There is a long lineage of Chinese restaurants in New York City, from upscale stalwarts in Midtown to authentic Szechuan fare in Flushing. You can find pork buns, dim sum, soup dumplings, the list goes on and on. With so many options, we bring you our top picks of Chinese eateries in the city, just in time for the Chinese New Year. And if that’s not enough, be sure to check out our Sunday in Chinatown column by Luke Kingma.
1. Prosperity Dumpling, 46 Eldridge Street
From our previous adventure to find the best dumplings in NYC, we put Prosperity pretty high up on the list. This is one of the smallest dollar dumpling destinations on the list but definitely one of the best. They serve dumplings in two styles – fried and boiled. Prosperity Dumpling is the quintessential hole in the wall joint, steaming and frying up delicious dumplings just in time for the Chinese new year. They have a wonderful variety of fillings you can try and great crispy sesame pancakes as an add-on.
2. Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth Street
If you’re looking for an authentic dim sum experience, Chinatown‘s Jing Fong is the classic choice. The restaurant has a massive banquet hall where servers wheel carts filled with various delicacies around the tables. The Hong Kong-style eatery is great for groups, and serves more than 100 varieties of dim sum.
3. Oriental Garden, 14 Elizabeth Street
A Dim Sum Cart Makes The Rounds At Oriental Garden
Fresh, Cantonese-style seafood is the focus here, and the lengthy menu offers countless gems. Use the fresh crab tank in the window up front as inspiration and enlist the guidance of a manager, who might steer you toward simple steamed whole fish, glazed prawns with broccoli, clams with bean sauce or one of the copious dim sum options.
4. Joe’s Shanghai, 9 Pell street
Joe’s is famous for its soup dumplings, called Xiao Long Bao. They come in either pork or crab, served in little bamboo baskets. Bite the edge of the dumpling and carefully slurp up the soup, being careful to avoid spilling the piping hot broth all over you. The waiters know why you’re here. They’ll ask if you want to place an order for soup dumplings right away – $4.95 for pork, $6.95 for crab. We suggest an order or two of both (each order comes with eight). Add plate of jellyfish, and you’ve got the foundation for an incredible experience.” If the long is line, you can also check out Joe’s Ginger just next door.
5. Xi’an Famous Foods
The spicy cumin lamb burger, Xi’An’s claim to fame ($3.00)
Xi’an Famous Foods serves western Chinese specialties, like hand-pulled noodles and a cumin lamb burger at incredibly cheap prices. The Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger, a staple of the restaurant, is an absolute must try on Xi’An’s menu. Cumin-spiced lamb is sautéed with jalapenos, scallions and onions and served on a hard roll pressed and warmed perfectly. At just $3.00, this burger has risen to the status of one of the most popular dishes in Chinatown. Read more about Xi’an here.
6. Biáng!, 41-10 Main Street, Flushing, Queens
Photo by Luke Kingma for Untapped Cities
Owned by Jason Wang, Biáng is like Xi’An’s more upscale sibling. The relatively roomy Flushing eatery serves the same great (and spicy) food as Xi’An, but with an expanded menu and table service. They serve the same cumin lamb burgers that made Xi’An famous, plus a host of other dishes. We recommend the meat skewers, which are barbecued and marinated in Xi’An’s secret spices.
7. Sheng Wang, 27 Eldridge Street
Photo by Luke Kingma for Untapped Cities
There are so many cheap, authentic hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown, but I can assure you that Sheng Wang is one of the best. You’ll find Sheng Wang hidden away on Eldridge street just south of Canal Street. It’s sandwiched between plenty of other competing hand pulled noodle shops, but this is the place you want to be. We recommend the mutton or roasted duck hand pulled noodles. Read more here.
8. Big Wong, 67 Mott Street
Lobster, Big Wong’s Cornerstone
At first glance, Big Wong Restaurant seems like a rather nondescript food joint halfway down Mott Street between Canal and Bayard. The eatery prides itself on doing one thing very well, and very cheap – lobster. Cooked with ginger and scallions and basted with butter, the lobster Big Wong throws down is worth twice what you’ll pay for it. $20 will get you two lobsters and all the tea you can drink.” Read more here.
9. Han Dynasty, 90 3rd Avenue
The beloved Philadelphia restaurant chain finally opened its first outpost in New York’s East Village and quickly became a go-to for mouth-scorching Asian food. With a menu that ranks food on a scale of 1-10 depending on spiciness, you’re guaranteed to get your fix. Order the famed dan dan noodles, and follow it up with a hot pot or one of the dozen or so other options on the entree section of the menu.
10. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, 118 Eldridge Street
Dumplings at Fu Zhou. Photo by Luke Kingma for Untapped Cities
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou is small, cramped, and among stands out among the Eldridge street $1 dumpling eateries for selling dumplings at $2 for 7. But, their dumplings are much bigger than the potstickers around Eldridge and are much more flavorful. Best part? Fu Zhou’s family of cooks will prepare them fresh right in front of you. Another dish we recommend is their serving of fish balls. Oddly enough, because they’re Fujian fish balls, they don’t have a scrap of seafood in them. They’re instead stuffed with delicious ground pork, and are near perfect. Despite sharing the street with countless dollar dumpling spots, Fu Zhou has managed to provide great flavor for the price. Read what Luke has to say here.
Read more from our Sunday in Chinatown column and don’t miss the a walk through the Doyers Street Tunnel, to relive a grittier time in Chinatown’s history.