Which is Better: British vs American Chinese Food?

British people are just as obsessed with Chinese food as Americans are. From takeaways, to late night deliveries, to Chinese restaurants on every other street corner, the Brits love their noodles.

The thing is, they can’t decide which kind of Chinese food is better – American or British.

Chinese cuisine in the UK has a rich history. Cantonese cooking became popular in Britain after WWII when many refugees from Hong Kong opened up restaurants and takeaway centers across the country.

Meanwhile, Americanized Chinese food was introduced by an influx of immigrants from China and Taiwan during the 1990s and 2000s. So what do you prefer: American or British?

British-Chinese Food

British Chinese food is much different than American Chinese food. For one thing, the dishes are sweeter when compared to their American counterparts.

The sauces in many British dishes are made with soy sauce for a richer, fuller taste. There are also more vegetables in British Chinese dishes to make them healthier.

American-Chinese Food

Americanized Chinese food is more popular in the UK than British-Chinese food. The UK’s love affair with American-Chinese food may have to do with the fact that it is much easier to find than Cantonese restaurants. It’s also more popular among UK-born Asians who are more likely to have grown up eating this style of cooking.

People who prefer American-style Chinese cuisine say that it tastes fresher and brighter than British-Chinese food, which they describe as being too oily, heavy, and salty.

Furthermore, there are so many dishes to choose from when dining at an American restaurant or takeout joint . If you don’t know what you want, you can sample a variety of dishes before committing to one.

The Differences in Chinese Food

Chinese food in America takes a more Western approach to Chinese cuisine. The dishes are heavily influenced by the menu items of nearby countries, like Mexico and France, and there’s a heavy emphasis on American-style meats like chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.

Meanwhile, British Chinese food is Cantonese style which focuses on noodles and rice rather than meat. In addition to these differences, the portions sizes of American Chinese food are bigger than British Chinese food.

In terms of preference between American or British Chinese food, it all depends on your taste buds. Some people prefer the high energy level of Americanized foods while others might prefer the subtle flavors that come from Cantonese cuisine. No matter what you choose, you can still thank an immigrant for introducing their culture into our lives!

Ingredients: A Tale of Two Cuisines

You might be wondering how American and British Chinese food can differ, but they actually have a lot in common. Both types of cuisine use soy sauce, ginger, garlic and onions as key ingredients. The most distinctive difference is the type of noodles used.

Chinese restaurants in Britain traditionally serve wheat noodles like chow mein and Singapore noodles whereas American-style Chinese restaurants use rice noodles or lo mein. Another substantial difference is that sweet and sour chicken is more popular in America than it is in the UK.

The differences between British and American Chinese foods aren’t as stark as you might think at first glance. There are some small variations like the type of dishes served with different types of noodles, but for the most part both cuisines are very similar to one another. So which would you prefer?

Costs and Availability

American Chinese food is often cheaper than British Chinese food. A meal at a typical British takeaway will set you back between £6 and £8, whereas the same meal from an American restaurant would cost between $13 and $14. However, because there are more Chinese restaurants in Britain than America, American cuisine is usually easier to find.


When it comes to Chinese food, the argument of which cuisine is better has been going on for decades. We can’t definitively answer this question, but we can say that both the British and American versions of Chinese cuisine have a lot to offer.