Lunch time will never be the same.
Every day, for the last 8 years queues of people line up outside of a modest shop with an olde-worlde facade. There’s two reasons why they’re queuing up; the food and because the shop only fits about 4 people in. The culinary Korean and Japanese delights leaving the kitchen are cooked by Mr and Mrs Lee. There is no typical takeaway at Chop Chop, it’s a place where complicated food is prepared with great ease. They take your tastebuds on a tour of the best of the far-east, no, not St. Helens, much further than that. It is bittersweet that we do this write up because we’re conflicted. Half of us wants to keep Chop Chop a secret within the circle it is already known but half of us wants to scream and shout from the rooftops to dive face first into the ramen soup and today, that is the half that won.
Their clientele range from locals to tourists who are all searching for the same thing; a quick and healthy authentic Korean lunch. There might be a little language barrier between you and Mrs Lee but smiling is universal and their food speaks for itself. There’s no element of pretension here whatsoever, instead the aesthetics reflect the democratising leveller that is Asian food. The menu is a mouth-watering cavalcade of fusion flavours where sauce glistens and quality shines. We went for the popular “Mega Chicken” and “Red Tofu”, after carefully considering some 50 items on the menu. This is the kind of place you can guarantee a good meal no matter what you order. Every regular has a favourite dish, one they hold close to both their heart and mouth. Go find yours.
The Mega Chicken was incredible. The crispy coating went beautifully well with the soft and succulent meat inside. We’d do anything for the recipe of the “homemade mega sauce” that was drizzled on top of the chicken and finally soaked up into the fluffy rice. We have a feeling we might not be getting it any time soon but we remain hopeful. The Red Tofu was silky smooth. Tofu can be incredibly temperamental and tricky to cook with, but this was cooked to perfection. The red sauce was sweet and spicy and saturated the tofu. Not in an over-bearing way but in a warming way. The ramen is incredible value for money and has promises more kick than a Bruce Lee film. An absolute must for the winter months ahead that warms you from the inside out. Katsu fans, you’re in for a treat. There’s a certain zing in the spice that makes us very happy to be alive and gets us excited about food.
The food and drink scene is changing in Liverpool. No longer are we buying the “one size fits all” approach. We’re becoming increasingly attracted to the tailored, the more intimate and the beauty that comes alongside simplicity. Secret is a word thrown around with reckless abandon. Each bar or restaurant that comes out seems to have some element of elusiveness. Whether it be the entrance, what it actually does or the location itself. Often these places aren’t short of a few quid and have the marketing power to go with it. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just makes Chop Chop all the more special. Whilst we spend our days searching for new venues and revisiting old favourites, Chop Chop is a reminder in the middle of the road that we are yet to have seen all Liverpool has to offer. A beautiful notion that will change lunch times forever.
Address: 52 Fenwick St, City Centre, Liverpool L2 7ND