Last Updated on April 27, 2018 by Jen Kristensen
New York is known to be one of the cities in the US that has a wide cultural diversity. Over the last few years, so many great offerings have come to the city. If you want Chinese food, you no longer have to put up with eating bland noodles and fried rice as well as greasy egg rolls. Thankfully, you can find traditional Cantonese food and Szechuan delicacies that will defy your expectations. You just have to know where to look.
Usually, those who are looking for traditional and authentic Chinese food would head straight to the historic Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. This is because the area is dominated by Chinese-American shops and restaurants, as evident on the signs bearing large Chinese writing with smaller English translations.
You will find yourself in the middle of everything when you get off the subway at Canal or Grand Street. There are brightly colored bubble tea shops, butcher shops with whole chickens displayed in the window, and grocery stores selling exotic spices, herbs, and produce.
These days, though, you do not even have to go to Chinatown to find real Chinese food. As a matter of fact, some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city can be found in neighborhoods such as Midtown, Greenwich Village, and Williamsburg.
New York City’s 10 Best Chinese Restaurants
Whether you are looking for something cheap but fulfilling Chinese street food to upscale restaurants with sumptuous dishes, there are several options for you all over the city. Below are ten of the restaurants that truly stand out and will definitely satisfy your cravings for Chinese food.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Opened in 1920, this dim sum restaurant is the oldest in Chinatown, and is still going strong. It is located in the heart of Doyers Street and pretty much looks like the way it has been several years back. Before, the restaurant has traditional dim sum carts, but those were eliminated in 2011 since the nephew of the original owner took ownership.
Everything that you order is made fresh and arrives at your table piping hot. Make sure that when you dine here, you try the crispy egg rolls as well as the shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings.
It may look like an average Chinese restaurant in Midtown, but this place serves excellent food, definitely above average. It specializes in the fiery cuisine of Sichuan province, so make sure that you always have a cold drink to douse the fire in your mouth. Try their mapo tofu, cucumber salad, and dan dan noodles when you get the chance to dine here.
Xi’An Famous Foods
If you are looking for a mini-empire of fast-casual spots, then this is the place for you. It started out as a small food stall in the Golden Mall until it became a maze of Chinese food vendors selling good food. One of the dishes that you should try is their hand-pulled noodles with hot chili oil.
The person responsible for bringing the spicy dishes of China’s northern province of Xi’an to New York is Jason Wang, who took over the business from his father.
Mission Chinese Food
What started out as a pop-up store in San Francisco’s Mission District is now a spacious restaurant with chandeliers and mirrored corridors. Chef Danny Bowien is responsible for their expanded menu and special dishes such as the kung pao pastrami.
Try ordering the Quick Mission Dinner or the Veg Dinner for a mix of the best dishes like green tea noodles with scallions and the wood oven sizzled rice cakes.
This place focuses on the cuisine of Yunnan province in China, which borders Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Yunnan BBQ serves Chinese barbecue and large dishes such as a plate of assorted meat skewers consisting of beef short ribs, cumin-crusted lamb, pork belly, and curry fish balls. They also have crisp whole prawns with kaffir lime leaf as well as good old pork ribs.
This establishment may not take itself seriously, but it professes a greenmarket sensibility. Chef Joe Ng likes to play around with the food that Red Farm offers, with specialties such as black cod and three types of rice, Pac Man dumplings, and Katz’s pastrami egg rolls.
Hakkasan New York
Hakkasan is not your typical Chinese restaurant as it is an international chain that was founded in London and has locations in Las Vegas, Miami, and Dubai. With a doorman and velvet rope outside, the place is all sleek and loungey, but it is not all about the looks. The food is also delicious and plated beautifully. Make sure that you try their Chilean sea bass with honey, wok-fried lobster, and steamed dim sum.
Shun Lee Palace
Since 1971, Shun Lee Palace has been serving specialties from different Chinese regions. Some of their most popular dishes are the Beijing duck served with pancakes, hoisin sauce, and scallions, Shanghai-style crab with spinach and black vinegar, and dry shredded beef.
Kings Country Imperial
This restaurant showcases the cuisine of Central China, especially the Sichuan province. It also has an excellent atmosphere which is reminiscent of the old world China because of the vintage metal chairs and mahogany bar, as well as antique light boxes.
Try their hearty soup dumplings, fried rice, spicy mapo tofu, and the mock eel made of shitake mushrooms.
Some say that you can find the best soup dumplings in the city at Joe’s Shanghai. The atmosphere here is very pleasant and welcoming, with the food served family-style. A bamboo steamer basket, with pork and crab dumplings, is one of their bestsellers.