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Feb 6, 2000 03:39 PM

Where is Baltimore's Chinatown?

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Seems like every city in the world has a Chinatown, except for this one. Is there some secret Asian neighborhood hiding somewhere? I know there are some good Asian (I think Korean) stores around North Ave. and Charles/St. Paul for ingredients, but what about restaurants? Anybody know good Mandarin, or Vietnamese, or Thai?

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  1. Baltimore DID have a Chinatown, but it's pretty much vanished. You might still find remnants of it on Park Ave. (300 block or so) downtown.

    Balto.'s Asian restaurant scene is very diffuse. However, there are some very good Chinese restaurants out in the Pikesville-Randallstown-Owings Mills area.

    Japanese, Thai, and Korean restaurants are scattered throughout the city. For Vietnamese, come down to Northern Virginia.

    1. Hi! I will be in Baltimore area and was wondering if there is a Chinatown. I thought I saw an article back in 2008 saying that there might be a possibility.


      22 Replies
      1. re: wench31

        Wow - 10 years between the last post and this one. That has to be some kind of a record!

        But the answer is still the same: Baltimore does not have a Chinatown. Period.

        1. re: crackers

          Baltimore today has no Chinatown. Once upon a time Chinatown was down on Park avenue. After World War Two, Jimmy Wu opened the New China Inn on north Charles street, and then there arose a mini-Chinatown on Greenmount avenue, north of 33rd Street. The decline of urban Baltimore led to the demise of both of these areas. I believe that the Thai Restaurant still operates on Greenmount, but are there any Chinese restaurants still operating there?

            1. re: crowsonguy

              hi crowsonguy, can you please give me the streets where Chinatown is in odenton? Are there any restaurants that you'd recommend?

                1. re: wench31

                  To help clarify these potentially confusing one-liners for you, wench31: there is actually no chinatown in odenton. What happens to be there is a singular place that is very popular called grace garden (see gregb's post for location and reviews).

                  1. re: Wangus

                    But Odenton IS NOT really in (Its wayy out Anne Arundel County)

                    The place mentioned Grace, is living off its reputation. Plus, if you like lots of fishy kind entrees Grace should serve you well.

                    Jumbo Seafood in Baltimore has been around ages and has a long standing reputation. There is also a place called Szechuan House in Lutherville on York Road...Avoid that place at all costs. Poor quality food, but others seem to think it can depend on the chef the night. w/e

                    Otherwise, there really is no Chinatown here...

                    1. re: EatNLoveLife

                      We actually had dim sum in one of the few remaining places in what used to be Baltimore's Chinatown a few years ago and it was good. There are a couple of chinese stores and restaurants there but, yeah, it's mostly gone. Some vacant storefronts with Chinatown-style decorations are still just sitting there. It's worth a trip for people interested in urban history and how neighborhoods change but it's not a functioning Chinatown.

                      1. re: kukubura

                        You might be talking about Chinatown Cafe on Park, and it's closed.

                          1. re: kukubura

                            The former Chinatown Cafe is now Zhongshan, search this board for that name, Some like it, some don't. I give it a "B" which is great for Baltimore City.

                              1. re: chowsearch

                                Mine, too. I thought it was really, really bad. Chinatown cafe was so much better. Incidentally, if anyone knows of decent Chinese takeout in the city, I'd love to hear about it.

                      2. re: EatNLoveLife

                        Grace Garden, while a hole in the wall, is the only Chinese place I've been to in the B'more area that would be at home in a major city Chinatown. I rank it up there with the better places in the DC area.

                2. re: elgringoviejo

                  Isn't there an Uncle Lee's by Thai Restaurant? Haven't eaten there in 15 years so I may be way out of date.

                  1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                    The original Uncle Lee's in Waverly has been gone for many years. Uncle Lee's in the Inner Harbor is still around as far as I know.

                    The original Uncle Lee's was the first place I ever had Szechwan food back in the early 1980's. Back then, Szechwan food was a new and exotic thing in Baltimore.

                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                      Back in the late 70s and very 80s, there was the Szechuan Restaurant on South Charles in Federal Hill. The hot and sour soup there really was peppery and vinegary (it became my personal gold standard if not an authentic one). And the kung pao chicken was good too.

                      1. re: MartinDC

                        Kirby's Szechuan is still there and still good at
                        1125 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230
                        and are in the current Zagat online voting period's list.
                        They were not part of the old Chinatown. Kirby came to be an engineer on the subway construction and brought his parents. They cooked, and learned English by watching daytime soaps. That place on Charles at 25th helped them set up, and dishes dedicated to him are still on the menu, like Chicken Paul. The twice-cooked pork is good. They're used to spicing down for the audience but prefer to cook hot.

                        1. re: chowsearch

                          I first had Szechuan food in Baltimore around 1975 in a restaurant in the aprtment house across from the Hopkins House. I hremember it as fiery and good and similar to what I had had in NYC and DC. i don't recall the name of the place or what happened to it.

                          1. re: tartuffe

                            Thanks, thanks! I tried but failed to turn up the place near Hopkins House. Kirby's is right around the corner and delivers. Oh joy!!!

                1. re: wench31

                  I read that article too. I remember it because I had never heard of the Chinatown on Park Ave before. I found this by googling; according to the cached page it looks like it was published in Baltimore Mag in August 2006.


                2. Unlike the energies of Chinatowns in LA and NYC migrating to the burbs like Monterey Park and Flushing but leaving old stalwarts (and jobs) behind, ours just kind of petered out and we had only suburban stripmall places and memories of Mee Jun Low (Irene?) and White Rice Inn around Park and Saratoga. There is one place left in the old Chinese Benevolent building, but it is all show and should be skipped.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowsearch

                    From Charmedgirl's Baltimore Magazine story, the Chinatown history project:

                    1. re: chowsearch

                      There IS an "Asian" mostly Korean area in Baltimore's right around Maryland and Howard streets...I understand that it used to be much more inhabited, but they do have several stand out Korean restaurants such as Nam Kang!!! (which by the way is open until the wee hours of the night!)...although it's not Chinese per say there are a lot Asian restaurants. My husband is Korean and we LOVE Nam Kang....

                      1. re: madisonlane240

                        It was to be an Asian development area, the properties were bought, the MVP bus was started to serve it and still stops there, I think by Tony Cheng, but the energy of real Asian development was out Rt 40 West and it kind of petered out. Nam Kang was already near it, Joung Kak and Nak Won opened and still are, Yakitori 1 came and went as did a chicken place and a grocery.

                        1. re: chowsearch

                          I still want to know what happened to Yakatori One, it wasn't for lack of business that they closed.

                          1. re: hon

                            And where can we find okonomiyaki like they had anywhere in DC-Baltimore?