The greatest Chinese takeaway in Cardiff that you've never heard of

My lemon chicken, crispy beef and spring rolls
My lemon chicken, crispy beef and spring rolls at this Chinese takeaway which I absolutely love -Credit:WalesOnline

Walk down Broadway in the Adamsdown area of Cardiff and you will not be bored. Flanked by a pub at each end (the Clifton and the Royal Oak) and with a brothel in the middle it is rarely quiet. I have lived in the area for a decade. And it is an, um, eclectic place.

Now don’t think I am slagging it off. This is my home. The One Stop shop is well stocked with lovely staff, the Royal Oak is great for a quiet pint (though I usually prefer the Four Elms) and the people living on the adjacent roads are overwhelmingly kind, friendly and welcoming. However, even the most loyal Adamsdownian probably won’t deny that the area can be a bit rough and ready in parts.

READ MORE: This is easily the best curry house in Cardiff yet no one seems to know about it

READ MORE: What it’s like to do a triathlon with no training and no equipment

Despite that, I have walked back from town late hundreds of times and haven’t ever really felt in any physical danger. Not once have I been concerned that someone may try to steal my wallet, phone or other valuables . However, there is a time when I am nervously checking behind me, when I take my headphones out to be alert to intruders, and when I am ready to run at the slightest sign of an assailant trying to take what I'm carrying — and that is when I have been to Bamboo House Chinese takeaway.

This place serves, comfortably, the greatest Chinese takeaway food I have ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this is the greatest Chinese food you will ever eat. If you are prepared to pay top dollar in a restaurant or, you know, go to actual China, you are probably going to eat something that is objectively better food. But what Bamboo House offers is everything you could possibly want in a Chinese takeaway.

The outside of Bamboo House on Broadway in Cardiff
Not much to look at, but the outside of Bamboo House on Broadway in Cardiff hides the wonder of what is served within -Credit:WalesOnline

It has all the greasy deliciousness that makes a good takeaway but somehow doesn’t sit heavily in your stomach. Never before has something that made my taste buds so happy not also destroyed my stomach as a result of eating it. It seems insane that something that is so pleasurable doesn’t punish you by making you lethargic from a massive blood sugar spike afterwards.

Bamboo House is well-known in the area for its incredible tastes. If you were to do a scientific study of anyone living between the railway line and Newport Road you would probably find that just saying the name would elicit visible salivation. It is this reason why I am nervous when I walk home with lemon chicken and crispy beef warming my carrier bag. The undesirables of Splott, Adamsdown and Tremorfa have never targeted my bank cards but I almost wouldn’t blame them if they attempted to mug me for my spring rolls. Even the landed gentry of Roath and Penylan would struggle to not to try and get themselves a classic five finger discount.

The menu of the gods
The menu of the gods -Credit:WalesOnline

Perhaps my favourite thing about Bamboo House is how unassuming it is. You walk in and there is a mammoth menu on the wall offering every food you could possibly want (except mammoth). You order at a till set behind a clear plastic wall held up with wood. The person taking your order will occasionally be a child who I think is the son of people who run it. You walk up to the order point, the kid will put down their book (they are always reading a physical book which I find incredibly endearing) and take your order. You then open a little door about 30cm high and deposit your money (cash only, obviously). The order is scribbled down and taken to the kitchen.

The little door where you pop your cash
The little door where you pop your cash -Credit:WalesOnline

I have eaten pretty much everything on that menu at some point but in preparation for this article I ordered some rice, lemon chicken, crispy beef and spring rolls. The rice was, well, rice. But the lemon chicken was to die for. Since I stopped being a student and started eating more than one meal a day I have stopped licking my plates but it genuinely feels rude to leave even a spec of this scrumptious meal on crockery so I go to town on those bad boys.

The crispy beef was pure filth in the best possible way. It stuck to itself as well as my mind in the following days when I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The spring rolls are like fried tubes of pure pleasure which come with a dipping sauce that I would gladly bathe in.

Price-wise, I think it hits the sweet and sour spot. It is cheap enough that I don’t feel like I am being robbed but not so cheap that I worry what's in it. The set dinner for one person will set you back £13.10 but for that you get prawn crackers, four mini spring rolls, five sweet and sour chicken balls, a chicken or beef dish of your choice and egg fried rice. Believe me when I say you will have leftovers. There are also great veggie options.

I always think the true mark of a great Chinese is how well it ages the next day both internally and externally. Internally, you don’t spend the following day being constantly reminded you had a Chinese last night and, externally, because you can reheat the leftovers and they still taste good. The Bamboo House passes on both counts. It is a glorious place and I heartily recommend you give it a try.