OKAY, I whisper to Joe by way of my witty Fatboy banter: nobody mention secret policemen. Or underground Chinese government outposts.

All I receive in return from across the table is a blank look and a grunted: what? Does nobody read the papers any more, I sigh, as a masked (for Covid reasons obviously) waitress appears with big fat, shell-on king prawns dipped and deep-fried in that incredibly crispy, crunchy Chinese salt and egg yolk batter.

These are delicious, to me anyway. Eaten too are their paper-thin prawn shells, all of it scooped up and dangled mouth-wise: super-dry, diaphanously light batter glinting in the spotlights, still to be chased down with forkfuls of vibrant green Choi Sum in garlic sauce.

The last time I was in here, I continue, there was a travel agents actually inside this restaurant, just past that door over there. I never actually saw those travel agents open, nor could I decipher what kind of flights they sold, but it’s gone anyway.

It’s been replaced with a strange remodelling of the front of this surely once very famous – but generally these days slightly forgotten – Glasgow Cantonese restaurant. You walk in off Sauchiehall Street and are met with a large, over-lit and empty waiting area.

That is strange. No real change in here though, through the back. There are still huge round tables, vast lazy Susans, a little platform area by the back wall where we’re seated, families from the Chinese community dotted here and there on this quiet Tuesday evening.

Oh, maybe those ornaments on the wall are new. Nice. And I don’t remember that television set. Seems like Chinese celebrity chefs doing their stuff on it. We’re pondering right now the crispy fried squid, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually order.

And the squid cake which I definitely didn’t order. Meh. We’ve eaten both platters anyway. It was hard not to, given their hypnotic golden hue and seductively light flavours, along with that Shanghai Wor Teap. Which I did ask for. These Southern Chinese dim-sum are pan-fried until crispy on the bottom, with super-juicy minced pork inside. Some sherry too, perhaps.

Cabbage and soy definitely. Slurpy, crunchy, satisfying bites. Satisfying too, but out there with an edgy of-the-sea flavour are the deep-fried seaweed rolls, like little dry cakes, with a salty, fishy, strange but somehow moreish aftertaste.

See over there, I say to Joe, pointing to that stairway leading to a basement. It used to be said there was a secret casino down there. Our attention has been drawn to it by sudden waves of high-pitched noise, which come crashing up the stairs and burst boo-yah into the restaurant, then recede as fast as they came. Torture, you’re thinking.

Yes. It sounds a bit like that. It’s actually someone going full-tilt on a Chinese karaoke machine at a party down there. A fact I will establish later when I slope off to investigate in Clouseau-esque fashion on the thin pretence of going to the toilets.

Monty Python then, had something to say about reports of secret policemen but then he, or they, probably never discussed the issue while idly forking wide, flat noodles, little nuggets of beef, gloops of gloopy sauce from what is surely the world’s biggest platter of Fried Beef Ho Fan. Nor, I imagine anyway, would he have had the benefit of a conversation-stopping Chinese three-roast moment (even though I actually ordered two-roast) to intervene.

Sudden karaoke moments, punctuated by interludes of the restaurant’s soporofic muzak, aside, they do make a fantastic barbecue Char Siu in here. The honeyed strips of pork are devoured. Yes. The salty, sweet, crisp roast pork belly hunks are outstanding too and even the duck, charred in parts and sticky almost, yet not dry, is a culinary treat.

Of course there are issues to be addressed. That fried rice I ordered on a whim for £4? Dry, claggy, collected in lumps and unable to be eaten even with the assistance of Chinese tea (80p a pot). Sigh. But the Loon Fung is still an experience.

Loon Fung

Sauchiehall Street 


Tel 0141-332-1240

Menu: Proper Chinese restaurant which has gone the way of photos on the menu but still contains enough left-field-to-the-uninitiated dishes to be mildly thrilling. Dim-sum is their bag, lots of roasts too. 4/5

Service: Hmm a bit old school; masked so hard to make out what’s being said, certainly efficient though order was well muddled. 3/5

Atmosphere: look this place up. Atmosphere it most certainly does not lack, even with the karaoke occasionally bursting in. 5/5

Price: That Chinese Tea retails at 80p for a pot, the three roast £15.80, a whopping £17.80 for the whopping prawn platter and smaller dishes around £6. All good really. 5/5

Food: Maybe a bit hard core for those used to more mainstream Chinese restaurants, but for the bold plenty of rewards not just in the outstanding roasts, but in the dim-sum; the squid dishes and the all round food vibe. 8/10

Total 25/30