While there are plenty of New York City neighborhoods with stellar Chinese food, Manhattan’s Chinatown is still the leading destination for the diverse and flavorful bundled cuisine. Cantonese fare and dim sum still predominate, though there are plenty of regional cuisines to be found, including Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Teochew, and Sichuan, plus some very good Vietnamese and Malaysian fare. Soup dumplings, rice casseroles, noodles with or without gluten, stir-fries, and fresh whole steamed fish scattered with ginger and green onions are in abundance in this historic neighborhood, with prices that run from very modest to more expensive.Read More
Where to Eat in Manhattan’s Chinatown
From fresh rice noodle rolls to affordable galore, a dining guide to New York’s oldest and most famous Chinatown
Decorated like a movie theater, with a lobby in front and screening room in back, Potluck Club is a hyper-modern restaurant that remakes Cantonese food with spins by the next generation. A salt-and-pepper chicken arrives with scallion biscuits standing in for scallion pancakes; while rock shrimp, candied walnuts, and caulilini, come smothered in mayo. Exploring the menu is downright fun.
Green Garden Village
Cantonese food has been enjoying a resurgence lately and Green Garden Village is a prime example. A lush display of ducks and other cured meats hangs in the window, as well as an impressive seafood selection, though standards like wonton soup (in deconstructed form) and beef chow fun hold their own. It’s also a great place for dim sum, especially rice noodle rolls.
Golden Steamer has been a staple in Manhattan’s Chinatown since 2009. The bakery, a one-room operation on Mott Street, is popular in the area (and online) for its fluffy steamed buns filled with a variety of meats and custards, including barbecued pork, Chinese sausage, red bean, pumpkin, and salted egg yolk. Part of the appeal: They’re sold, steaming, in paper bags for $1.50 each — a slight uptick from before the pandemic, when they cost about a dollar.
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Double Crispy Bakery
Chinatown bakeries are destinations for choices of a sweet pastry, a snack, or an entire meal. Newcomer Double Crispy is one of the best, clear from the bountiful offerings. Try a fish filet bun, a hot dog bun, or one of the massive, seven-inch steamed baos, filled with chicken or pork.
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A1 Seafood Restaurant
Steps from the D train stop at Grand Street, newcomer A1 is a Flushing import — reportedly owned by the fish market across the street — focused on seafood. Whole fish, crustaceans, shellfish, and other seagoing fare are the order of the day: eel casserole, jumbo shrimp with salted egg sauce, clams with black bean sauce, and razor clam with fresh garlic are all worth considering.
Yi Ji Shi Mo
Yi Ji Shi Mo is one of the neighborhood’s top purveyors of cheung fun, the springy rice noodles that can be rolled up with a variety of fillings. One of the most popular orders is the rice roll with shrimp, pork, and cilantro, although they can be modified with a variety of ingredients and sauces, including hoisin sauce, peanut sauce, and Sriracha. An aluminum container’s worth of them starts at around $3. Cash only.
Harper’s Bread House
The decades-old institution remains one of Chinatown’s top bakeries, a place for ultra-affordable Chinese pastries. Hot dog scallion buns are always a smart move, as are the freshly made onigiri rice balls. But the chief draw is a warm egg tart (dan tat), filled with custard dense with the richness of egg yolks and with the top bruleed for a Macao-inspired treat. Also, look out for the ham-and-omelet breakfast sandwich.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou has perfected the peanut noodle. For $3, the restaurant heaps a large portion of rice noodles onto a disposable plate with peanut sauce. It’s one of the most affordable meals in Manhattan’s Chinatown, and videos of the dish have turned this small, cash-only establishment into a social media sensation. The pork and chive dumplings are good, too. An order of six costs $3, more expensive than other dumpling shops in the neighborhood, but still quite affordable.
Wendy Lian and Ren Fu Li’s gem of a Forsyth Street restaurant is a temple to a spectacular dish: big tray spicy chicken (da pan ji). The preparation involves dousing thick, hand-pulled noodles in a stew of chicken, garlic, potatoes, cumin, chiles, and star anise. With the capacity to feed at least two, the feast ranks as one of the city’s best large-format deals. Also go for a pork pancake, where stewed pork comes in sandwich form as a must-get appetizer. Spicy Village is BYOB.
Uncle Lou is one of several restaurants remaking Cantonese food in Chinatown, taking traditional recipes and kicking them up a notch — served ceremoniously on big round tables with turntables in the middle for easy sharing. Chef’s specials are called lo wah kiu (“the old timers”) and include steak cooked with chives, vegetarian tofu skin wraps, and homestyle chenpi duck, with sun-dried mandarin-orange-peel sauce.
Inexpensive dumplings, and lots of them, is the specialty of King Dumplings. The small shop on the eastern edge of Chinatown is a newer addition to the neighborhood — it opened in 2019 — but it’s distinguished itself with lower prices and generous portions: At the time of publishing, 10 pork and chive dumplings cost around $4. The wonton soup is another specialty of the restaurant. Cash only.
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This is latest edition of Joe’s Shanghai is on Bowery, around the corner from the first Chinatown branch on Pell, and it occupies a much grander space, with multiple dining rooms arranged around a carryout counter. The soup dumplings — first popularized in the city in the ’90s at the original branch in Flushing — are as good as ever, served with or without a lump of crab, eight to a giant steamer. Other Shanghai delights include braised gluten, eel with chives, and fish fingers with seaweed.
Deluxe Green Bo
Deluxe Green Bo is a Shanghainese restaurant that’s been open on Bayard Street since 1982. The restaurant is known for its xiao long bao, steamed dumplings filled with pork, crab, and broth, which cost about $10 for an order of eight. Also good: the fried “tiny buns,” which are actually quite large, and the wontons with peanut sauce and chile oil. Cash only, BYOB.
West New Malaysia
Hopefully, this new Malaysian spot represents the resurgence of the cuisine in Chinatown, where there was once a half-dozen such restaurants radiating from the corner of Allen and Grand. The compact dining room is casual and stylish, and jellied ices are a focus, including the wonderful black jello snow ice. The oyster omelet is also worth trying.
The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Follow a visit to any of the restaurants on this list with dessert at this petite ice cream shop that’s one of New York’s oldest and most distinguished, having added Asian flavors to a classic American ice cream parlor. Specialty flavors like green tea, black sesame, lychee, and a highly nutty zen butter — that’s peanut butter ice cream with toasted sesame seeds — shouldn’t be missed. Any flavor can be packed in a pint and taken home.
Chang Lai Fishballs Noodles
Around eight years ago, Lai Sheng Zhang opened up a rice roll food cart on the Bowery. This summer, the team relocated to a permanent takeout restaurant on Bayard Street. Chang Lai Fishballs Noodles continues to sell loaded-up plastic containers of rice rolls with curry fish balls during breakfast time. Ask for it smothered in everything: a creamy medley of soy sauce, hoisin, sesame, peanut sauce, and sriracha.
Hand-pulled noodles were introduced to NYC by Super Taste in 2005 when noodle master Steven Yan began serving them. Nearly two decades later, Super Taste remains one of the best locales for hand-pulled noodles in town. Scintillating add-ins range from oxtail to duck to cow stomach, but the house special, rich with beef, is the repeat favorite. An order of pork-and-chive pot stickers should accompany every bowl of noodles here. Recently, the team expanded with an uptown outpost.
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Mee Sum Cafe
This Chinatown tea shop dates to the 1960s. It’s an old-school spot for inexpensive dim sum, servings of over-rice chicken, duck, or pork; and steaming bowls of congee. Diners can either sit at a counter or a few tables in the back of the parlor or simply grab a leaf-wrapped bundle of sticky rice, known as joong, to go. Don’t miss the wonton soup.
Great N.Y. Noodletown
Great N.Y. Noodletown is one of Manhattan Chinatown’s classic restaurants. It’s been open since 1981, and it found some notoriety outside of New York after appearing in an episode of the Layover, hosted by Anthony Bourdain. Its roast meats are a must-order — duck, char siu, and chicken can be ordered over a plate of rice, together or separately, for about $10 — and Eater’s critic recommends the wonton noodle soup. Cash only.
House of Joy
House of Joy is one of the largest dim sum parlors in Manhattan’s Chinatown, and one of the only restaurants in the area that still delivers its dim sum on carts. Grab a number from the host at the front and wait patiently to be called — which, if you don’t arrive before 11 a.m. on weekends, might be an hour or more. Once inside, plates of rice noodles, pineapple buns, pea shoots, and chicken feet cost a few dollars each, and there’s a full menu of larger meat and seafood dishes.
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Mei Lai Wah Wonton Noodle
Wonton Noodle Garden, which closed after four decades, was revived as an offshoot of Mei Lai Wah earlier this summer. The expanded menu has splendid wonton noodle soup with a wealth of big dumplings, Hong Kong-style wheat noodles, and the surprise addition of gluey pig feet, which fortify the broth immeasurably and make for some great chewing. Unusual for Chinatown, a bar serves draft beer in the back.
Hidden on a steep side street in the heart of the oldest part of Chinatown, Fried Dumpling is a stall that revolutionized inexpensive eats when it opened in 1999 on the Lower East Side — though this is the only branch left. Northern-style potstickers, stuffed with pork and chives and browned on the bottom, are the main attraction, though one can get vegetarian dumplings, sweet and sour soup, and warm soy milk, too. It’s a great place for a snack.
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Founded in 1938, Wo Hop is the second oldest restaurant in Chinatown. The old-guard Cantonese American menu remains largely intact; and, this is one of the only restaurants in Chinatown where chop suey is still to be found. The walls of the subterranean space are lined with snapshots of patrons, including celebrities.
Taiwan Pork Chop House
Though there’s plenty to choose from, most fans of Taiwan Pork Chop House seem to sit down for one of the two specialties of the house, offered with abundant quantities of rice and pickled mustard greens. It can be a difficult decision to choose: the epic, thin-cut pork chops with a sweet glaze, or the bulbous chicken leg, briny and delicious. Both are equally good.
Head to this Hong Kong-style restaurant for Cantonese barbecued meats like duck served over rice, noodle stir-fries like beef chow fun, and “super-wonderful” rice noodle rolls. The restaurant opens at 8 a.m.; drop by for a bowl of congee in the morning, or its fragrant rice casseroles served in clay pots.
Dim Sum Palace
Dim Sum Palace, related to the Dim Sum Sam chain of Cantonese restaurants, set down on Division Street last year, helping revitalize the Chinatown banquet scene. Open from 10 a.m. till the wee hours, seven days of a week, it’s one of the only late-night venues in the neighborhood. The list of dim sum is expansive — though not rolled around on carts — and many Hong Kong specialties are available, such as fish maw soup and fried flounder with scallions and ginger.
M Star Cafe
M Star is one of a new crop of Hong Kong-style cafes to open in NYC. As with the cuisine of New York City, the menu incorporates global influences. What that means in practice is lots of noodles, egg breakfasts, Spam, and plenty of other casual food skewed toward breakfast.
Hwa Yuan Szechuan
This multi-story grand palace of Sichuan food located on a relatively barren stretch of East Broadway is a living tribute to Shorty Tang, the Taiwanese-born chef who popularized Sichuan food in Chinatown and invented cold sesame noodles as we know them. Seafood pan-fried noodles, kung pao chicken, and Tang’s amazing tofu — flavored with fermented black beans — are also recommended.