I went on a mission to find the best salt and chilli chicken in Newcastle

There can only be one winner

In recent years, there’s no denying that salt and chilli chicken has become the rising star of everyone’s Chinese order, eclipsing the likes of chow mein and black bean beef. So, where exactly in Newcastle can you find the best salt and chilli chicken?

Luckily, it’s that time of year again where I waste an obscene amount of my student loan investigating Newcastle’s food offerings (if you remember my sandwich expedition, you’re a real one).

Always one to please the people, I went on a mission to find out. The method was simple – I started by asking my mates for their favourite Chinese takeaways in the Toon and deciding on a top five to try for myself.

The chicken is scored out of 10, and is ranked on flavour, crispness, price, portion size, chicken to veg ratio and spice level. Also, I’m only including takeaways, not restaurants, otherwise Geisha’s salt and chilli chicken would be very high on this list.

Let the rankings commence, and prepare for many a photo of a messily presented Chinese on my hideous lilac crockery.

Kwok Pao

Kwok Pao in Heaton is famously Cheryl Cole’s favourite Chinese takeaway, after she took Simon Cowell there back in 2014.  I had extremely high hopes, as anything that’s good enough for our Chezza is more than good enough for me.

The portion was absolutely huge for £7 and overall, this was really good salt and chilli chicken. It tasted fresh and was very flavoursome. However, I wasn’t keen on the addition of green onions as well as the usual onions and peppers and the spice level was a bit higher than I usually enjoy from the dish. It also wasn’t really crisp enough and was a bit, dare I say it, wet.

Rating: 7/10


Jakki’s is actually a favourite of mine, so I may be a teensy bit biased on this one. It’s a fave for  Heaton-based students and it’s easy to see why – this was my second best overall.

The chicken cost £7.60 and again, the portion was huge. There was a perfect ratio of veg-to-chicken and all the chicken bits were perfectly sized and crispy. It’s also not too spicy, ideal for those of you who order lemon and herb at Nando’s. My only complaint is that it was a teensy bit too salty, but only really on the bigger bits.

Rating: 9/10

Acorn Chinese

Acorn is a huge favourite amongst Newcastle students, purely for the fact that it’s in Jesmond so none of us have to walk very far to get there. I’d actually never tried it before this experiment, so I was keen to give it a go.

The chicken cost £6, making it the most well priced on this list but honestly, it was my least favourite. There were no peppers in the veg mix, only onions, and the pieces were quite large, with some of the biggest pieces being quite fatty. Although the spice level was good, it was a bit too sweet in taste which I didn’t rate.

Rating: 5/10

Yummy Cottage

Yummy Cottage is Newcastle’s underrated gem. It’s on Gosforth High Street, so not many students know about it, but I do not mince my words when I say it’s Newcastle’s best salt and chilli chicken. There’s just something about it.

It cost £6.60, which is relatively cheap on this list. The flavour and spice level are perfectly balanced, the chicken to veggies ratio is just right and the portion is huge. Plus, the actual chicken is really juicy and not weird in that jellyfish way that chicken can be.

Only critique here is that shredded carrots are included in the veg mix, which might not be to everyone’s preference, but honestly you can’t even taste them.

Rating: 10/10

Lucky 9

Lucky 9 has been a staple Chinese for me throughout all my years of uni, due to the fact that it’s on JustEat and delivers to every student area. But how does the salt and chilli chicken fair?

It has a nice crunchy batter, maybe some of the best batter on the list, and a good flavour, with a perfect spice level. It cost £7, the middle price point of the list, however, the portion size isn’t as big as some of the others. It’s also another one that adds carrots to the veg mix and in my opinion, they give you a few too many thick pieces of onion.

Rating: 8/10



So, there you have it – Yummy Cottage has officially been crowned Newcastle’s best salt and pepper chicken. Well, by me anyway. I’m sure many of you won’t agree with my list but you’re not the one who spent weeks rating chicken, are you?

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