How common are minimalist Chinese Take-aways in London (UK)

Here in New York (US), we have a lot of small, minimalist Chinese take-out places - generally a single store front (not very wide - 4.5 - 6m, ~ 15-20 ft), a small ‘dining area’ (more of a waiting area) consisting of 2-4 tables in front of the order counter (which stretches across the width of the store, with a small accessway to one side), and then the kitchen (open to view) behind the counter. Decoration is sparse, but usually there is a big back-lit menu panel w/ images of various dishes - always including the famous General Tsao’s Chicken - above the order counter, usually running the width of the store. These design elements are common in dozens of take-outs I have personally visited across the tri-state NY area (IIRC 30-40 of them), and seem to be the same in 100s I have past-by over the years (for example there are 3 such places within easy walking distance of where I live - these places are very common). Nothing fancy, it’s a take-out after all and few people eat there.

OTOH, there are very few Indian take-outs like that - there may be some in Manhattan (and you’d think in places like Hicksville or Jackson Heights, but I haven’t found them yet), but generally we have Indian Restaurants and Buffets - minimalist Indian take-outs seem pretty uncommon.

Now, I understand that in London (UK) there are lots of Indian take-aways, and apparently they are sparsely furnished like NY chinese take-outs (if we can trust Top Gear :stuck_out_tongue: ), but does London (and heck, the rest of the UK) have similar number of minimalist Chinese take-aways, or are they uncommon (a google search shows that there seems to be a few, including two ‘China Bowl’ stores, but I am uncertain how minimalist that one is - BTW, ‘China Bowl’ could well be a name of a NY take-out, which do tend to use words like ‘China’, ‘Panda’, ‘Wok’, ‘Garden’ or ‘Dragon’ in their names…

Yep, lots. This one is my local (it’s a lot less grim than it looks, and the building works next door finished years ago).

If something is called a take away then it won’t have a dining area at all, and frequently they’re not furnished much. My local chinese doesn’t have the kitchen on view, has a small counter and one table to sit at whilst your order is made. The decorations are limited to a couple of pictures on the wall, a waving cat statue and a little display of the soft drinks you can buy there.

If there’s seating it’s a chinese restaurant, although pretty much all chinese restaurants will have a take away option too.

My memory from living in the U.K. is that Chinese restaurants with little or no seating (and hence doing all or a least nearly all of their business as take-out orders) are more common as a proportion of all Chinese restaurants than in the U.S. Note that I am not talking about the absolute number of Chinese restaurants in the U.S. and the U.K. I am also not talking about the number of Chinese restaurants per capita in the two countries. I’m saying that this proportion:

(Chinese restaurants in the U.K. with little or no seating)/(Chinese restaurants in the U.K.)

is greater than this proportion:

(Chinese restaurants in the U.S. with little or no seating)/(Chinese restaurants in the U.S.)

My memory from living in the U.K. is that while there were a lot of Indian restaurants with little or no seating, there were considerably more Indian restaurants with a lot of seating. There are more Indian takeaway restaurants in the U.K. per capita than in the U.S., but that’s because there are a lot more Indian restaurants in the U.K. per capita than in the U.S.

For an excellent look at the worldwide phenomenon of tiny Chinese restaurants, I highly recommend The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, by Jennifer 8. Lee. I bought it on a whim and ended up really liking it.

Wendell Wagner is quite correct, and the ‘chinese takeaway’ style outlet has long been the default for eating chinese food in the UK (although we have chinese restaurants as well, obviously). Indian outlets are much more likely to be full restaurants with take away as an option, although the take away only outlets do exist (and are frequently a bit crappy in comparison).

Ah, it is as I had feared - not only do you UKians have lots of Chinese take-aways like us (New Yorkers) do, but you also have a decent number of Indian take-aways, which we definitely don’t (we have some Indian Restaurants which offer take-out service, but not many, and in fact Indian restaurants are somewhat uncommon in many area).
Once again, you have surpassed our efforts in this field, leaving us Americans (or at least New Yorkers) behind.

This is a bit different - of the 30 or so Chinese take-outs I’ve been to, even the ones in Manhattan, there is 2 - 3 small tables in the area between the front door and the counter where you can sit, either to wait for your food or to eat it. I remember only one place that didn’t have such seating, and that was in Los Angeles (CA). Since I have not personally visited every one of the 100s of take-outs in the NY area I cannot vouch that some don’t have such seating, but the polling sample looks solid so far. Also, all kitchens were visible by the customer, so you could watch the cooks working if you were bored.

Thanks for the info, all.

But they don’t have taquerías.

Oh wait, you’re in New York. You don’t either.

Uh… hate to break it to you, but we do. Next?

This is like you telling me that there aren’t any Chinese takeaways in my town, and me linking you to a restaurant called Chinese Takeaway.

Oh, and I looked at the pictures of that restaurant. It is an actual restaurant. It’s well-lit, and has tables! It takes bookings! It has free-range eggs! I’m sure it’s a nice restaurant (well, actually, no I’m not, I’ve had Mexican food in Europe), but it is not a taquería, I don’t care what its name is. And holy shit, 9 pounds for an enchilada? :eek:

True that, it is in west London after all. Sadly the actual taquerías round me (south London, where the real people live) aren’t the kind of places that have websites! I was just using it as a quick (first Google result) example of the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name any kind of restaurant/food outlet we don’t have here. I have no idea whether that one’s a nice restaurant or not, I’ve never been there, but I can tell you that we have some extremely good Mexican food, and I don’t really see why you would generalise so rudely that we (speaking for my European brethren) wouldn’t. What, you think all the immigrants go north?

Wait, so you’re fond of all the Chinese takeouts we have? :dubious:

I mean, they have their place as quick eats, I guess, but I feel like they’re way overrepresented. It’s done terrible things to the reputation of Chinese food, IMHO (I would even stretch that to include the reputation of Chinese people overall, but that’s another thread altogether).

Re: taquerias in London/NY. I’m in NYC, and I’ll admit we don’t have many great ones, despite our tendency to say we have the best restaurants of every cuisine ever.

The only other noteworthy difference is that, except for a couple of takeaways in the tourist areas that are aping American styles, our Chinese takeaways don’t come in cardboard tubs that you eat straight out of: they come in foil containers and are mostly intended to be decanted onto a plate at home or at a nearby pub.

Also, our spring rolls or pancake rolls are the same as your egg rolls. It took me years to realise that this completely unfamiliar-sounding food was the same as the one I’ve had every couple of weeks most of my life.

If a taqueria is basically a Mexican takeaway, we have a fair few in London (I stopped in one in Clerkenwell today), but I shouldn’t think they’re anywhere near as commonplace as in the US.