Chung Ying - Vegetarian Chinese Food in Birmingham

King Prawns in Salt and Chilli

Chinese restaurant in Central Birmingham

Chung Ying Central is a stylish Chinese restaurant specialising in cocktails and Dim Sum. They are located on Colmore Row, Birmingham and are part of the Chung Ying Group who have two other reputable restaurants around the city. Chinese culture and food is something I have loved for some time now, hence my visit to Chengdu, China last year. So I was chuffed to have been invited to their 'Blogger Bites' event hosted by East Village PR.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a Shanghai Rose cocktail, which was beautifully presented with floating roses. The cocktail consisted of vodka, lychee liqueur and rose syrup. The cocktail was gorgeous and throughout the evening I had three top ups, it was enjoyable to drink, so I wasn't surprised when the lovely hosts told us it's one of their best sellers. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive and the vast amount of food to get served, we tucked into prawn crackers with sweet chilli dip accompanied with a Chang beer. So I've never been a fan of beer, but I was intrigued to see what an Asian beer would taste like. However, I was pleasantly surprised, it was full of flavour, with a subtle fruit taste and aroma, the golden brew was easy-to-drink considering I'm not a beer drinker. 

First to get dished out was the Vegetarian Ma Por Tofu. Having only recently this year turned Vegetarian, I've never had the chance to try out Tofu, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. As a first timer, I wasn't quite struck on the soft silken tofu texture. However, I did eat the vast majority of it because of the delicious salty rich sauce. The sauce was certainly a winner at the Vegetarian table. As Tofu is very new to me, the consistency is something I believe I will grow to enjoy over time.

The next dish was Vegetarian Pei Par Tofu. The tofu was fried in batter so therefore was a greater introduction to tofu, to help ease my way into this popular Asian cooking staple. The authentic dish was less about the silky tofu consistency and more about the scrumptious crispy batter. Therefore, the Pei Par Tofu dish was definitely my favourite out of the two, the vegetables were also lovely.

So next up was my favourite of all dishes, and is why it's made top position on this post. King Prawns in Salt and Chilli. I've been craving this meal ever since I took my first bite of those juicy king prawns, surrounded by crispy batter and a fiery chilli seasoning. This dish was amazing, I managed to demolish all but two prawns. At this point, I was so overwhelmed by the generosity and incredible amount of food the Chung Ying restaurant had put on for us. So I had to stop myself eating those last prawns, to be able to squeeze in the food that was coming up next.

Vegetarian spring rolls and fried rice is something I enjoy occasionally at home and is what I ate a lot of when I was travelling around China last July. So they were a welcoming side dish. 

As a self-confessed chocoholic, I managed to work my way through the selection of heavenly desserts, bearing in mind I was so full at this point and had a full on food baby going on. When I was in China, the team I was with went crazy for steamed buns. But because they were very meaty I never tried them. So getting to finally try out a steamed bun but for a dessert was great, the centre consisted of an egg yolk and had a lovely caramel flavour. The bun was made to perfection.

For someone who is trying to cut back on chocolate, being presented with a pretty plate full of strawberries, whipped cream, triple chocolate brownies and salted caramel brownies were a nightmare. I refrained myself from grabbing the plate and sitting in a corner stuffing my face along with the Shanghai Rose cocktail. To my disappointment I allowed myself one of each brownie, walking away from the leftover plate of brownies was tough but I did it. Obviously the brownies were magical, Chung Ying gets them made especially for the restaurant, from a secret bakery. 

And finally the wonderful evening full of delicious food and fantastic company ended with a pan fried water chestnut paste dessert and a Changyu Golden Diamond Vidal Ice Wine. The pan fried chestnut had a jelly-like consistency, with crunchy bits and a lovely refreshing flavour perfectly suited to cleanse the palette and the Chinese Ice dessert wine was fragrant and sweet.

Chung Ying is a fantastic Chinese restaurant in the city and comes highly recommended. I'm already looking forward to visiting again to get my King Prawns in Salt and Chilli fix. There are plenty of meat, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and diary-free options. You can check out more photos of the food including the meat menu in a video I made here. I would like to thank Chung Ying for their fabulous hospitality and educating us all in Chinese cuisine. I would also like to thank East Village PR for inviting me to another great event.

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Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary invite to a blogger event. All photos and words are honest and my own.