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The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

May 16, 2011 9:27 AM

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(credit: feistyfoodie.com)

(credit: feistyfoodie.com)

Chinatown can be quite intimidating to even the most adventurous food lover. For those willing to brave the unfamiliar, though, Chinatown is overflowing with delicious goodies – and we’ve narrowed down the best. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect to find. By Yvo Sin.

Dim Sum:
Nom Wah Tea Parlor

nom wah The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

(credit: nomwah.com)

13 Doyers Street
Chinatown, NY 10013
(212) 962-6047
nomwah.com/

See Also: NYC’s Best Dim Sum

Dim sum – what equates to Chinese brunch – is made easy here at Nom Wah; where most places have carts pushed around the perimeter of the restaurant, necessitating lots of pointing and asking questions (sometimes there’s a language barrier to maneuver as well), Nom Wah makes all of your dim sum fresh to order, and includes a menu on each table with explanations of each dish. Just check off which items you’d like, hand the card to your server, and you’ll soon be rewarded with dish after dish of delicious dim sum. Think of it like Chinese tapas – small plates meant to be shared, a bite of this, a bite of that. 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. Bonus: this is one of the few places in Chinatown that accepts credit cards happily ($20 minimum).

Congee:
East Corner

east corner The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

(credit: feistyfoodie.com)

70 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(212) 343-9896

Congee, best translated as rice porridge but best described as “the stuff your Chinese parents make for you when you’re sick”, is definitely one of those dishes you either love or hate. East Corner’s congee is special because, unlike other places in Chinatown, the consistency is smoother, almost creamy in texture, leaving a silky feeling in your mouth. Try the combination congee (pictured); $3.25 for the combination, which contains beef, pork & squid. (If you’re allergic to peanuts, do note that the standard practice is to drop some peanuts on the top of your congee – ask for it without!) Arrive early in the day if you want fried dough sticks – these are great dipped into the congee while you wait for it to cool enough to spoon into your mouth without burning yourself.

Shanghainese:
Shanghai Garden

shanghai garden The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

(credit: yelp.com)

14 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-5640

The main dish people visit a Shanghainese establishment to consume is ‘xiao long bao’ (xlb) or soup dumplings. Don’t let Shanghai Garden’s unassuming exterior deter you: the xlb here are the real deal. Impossibly thin skins with incredibly flavorful broth waiting inside, the hardest part is getting one into your spoon without breaking the skin. Or maybe the hardest part is waiting until they’ve cooled enough to eat. Or is it sharing the steamer basket of 8 xlb with others? No matter what is the hardest to, it’s definitely easy to win by ordering Shanghainese noodles – thick noodles coated with a soy sauce gravy, tossed quickly with shreds of pork or beef (your choice) and vegetables… yum!

Dumplings:
Prosperity Dumpling

prosperity dumpling The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

(credit: yelp.com)

46 Eldridge St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 343-0683

Barely more than a hole in the wall, Prosperity concentrates most of its efforts on the dumplings – with fantastic results. The pan fried dumplings (pictured) are crisp yet soft on the outside, yielding to a juicy, meaty innard. At five dumplings for $1, you really can’t go wrong; there isn’t much else to the menu. Fried dumplings, steamed dumplings, vegetable dumplings… add on homemade soy milk to wash it all down, and walk away satisfied for less than $5 total. And if you really want dumplings, a bag of 50 frozen ones will run you about $9.

Hand pulled noodles:
Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle & Dumpling

lam zhou handmade noodle dumpling The Best Food & Restaurants In Chinatown

(credit: feistyfoodie.com)

144 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
(212) 566-6933

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.

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Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of the Feisty Foodie.

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