From heavenly Cantonese dim sum to Lanzhou-style noodles, Chinatown is a holy place for people who love to eat. You’ll find over a century of food amid narrow streets bursting at the seams with tea parlors, produce markets, and dumpling joints. The thriving culinary community comprises residents from all over the world, each imbuing a unique piece of themselves into the dishes they serve.
But how can you choose among hundreds of bustling restaurants, cafes, and bakeries? Our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown provides a perfect introduction as you slurp, gulp, and gorge your way through one of NYC’s most visited, celebrated, and delicious neighborhoods.
14. Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian
Bodhi is a Chinese-Cantonese style Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian restaurant serving up dim sum and Chinese food. What’s more, it’s 100% vegetarian despite menu items like bbq meat, cumin lamb, and so on. Get the fried sticky rice, a delicately crisped puff of dough that brings some unparalleled texture to every bite. The bbq meat is savory, chewy, and downright confusing. Its texture is similar to pork belly but surprisingly lean. And, well, not pork (the trick is all in the gluten and seitan, according to them). The rice rolls, another tasty choice, bounce satisfyingly against your teeth and come in several flavors. It’s the perfect meal to share, so make sure to go with company.
Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian
$$ Vegan, Kosher, Chinese
13. Nha Trang One
Head to one of the best restaurants in Chinatown for the pho bowl of your fantasies. The key to good pho isn’t just the noodles, which have to be slurpy and tender, but the broth. Crystal clear and forged from the careful, ultra-long simmering of bones, oxtail, and flank (for beef pho), or an entire bird (for chicken), pho broth is a work of art. One that Nha Trang One has mastered, fortified through a diverse range of herbs and spices including lemongrass, mint, cilantro, thai basil, and more. The broth hits you like a summer breeze; clean, refreshing, and wanting to rock you to sleep a little. Start by trying the beef broth base, speckled with slivers of onion and pieces of cilantro. Pair with a Thai iced tea with condensed milk for the most comforting meal you’ll have all week.
Nha Trang One
Bringing a contemporary edge to one of NYC’s most long-standing neighborhoods, Chikarashi bridges traditional Hawaiian poke with Japanese chirashi. The result is a well-balanced selection of Japanese poke bowls, including flavors like Goma Shoyu Tuna and Yaki Tofu. If you’re a first timer, you’ll love the Sichuan Chili Salmon bowl. It comes complete with Scottish salmon coated in Sichuan mayo and covered in furikake, shoyu daikon, negi, and crunchy katsuo panko. With a base of impeccably sticky Koshihikari sushi rice, it makes for one of the freshest, tastiest poke bowls around. Plus, it offers a unique diversion from the usual Chinatown dim sum.
$$ Japanese, Hawaiian, Poke
11. Jing Fong
Though their original 800-person location closed down, Jing Fong debuted their new Chinatown venue this past December. Long-heralded as one of NYC’s most iconic dim sum experiences, it’s easy to see why they make our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown. Cantonese-style dumplings, sticky rice, spare ribs, and rice noodle rolls abound, all served on roving carts. This means if you see a particularly tasty-looking dish on one of the trollies strolling around, you can request it on the spot. The menu is massive, but start with the pillowy barbeque roast pork buns and siu mai sprinkled with roe.
Jing Fong – Chinatown
$$ Dim Sum, Cantonese
10. Bo Ky
Teochew food is known for dishes that blend Southeast Asian flavors from different cultures like Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian. Normally, Teochew is considered an expensive cuisine, but Bo Ky offers a street food version. It’s a celebration of Teochew cuisine, and it nabs a spot on our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown. One of their most popular dishes is the Cambodian noodle soup. The concentrated broth features an amalgamation of protein, including their famous handmade fish balls, shrimp, and slices of pork. For non-fish enthusiasts, stay with us: these are mild, fresh, and taste like chicken. Make sure to get the thick-cut noodles, and add in their Teochew chili paste for some heat.
$ Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian
9. Shanghai 21
Shanghai 21 should make your shortlist for soup dumplings alone. They offer three varieties: crab and pork, pork, and black truffle and pork. Each is a perfect mouthful and holds an impressive amount of broth in a tiny dumpling casing. Pair with the vinegary sauce to experience love at first bite. They also offer an extensive dim sum experience here, and you can’t really go wrong with anything you choose. But make sure to save room for an order of their scallion pancakes. Layers of fried dough tortilla-chip thin come golden brown and crackle with a bit of magic with every chew.
8. Wonton Noodle Garden
Find ultimate comfort in a bowl at Wonton Noodle Garden. Their Wonton soup with Shanghai noodles comes loaded with curly, eggy noodles that are so long you’ll be slurping for a good few minutes. The glossy broth is hearty and heavy on the umami. The flavor centers around deep hues of the classic dried shrimp flavoring wonton soup is known for. Thick, meaty wontons cradling equal amounts of pork and shrimp bob throughout the steaming broth, taking you on a delicious detour in between gulps of noodles. It’s so satisfying it’s almost healing; each swallow leaves you feeling cured of even your peskiest ailments.
Wonton Noodle Garden
$ Dim Sum, Cantonese, Noodles
7. Spicy Village
Looking for one of the most illustrious dishes in Chinatown? That would be the Spicy Big Tray Chicken at Spicy Village, a decade-old neighborhood cult favorite that serves up traditional Henan food. The dish in question is a giant vat of bone-in hunks of chicken and potatoes in a nuclear chili-oil sauce filled with peppercorns, star anise, garlic, cumin, and heaps of other spices. They give you the option of adding their hand-pulled, wide wheat noodles, and don’t even think about skipping them. The massive bowl is loaded with flavor—slightly sour and quite spicy—and crowned with a generous clump of cilantro to brighten things up. Bring a friend (or three) to help take this iconic Chinatown classic on.
6. Mei Lai Wah
Discover one of the best Chinatown restaurants at Mei Lai Wah, a teensy little spot celebrated city-wide since the 1960s for their unrivaled baked pork buns. There are a few bun varieties, but stick with the classic baked buns with barbecue pork. The golden egg wash top literally gleams in the daylight, the dough is fluffy and light as air, and the pork interior is a level of caramel-sweet that toes the line between meal and dessert. The resulting flavor is so bold it is genuinely shocking. And at just $1.50 per bun, it seems too good to be true (so make sure to get several). If the buns aren’t quite enough to fill your stomach, try their popular noodle rolls.
Mei Lai Wah
$ Bakeries, Dim Sum, Noodles
5. Super Taste
Glamour definitely isn’t the objective at this tiny Lanzhou-style, hand-pulled-noodle shop near the outskirts of Chinatown. But looks aren’t what you’re here for anyway. One of the best restaurants in Chinatown, Super Taste blesses us all with one of the tastiest bowls of noodle soup in the city. The No. 2, aka Hand-Pull Noodle with Beef in Hot & Spicy Soup, comes loaded to the brim with totally fresh, totally homemade noodles. Chunks of beef, glistening and interwoven with streaks of fat, float in a salty, zesty broth. If you’re not feeling soup-y, their hot sesame noodles are also a hit. And you can’t leave without their house pork bao. The slabs of tender pork—encrusted in peanuts and cilantro and encased in cloud-like buns with a punchy-sweet sauce drizzle on top—are truly decadent.
$ Chinese, Noodles
4. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
The dumpling landscape in NYC is, to put it lightly, wildly competitive. Yet, despite the vast competition, Shu Jiao Fu Zhou is light years ahead of other contenders. Extra juicy, flawlessly chewy, and a little bit sweet, their pork and chive dumplings are perfection swathed in crinkly dough—and only one of the reasons they make our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown. The other reason? Their whole wheat peanut noodles. They come homemade, springy, and just crumpled enough to catch every ounce of the creamy, nutty sauce they’re bathed in. Layers of sweetness and spice add dizzying complexity to a simple dish, which will be gone before you can say, “whoa.”
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
3. Banh Mi Saigon Bakery
Between the just-baked baguette, the savory pâté, and the caramelized pork on this Chinatown sandwich, you won’t be able to think straight. Banh Mi Saigon Bakery provides the apex of the Vietnamese banh mi specialty in their BBQ pork sandwich. With every bite so packed with flavor, it’s hard to tell where the sweet chunks of cucumber begin and the pickled carrots end. Flakey, crunchy, creamy, chewy, juicy—the textures are just as varied as the flavors. Don’t forget to ask for some heat and they’ll even slather on some sriracha and jalapeños. It’s a sandwich experience you’ll never want to forget, hence its spot on our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown.
Banh Mi Saigon Bakery
$ Vietnamese, Sandwiches
2. Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
Their iconic yet unassuming blue awning flashes from a distance, drawing you toward the homey open kitchen where you can watch your noodles get smacked and slinged into shape in front of your eyes. Tasty Hand-Pulled noodles is a tiny hole in the wall that serves some of the best noodles, not just in Chinatown, but in all of NYC. Specifically, the pan-fried noodles with roast pork. They are tender, springy, thick, and chewy all at once. The pork is tinged pink around the edges, supple, and perfectly flavored. The noodles are as authentic as you can get, coated in a dense sauce that isn’t overly oily and creates the optimal slurp factor so you can gobble them up with ease. Want more dim sum? Tasty offers the full experience, and it’s all absurdly good.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
$$ Chinese, Noodles
1. Hwa Yuan Szechuan
Hwa Yuan Sezhuan opened in 2017 as a re-birth of one of Chinatown’s most popular restaurants from the 60s. Initially famous for their sweet and zesty cold sesame noodles, their Beijing duck is a sophisticated art form. After a lengthy preparation process involving pumping air into the skin and oven-roasting to achieve its crispy glory, they carve the duck table-side to ensure peak freshness. Before serving, they make sure to shave off a few lustrous, buttery pieces of duck skin for you to try. Hot and succulent, the pieces hit your tongue like the softest velvet, gliding down your throat with ridiculous, luxurious ease. For the main affair, wrap the now-sliced duck in thin, doughy crepes with dollops of hoisin sauce and slices of crunchy pear, fresh cucumber, and scallion. It’s hands-down one of NYC’s best peking ducks, and absolutely one of the best restaurants in Chinatown.
Hwa Yuan Szechuan