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Little Yang Sing

Lynda Moyo decides everyone needs a Little Yang Sing

Written by . Published on August 23rd 2007.

Little Yang Sing

When asked to go and review the Little Yang Sing I wondered why I'd never eaten there before. After all it does have a good reputation on the Manchester food and drink scene for authenticity.

I even went so far as to slurp the soy sauce with finely chopped garlic and a bit of ginger and spring onion from the empty shells like a Little Yang Sing fiend

Low and behold on entering the restaurant, it may as well have been Friday night pub grub in the Dog and Duck as the only faces from the Far East were sported by the staff and my Chinese companion Dom. That aside it did seem like the real deal. The outside doesn’t prepare you for the banqueting arena that awaits inside. Mini Shanghai, red and gold decorative dragons, inviting cubby holes and staff in elaborate outfits ready, waiting to be at your beck and call. So far, everything you could ask for in terms of appearance and service. Little Yang Sing captures the essence of the opulent Orient like few others.

Dom had been raving about soft shell crab for months. I wasn’t convinced. Crab meat, yes but claws and all? I think not. Nevertheless we ordered salt and pepper soft shell crab (£3.95) and the seemingly safer seafood option of steamed fresh scallop in the shell (£3). The crabs arrived looking like deep fried tarantulas. In fact, the spidery appearance was so off-putting that I had to close my eyes and think of Charlotte’s Web before taking an apprehensive bite. Rest assured, this is one of the best starters I’ve ever had.

Once over the initial fright, even the most arachnophobic among us would love them. None of this fiddling about with shell and meat. You can scoff the lot. A mind boggling blend of crunchy casing and soft crab meat garnished with a web of fresh chillis and garlic. The scallops came presented like sea pearls in shell cases. Buttery flavoured and firmly textured we felt like we could carry on eating these satisfying little morsels all night. I even went so far as to slurp the soy sauce with finely chopped garlic and a bit of ginger and spring onion from the empty shells like a Little Yang Sing fiend as Dom looked on, horrified. Very lady-like.

For main course, Dom had the stew oyster in Chinese wine with ginger and spring onions in a clay pot (£13.50): I chose the seafood treasure with whole garlic in a casserole (£13.50). They both looked similar, presented in authentic clay pots straight off the potters wheel. However, the seafood treasure was the clear winner. A melting pot of king prawns, fresh scallop and monk fish. We’re both big fans of oysters normally but the stew was unfortunately over powered with ginger. Both dishes were accompanied by Chinese broccoli (£8.00), better known as Gai Lan, which comes in oyster sauce, soy sauce and shallots. Looking like a cross between asparagus and broccoli, it’s crunchy, bittersweet flavour is perfect with Chinese dishes. As with the traditional meat and two veg meals in English cooking, Chinese meals also benefit from a few green side dishes and notably Little Yang Sing offers Choi Sum (Chinese greens), Pak Choi (Chinese vegetables) and my personal favourite Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli). Try them.

We rarely consider desserts at a Chinese restaurant because a) they’re not normally very exciting and b) we’re normally full to bursting. However temptation for the secret of chrysanthemum (£4.95) was too hard to resist. It’s true that journalists are nosey so anything with the word ‘secret’ in and I’m sold. We also chose the deep fried ice cream (£4.50). The moral to that story is don’t judge a desert by its fancy name. The much more chavvy deep fried ice cream is the ultimate desert and makes for inquisitive over dinner conversations of ‘seriously, how the hell do they deep fry ice cream?’ Whatever the answer, the results were impeccable. Creamy vanilla ice cream in a crispy coated syrup shell. The Secret of Chrysanthemum consisted of vanilla ice cream in a pastry crust with decorative gouji berries in angelica crystal leaf casing. Certainly more unusual and according to the menu ‘a truly regal dessert’, but not half as tasty as its deep fried rival.

Little Yang Sing prices are on the top side in comparison to others in Chinatown. However, you aren’t just paying for the food: you’re paying for the whole experience. This isn’t the buffet atmosphere of others. The exceptional service means you can relax and enjoy the Asian dining experience without being rushed. It also has to be mentioned that Little Yang Sing is completely pro-vegetarian with over 50 vegetarian dishes alone. For anyone who enjoys a total Chinese cuisine experience, this is a Little Yang Sing with big offerings.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 7/10 Food
4.5/5 Service
3.5/5 Ambience
Address: Little Yang Sing
17 George Street China Town
0161 228 7722
Open: Mon-Thu noon-11.30pm,
Fri noon-midnight,
Sat noon-12.30am,
Sun noon-10.45pm

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

chris pAugust 23rd 2007.

i have a very bad experience in little yang sing last christmas, that was the first time and for sure the last time for me. during special occation like christmas, the restaurant is busy as hell, noisy, poor service, long waiting time for drinks and food, and uncomfortable generally not to mentioned about the price during christmas period.that's not all, i remember last time i booked a party for 38 person with deposit of 10pounds each, but at the end only 31 person shown up, i didnt mind they took the deposit for the 7 person who didnt shown up. but on top of that, the restaurant required us to pay for the food of those 7 person as well which's ridiculous. we're told they have prepared the food, but i think that's what the deposit for isnt it? i m not going back this time for sure.when i talked to my friends who visited little yang sing, they all said that they're blinded by the decoration at first which can be seen from the windows outside,that's why they walked in and tried. but then nothing really special but poor service from the staff.

JenniferAugust 23rd 2007.

It is a couple of years since 4 of us went to the Little Yang Sing because the service was appalling. We had not booked, so went on 'spec' at 7pm. The food, of good quality, was shoved at us, in fact, it was pushed on the table with such gusto that we had to rescue crockery just before it fell off at the other end. We left at 9.15pm as we were told they needed the table at 9pm, but there were plenty of free tables when we left.

Rita KirklandAugust 23rd 2007.

I would like to complain that a friend I went to the Little Yang Sing at lunch time on 14 August in order to avail ourselves of a special offer from Manchester Confidential only to find ourselves out of pocket by several pounds. I had scrutinised the voucher and could see neither glitches nor gremlins and so my friend and myself decided to try the restaurant on a day designated to be gremlin free. The terms and conditions read: 1. Offer valid from 9 August to 9 September 2007 Sundays to Wednesdays2. One voucher per reservation3. Minimum drinks’ spend must be £5 or over4. Subject to availability We sat down to order and in order that there should be no ambiguity I immediately presented the vouchers where I was told “they may not be valid at lunch times, people were only using them in the evenings”. A member of staff went away to enquire and came back saying no that was okay. We ordered the duck and our drinks and waited some time before a waiter came and asked us to order. We said we had already ordered the duck and drinks. He said that was only a starter and we also had to order a main meal, we then ordered what we thought were meals from the lunch time menu. On the arrival of the bill it amounted to almost £35.00 – way above the budget we had set ourselves which was free crispy duck and drinks costing over £5. My friend and I ended up spending £17.45 each - money neither of us could afford as I am a single mother and my friend’s husband is self-employed and presently out of work due to a car accident, caused by a reckless driver. It seems you can’t order from the lunch time menu when using the voucher and what we got were two full size meals and rice that seemed to cost a fortune and, I might say, only one quarter crispy duck between two, where the vouchers clearly state “Free quarter crispy duck with this voucher” – surely that means one each with two vouchers. Would you and the restaurants involving themselves in the special offers please ensure customers are made aware of the small print (which, by the way, doesn’t exist and appears to be made up as you go along)? This was a very distressing episode for both of us as we then had to question the staff regarding the make up of the bill in a room full of people dining. Nowhere in the terms above does it state you also have to purchase a main meal along with the crispy duck, only that you have to buy drinks amounting to £5 or over.

SteveAugust 23rd 2007.

Recently went for a celebration meal at Little Yang Sing with friends. Service was very poor, starters were Ok but Soup and main meals were poor, as was rection of staff when we complained. I won't be returning in a hurry

AndyAugust 23rd 2007.

Rita, Although the terms and conditions of the voucher do not specifically state that you have to order food when taking advantage of the free duck offer, the article relating to the offer itself does indicate that you get "free crispy duck when you DINE at the Little Yang Sing" therefore it is clear from that sentence that you must be dining ie ordering food if you want to use the voucher. Furthermore, paragraph 2 of the terms and conditions state that only one voucher will be accepted per reservation. Therefore if you and your friend made one reservation, you would only be entitled to use one voucher and not two. Finally, how the hell does that fact that your friend's husband being involved in a road traffic accident caused by an alleged reckless driver be pertinent to the matter in hand? If indeed the accident was not the fault of your friend's husband perhaps he should approach an ambulance chaser to get some compensation for his alleged injuries and when he is paid out, your friend and her husand maybe good enough to take you out for a meal on them. Actually thinking about it, I know of a great little basement Chinese restaurant on George Street where you could go. I hear they do great crispy duck...

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2007.

My friends and I absolutley adore the Little Yang Sing. We have been going for years and whenever our families and friends come to visit they go there too. We are usually there twice a month at least. I have never considered it to be too pricey as it is worth evry single penny, and that's not because I am rich but because for us its an experience worth paying for. If you want a cheap meal go to a buffet, plenty around, there are plenty of people in the City and further who love it as much as us!!

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2007.

Hi RitaI am sorry you had that experience at Little Yang Sing, and I can understand your pique. Despite what others have said here, I think you were quite right to expect to get what it said on the voucher and that was free crispy duck when you spend £5 on drinks. If the terms and conditions were otherwise then it should have been stated clearly on the voucher. You were treated in a shabby manner in my opinion.Apart from that, I have to say LYS is one of my favourite chinese restaurants, but I would be on my guard about special offers in the future if that is what happens when you take up the offer.

Craig MellorAugust 23rd 2007.

(rolling about laughing) Last of the big spenders there! £17.45 each? Are you serious? You expect to get free crispy duck with a glass of wine? (still laughing my b******s off). I hope you weren't interfering with your friends husband, it sounds like he is a bit poorly. Listen, there is a soup kitchen you can use up the top of Oldham street, you get free soup from the nice ladies from feed the homeless. I think you have to arrive after midnight though and your pals husband might need to home before then in case your pal catches on....

M30August 23rd 2007.

Craig Mellor, come on down, you have won the most snobbish post of the year award.

paulAugust 23rd 2007.

16 of us went LYS for xmas,was made to have the most expensive banquet menu... got 2 half of duck between 16,1 little bowl of rice with mean meals. And only manged to have 2drinks though out the meal the staff were that s**t. cost £45 each and they kicked us out as soon as the last spoon full went down. Wont be going back

NeilAugust 23rd 2007.

I've been a few times and found the food very good indeed. However, the last time we were there we were sat very close to a table full of noisy and obnoxious 40-somethings on a work do. Nothing that the staff could do about them but it really put us off our meal. Fuinny the things that you remember as since then we've never been back. This review though may get me thinking about booking again. Agree about the Chinese Broccoli...but I still think this is don best at the New Emperor across the road.

JohnthebriefAugust 23rd 2007.

Little Yang Sing has always been one of those OK restaurants that congregate round China Town.It is however a thousand times better than it's inexplicably more famous namesake, which unless you are either a corporate group or a reviewer, treats its customers like **** and overcharges them for seriously below par food.(Well it does say to rant...)

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2007.

what were you doing out with your friends husband? does your friend know )

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2007.

Last time we went to Little Yang Sing-the sizzling lamb, giner and spring onions came unsizzling (cold) with very little ginger -we returned the dish but it came back more or less the same. Rest of meal ok but they expected a tip on top of the 10% service charge!!

Mark HayesJune 24th 2011.

I recently attended a colleagues leaving party at this here, we had ordered several hundred pounds worth of food and drink but I was shocked when I asked for a tap water and refused. Initially I was told that it was a problem with the drains, this confused me as any problems with the drains should not affect the quality of the drinking water piped in. I was then handed over to another waitress who told me the water supply was contaminated and therefore for my health and safety it could not be served, this also added to my confusion. Surely if the tap water was contaminated the restaurant shouldn’t be open? How are they washing dishes, cooking food or making ice with contaminated water? Neither of these excuses sat well with me and eventually the manager came over, he explained that due to the pollutants in the water they were making sure the water was hot for washing the dishes etc. Again I was left confused; boiling water would not eradicate any pollutants but in fact concentrate them further. Eventually I was given a jug but only on the pretence that I drank it at my own risk. This morning I contacted United Utilities (who I used to work for so know people very well) and was informed that they were aware of no contamination to their water supply in Manchester city centre but they could not comment on the drains as this was not their area.

I really didn’t appreciate being lied to it is such as shame as the meal was so nice but left with such a bitter after taste.

tblzebraJune 30th 2011.

There WAS a problem with the water supply around that part of the city last week - there was work going on at the junction of Charlotte/Faulkner Street, close to Little Yang Sing.

The tap water in Piccadilly Plaza was tinged a brown colour, and we were told not to drink it without boiling it, until they'd finished the work, when it would run clear again.

AimeeSeptember 5th 2012.

LITTLE YANG SING.....Over rated, over priced and the food was awful. The service was terrible. I had read some positive reviews about the place, but now i don't trust the reviews (probably written by the owners). The experience was that bad, that my wife and i left half way through the meal. The starters were dry and did not taste fresh. The main course arrived, poorly presented (the food was all diced up and looked like vomit on a plate) it had processed chicken in it which didn't even have the taste or texture of chicken. The staff were very unhelpful and even had the nerve to try and add service charge. We paid for the less than average starters which we had eaten. We refused to pay for the main course. The quality of food was less than that of a third rate all you can eat buffet. I would rate this establishment as very poor. The food is 10 times better at TOPPS on oxford road...better value, better food and better atmosphere in comparison. GIVE THIS PLACE A BIG MISS!!!

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