From shrimp dumplings to roast pork, there are our favorite finds for under $20 in Chinatown. By Yvo Sin.
See Also: Pop Up New York: Chinatown For Under $25
70 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Hanging in East Corner’s window is various roasted animal carcasses; ducks, chickens, and whole (well, half) pigs beckon alluringly to those in the know. Order yourself any sort of egg noodle topped with roast pork, and the glistening red meat will yield to your bite easily, bursting with flavor. Try the Hong Kong Style Dry Noodles with Wontons and Roast Pork; the noodles come with the soup on the side and drizzled lightly with hoisin sauce for intense umami taste. If you’re feeling under the weather, pick up a quart of congee (combination congee, $3.25, pictured); the Chinese version of chicken noodle soup, it’s what Chinese mothers feed their sick children. East Corner’s version is ultra silky on your tongue, and will leave you wanting more. The best part? Only two dishes – seafood based – reach over $10. Stuff yourself silly without emptying your wallet!
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers Street
Chinatown, NY 10013
With such a rich history as Nom Wah, it’s easy to assume that it skates by on reputation alone. But this is not so; reopened with a new owner, Nom Wah brings more than just the fact that it is the oldest dim sum parlor in Chinatown to the table: Nom Wah serves freshly prepared dim sum from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, giving you no excuse to ever go more than a week without dim sum since you don’t even have to wake up early anymore! With some unique dishes on the menu such as scallop dumplings and scallion and parsley rice rolls (pictured), along with all your standard dim sum favorites like shrimp rice roll, crystal shrimp dumplings and more. Do yourself a favor and plunge right into the history that has been preserved inside Nom Wah’s walls. It’s just a coincidence that the name bears the word ‘nom’ but you’ll certainly be saying that enough as you indulge in the small plates. Bonus: this is one of the few places in Chinatown that accepts credit cards happily – though you likely won’t need it.
Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle & Dumpling
144 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Walking into Lam Zhou, the dingy appearance and the distinct language barrier might scare you. Forging ahead will be rewarded kindly though with dinner and a show: the show being, of course, the man in the corner pulling your noodles on the spot after you order them. Watch him thwack a ball of dough on the tabletop and expertly pull the dough into strands of noodles that are then quickly cooked in a flavorful broth for you to enjoy. The language barrier is overcome a little bit here since they’ve translated the menu into English, with numbers next to each item, for your ordering ease – basically, choose what you want your bowl of noodles to be topped with. Regardless of your choice, be sure to add on an order of the fried dumplings: they are a thing of beauty, and your entire meal total – with tip included! – will barely break $10.
113 Mott Street
New York, NY 10013
213 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
See Also: NYC’s Best Banh Mi
The perfectly made banh mi is all about balance: the innards, a combination of earthy pate schmeared across the fluffy heart of the bread, pickled veggies, cooling cucumber, verdant cilantro, the savory meat of your choosing, a dash of Maggi, and if you’ve asked for it spicy, the garlicky tang of Sriracha along with crunchy jalapeno slivers, all balanced against the wonderful bread, crisp baguette that yields to your bite and reveals an impossibly delicate inside. At Paris Sandwich, they clearly understand the importance of the bread – afterall, it is the first thing you taste – and bake all of their luscious baguettes in-house, which are available for purchase unaccompanied. But the reason you’re there, eyes wide at the huge display cases of glorious desserts, treats, and goodies: banh mi. Order the combo for $5 (pictured), which gets you your choice of banh mi (starting in price at $4 alone, though the combo banh mi is slightly smaller), a green tea waffle and a tea/coffee. Ask for the Paris Special and leave happy; there is absolutely no better sandwich than a well-made banh mi, and Paris makes a well-made banh mi look easy. And if you have room when you’re done: check out the displays of desserts and pick out a pretty one – your wallet won’t suffer for it.
Wah Mei Fast Food
190 Hester Street
New York, NY 10013
At Wah Mei, when you order the pork chop over rice (pictured), the marinated pork chop is placed in a deep fryer to cook. A big scoop of rice is pressed into the bottom of a plastic container, a ladle from the giant vat of pork sauce constantly cooking away is poured over the top, along with some pickled mustard greens, cooked Napa cabbage, and before you know it, the pork chop has been removed from the hot oil, crammed on top of the rice and sauce, then a lid unceremoniously jammed on top of all of that. You hand over your $4.50, or, if you were smart, $4.95 because you asked for a tea egg to be added to the platter, and you walk out, inhaling the wonderful aroma of a marinated, deep fried pork chop. When you finally open the container, hands shaking a little from excitement and hunger, the smell hits you and you dig into this pork chop, with crisp edges, salty everywhere, mixing bits of the tea egg with the rice. You marvel at how addicting the brown pork sauce is, and realize you could eat a bowl of fluffy white rice with just that topping it – but why would you want to? That crisp, juicy pork chop has just changed your life, the way you see pork chops, and nothing will ever be the same again – especially when you realize you’ve still got money to spare and no room in your belly for a bite more.