you want to experience a Shanghai Style breakfast at night, it is not too late!