Michael Wan’s Mandarin


For 55 years, while trends come and go, Michael Wan’s Mandarin has stood the tests of time by serving locals and visitors of Blackpool the best Chinese food in Lancashire and North West of England.

A young Michael Wan decided to up-(chop)sticks and leave his homeland of Hong Kong; he boarded a slow boat and embarked on an epic journey to find a new life in England.

On landing in Liverpool, Michael made his way to Blackpool where he began working in a restaurant just behind the pleasure beach, on Bond Street. After several hard years learning and fine-tuning his trade, his talent was clear. A local businessman saw Michael’s potential and offered to support him to open his own restaurant, right in the heart of Blackpool and in 1961 Michael Wan’s Mandarin was born.

For over 40 years Michael built up a loyal following of customers, not only Blackpool locals but also many visitors who would make their annual pilgrimage for the summer holidays or to see the famous Illuminations. For them dining at The Mandarin became part of their annual trip and Michael’s ever evolving menu would keep them coming back for more.

In 2004 Michael retired and sold his business to his God-daughter, Pauline Lai, a young and aspiring chef and restaurateur. Pauline comes from a long line of acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs, including her father and two uncles, all of whom ran successful businesses in HK and latterly Manchester, UK.

From the day she took over Pauline has worked hard to ensure the standard of food remains at its highest level whilst developing the menu and cross-blending traditional Cantonese flavours with western style dishes.

This blend of traditional and modern continues throughout the restaurant, with the décor taking influences from 1930’s Shanghai tea rooms.  Colourful fabrics and intricate gilded wallpaper give a lovely atmospheric warmth.

One thing that has never changed over the years is the warm welcome you’re guaranteed to find from the Mandarin team.

Address: 27 Clifton St, Blackpool FY1 1JD
Telephone: 01253622687


One thought on “Michael Wan’s Mandarin”

  1. David says:

    Not too many years ago a national newspaper noted that Michael Wan’s Mandarin figured in the top three Chinese restaurants in the country.
    The continuing popularity of Blackpool’s top-rated Oriental eaterie doesn’t just speak for itself – it’s evident in the constant flow of diners happy to patiently wait in the bar area for a table. . . and this was on a Monday night!
    “We must be doing something right?” grins one of the waiters, with more than a touch of eastern irony.
    And what they do right is pretty well what this restaurant has been doing for 55 years. Comfortably intimate surroundings, the right exotic ambience, smooth and smiling service, and that’s all before you get to the food.
    It all adds up to a stylish and cultured experience that extends all the way from its classy and informative website – complete with cookery lessons – to the venue itself.
    And for a restaurant that can clearly hold its own against some bigger city competition, you won’t be paying those bigger city prices. The families of all ages that are drawn to the Clifton Street premises are ample proof that this is also a good-value destination.
    Take advantage of the early doors Mandarin Feast for instance and there’s more than enough of a reward. Five tangy starters followed by your choice from 11 main courses that run the gamut of popular Chinese dishes.
    My dining partner took this option, while I went ‘off feast’ with one of the signature dishes from the menu, Twice Cooked Pork.
    Not that I wasn’t about to sample those starters on the other side of the table. A highlight was the dark flavour of wood-ear mushrooms in spring rolls, but then the tiger prawn toasts made for exciting taste bombs too. A chicken satay skewer and richly-glazed pork spare ribs completed the combo, but don’t treat the crispy seaweed and dry fish crumbs as simply an adornment, or you’ll be missing out on more exotic textures and flavours.
    My partner had picked crispy duck and pancakes with hoi sin sauce, as a main course – her personal favourite. And more than enough on her plate to allow me to share in the obvious enjoyment of wafer-light pancakes rolled up with ample shredded duck, and cucumber and spring onion strips.
    Pauline Lai, who took over as owner here when her godfather Michael retired 12 years ago, maintains there are only three ingredients in her food – quality, time and experience. Well then someone added chilli oil to my pork main course . . . and I’m not complaining.
    You expect dishes that stem from Szechuan to be bold and fiery, but the trick is that the traditional hot ingredients don’t burn away all the other flavours of the food. Wu War Yuk, or ‘return pot meat’ is one of the province’s most famous dishes and when cooked like this you can understand why. The thin slices of marinated and stewed pork assert all their own flavour along with the accompanying leeks, peppers and onions. A bowl of light and fluffy egg fried rice was sufficient accompaniment.
    That said, I was more than happy to indulge in the cooling company of a banana fritter and ice cream with cinnamon syrup, a guilty pleasure I blame on too many business lunches from the past!
    None of them though were quite so memorable, or enjoyable, as this mini-Mandarin banquet.

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