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Why don't you eat in Chinatown?

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Chinatown is certainly growing in size, and certainly people have their faves (Joe's Shanghai, Peking Duck House, Noodletown, etc) but it doesn't seem that there has been a "hit" in Chinatown (a place with broader appeal) for a while. What is it that keeps you from trying the 100 other restaurants in Chinatown, or going more often? Pet peeves, gripes, xenophobia, let 'em fly...Or what's missing?

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  1. joe's shanghai hasn't been good for maybe 11 years, peking duck house hasn't been good for much at all, noodletown has some appeal, but its been outpaced by so many other restaurants, all of which show evidence of new visitors and new favorites, but also quality that isn't a flash in the pan. Local media features plenty of guides to chinatown (TimeOut, NYT, PR from the Explore Chinatown/Taste of Chinatown) which point out emerging restaurants (flower almond bistro, amazing 66), recent favorites (moon house, shanghai cafe, yeah shanghai deluxe, chanoodle, new green bo, singapore cafe) as well as old standbys (golden unicorn, ping's, nyonya, new malaysia, and even wo hop, etc.) on top of all the random vendors and casual places (various dumpling stands, pho and banhmi vendors, dessert shops and bakeries). and the above is by no means an exhaustive list, or even a definitive or hallowed list, I could go on and on and there'd surely be many other additions and subtractions to some of the places mentioned.

    out of all this, what makes you think that people are afraid to eat in chinatown? the area has recovered well since 9/11 and the new publicity initiatives come out of that new funding. restaurants have turned over but due to its expansion, folks are actually headed out to the eastern part now, while the western border hasn't changed. I'm not sure that any restaurant category needs anything with broader appeal (McDonald's, perhaps?); all of the establishments would certainly want to grow their clientele but not in a way that requires them to change anything in order to attract a different kind of audience; the one they have is fine. walk through chinatown during any meal-hour or even an off-hour (not to mention the weekends, which are amazingly packed) and and you'll find the sidewalks bustling, lines long and restaurants full; what further proof do you need?

    there are so many different types of diners (tourists from out of town/country, people who actually live on Division, Eldridge or Canal, local new yorkers familiar with the area, intrepid chowhounds, zagat-exclusive elitists, students, outer-borough families who haven't been to chinatown in years) and so many different options; Chinatown is almost a utopia of a dining destination representing dozens of different countries and hundreds of styles; why must there be a homogeneous representation out there? those which attempt to cover all the bases fail (Sweet and Tart for example) but who needs an "asian" applebees anyway?

    I don't think Chinatown is lacking anything and will just continue to offer the greatest density and variety of eating in any area of new york city.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bigjeff

      I disagree re: Peking Duck House. There are cheaper places. Their Peking duck (except for China) is some of the best I have had. I

      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        For Peking Duck House, its not a matter of price, but of the experience. Sure, plenty of people like it because its the "cleanest" place in Chinatown, but that doesn't mean anything for me. I had to ask for the duck soup that usually comes from places like Tai Hong Lau and Ping's and other places with good peking duck, and the rest of the meal was terrible; I ate there and ordered maybe 5 other dishes for our group of 4 and all of it was extremely generic food. Its not so much more expensive, but I just didn't like the fake chi-chi attitude I got from the restaurant.

        1. re: bigjeff

          Appreciate your perspective. We never get the soup either . . . . Maybe because all Westerners eat there? I don't care about clean I've been to Peking (I mean Beijing) and Hong Kong. Sometimes the frayed/dirtiest looking places are the best. I've only had good experiences at Peking Duck House so far (but only order the duck when I go). Maybe I should try the peking duck someplace new.

          1. re: bigjeff

            I haven't been in a few years, but I still crave the veggie dumplings at Peking Duck House... they are fantastic!

            1. re: harryharry

              Thanks, harry harry. Maybe I'll have to try something besides the duck starting w/dumplings!

        2. re: bigjeff

          Actually business is still suffering with the closing of factories in chinatown.

        3. I'm not sure I'd like to eat in a Chinatown restaurant that shoots for "broader appeal". I eat there at least 3 times a week and never in the same place twice in a row. I also read a few 'hounds who try most every place, identify the cuisine by region, then I'll follow up on their recommendations. And since I live within walking distance, I almost never visit to Joe's Shanghai or Noodletown or any of the more popular joints, unless it's to accompany a friend with a specific craving (after all, Goodies delivers xiao lung bao and soft shell crabs ;)

          The question is-- are there any restaurant's that you never get to visit because you get "intercepted" by another on the way there? Lol.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bokkyo

            bokkyo, love the last sentence. perfect thought!

            1. re: bigjeff

              Thanks bigjeff! In fact, it happened today-- I finally convinced my Hunanese lunch buddy to try triple 88 dimsum/88 palace inside the East Broadway mall. Although he did agree, on the way there there was some chowdrama and eventually we ended up in his favorite, Golden Unicorn. I guess he's just retaliating because yesterday I did the same last minute and switched to Vegetarian Dimsum instead of House of Vegetarian. :D

          2. A lot of the best Chinese food is now in Flushing, Queens. There are big spaces there where restaurants can do bigger things. There are also some wonderful little restaurants in the Chinese section of Park Slope, Brooklyn. So one reason that some people might not go to Chinatown is because they don't have to go there to get great Chinese food.

            11 Replies
            1. re: inuksuk

              do you mean Sunset Park in Brooklyn? The area has been chinese/asian for many years, and is certainly opening up with new types of restaurants, but being an outer-borough destination (o horror!) it is missing an audience that would otherwise want to get out there and enjoy some of that grub. chinatown remains the most accessible as a destination, but its great for queens and brooklyn residents to have all of these nexuses available to them. I do think the Flushing surge is wonderful, for sure.

              1. re: bigjeff

                Oops, yeah, I mean Sunset Park. Three months away from Brooklyn and it's all starting to blur. And no, there are not too many destination restaurants there yet but if Sunset Park is on the line between wherever you are and Chinatown more and more people are going to take the short route to good Chinese food. Especially if they want to drive and park.

                1. re: inuksuk

                  So far I am very unimpressed with Sunset Park but I hold out hope...Flushing is so far from me now while Sunset Park is doable.

                  1. re: NancyC

                    if you live even further out, apparently there are some great places out in Bensonhurst, which is slowly getting populated with Chinese folks. Supposed to be a dim-sum palace out there which is the best in the city. And not to mention in Sunset Park, there is some 2nd floor dimsum palace which is supposed to be quite good as well (Pacficana). I actually haven't explore as much of Sunset Park as I like, but its about a 10 block stretch or so along 8th Avenue and when I went, it was absolutely bustling with activity so I assume there must be something there worth eating.

                    1. re: bigjeff

                      True...now that summer's here I should really take some time for some slow strolling around the area to familiarize. I've been 3 times, all sort of spaced out and each time only had dim sum, but each time it was pretty bad. I haven't tried the place you mentioned though, will check it out!

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        world tong is probably the bensonhurst-area place you're thinking of. it can be inconsistant, and you have to go very early to avoid uncomfortable crowding, but when it's on it's sublime and even when it's off i think it's better than most places.

                      2. re: NancyC

                        There are actually some great places in Sunset Park. I haven't posted about many of them, however. Agree that the dim sum is generally pretty bad, but I'd like to try Pacificana.

                        1. re: Peter Cuce

                          I found Pacificana to be unimpressive, though I think there's free parking in the adjacent garage, if that's enough of a draw. I still think Gum Fung in Flushing is the best Dim Sum I've had in a long time - well worth the trip.

                          1. re: foodluvngal

                            ok if the free parking isn't enough of a draw, how about the fact that they have a website? if you wait for the second image to keep rotating on that homepage, it even cycles through to a kitchen shot; pretty funny.

                            http://www.sunset-park.com/mall/PACIF...

                            glad to hear queens still holds it down. and if you do get out to flushing and want to try a newer place, head to the renovated Ocean Jewels, across from the main entrance of the Flushing Mall. It used to be another banquet-type place before, and has nice dim sum as well.

                            1. re: bigjeff

                              we liked the dim sum at pacificana, although it wasn't exciting if that makes any sense. still, things were fresh and the staff were friendly and helpful.

                        2. re: NancyC

                          chow digest about sunset park finds:

                          http://www.chow.com/digest/2511

                  2. I live by Chinatown. I shop and eat there regularly. It is a good value (sometimes even cheap). I buy my roast duck at Kam man. And there is Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - red bean and ginger are my favorites.

                    1. I wish there were more variety of restaurants like in Flushing. They need to think outside of the Cantonese-Shanghai box. I would KILL for a good Yunnan restaurant, for example. I like wandering around Chinatown but I just can't stand Canal Street, particularly on the weekends.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lucybobo

                        Agree Canal Street, Chinatown, Little Italy the whole area on weekends is the worst! I try to go on weekdays. Want I go back to school next week, that option will be gone .

                      2. This post reminds me of the old Yogi Berra quote. "nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded."

                        1. Where is the best place in Chinatown (or Flushing) to get thousand year old eggs? I haven't had them since I was in Peking.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            They sell them at most supermarkets -- Kam Man on Canal, the grocery on Mulberry just south of Canal.

                            1. re: batterypark

                              Thanks Battery Park. Next time I buy roast duck at Kam Man I'll look for them there.

                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Disclaimer: I've never been to Peking, let alone tried the thousand year old eggs there, so I can't speak to your standards.That said, I found the version I ate at Cantoon Gardens, the old standby on Elizabeth Street bet. Canal and Bayard, to be delicious, the most memorable Cantonese dish I've had in many a moon. It is layered along with another kind of egg - I forget the name - on top of a tower of peashoots, the juices gathering in a moat at the bottom of the plate. A sight to behold.
                              P.

                              1. re: Polecat

                                Thanks, polecat. Sounds great. I'm a fairly brave eater (just prefer not to get sick so not as brave w/"unknown" restaurants in Chinatown or elsewhere) but will probably not have sea slugs or purple-ish fish sauce again . . .

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  Cantoon Gardens - don't know if you've been there or heard about it - has been around for quite some time, and has been written up on this board. Do a search and check it out.
                                  P.

                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                    fdr, Cantoon Garden should be safe, arguably one of the best cantonese in Chinatown. Not too "gweilo" friendly but check out Brian S' review:
                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/372516

                                    Oh and as for thousand year eggs, Goody's has appetizer #28:
                                    http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bi...
                                    and they deliver ;)

                                    1. re: bokkyo

                                      polecat/bokkyo/bigieff, thanks. Definitely need to explore Chinatown more vs. eat at the same usual spots. Not sure if I've eaten there already. Plan to check it out.

                                  2. re: Polecat

                                    ya, I've heard of that dish there at cantoon garden; supposed to be crazy. usually I've only pei-dan in congee or as a cold salad: over silken tofu, layered with bonito, scallion, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil.

                                2. I always feel as if you need at least 5 people to go to most Chinese venues, so you can order a wide variety of dishes. It's harder and harder to get a large group to all meet ON TIME in one place. While I don't share this sentiment, one buddy refuses to eat where there's a subterranean kitchen. He's convinced rats are more prevalent. He certainly gave me pause to consider that, but I feel hygiene is either observed or not, wherever the kitchen lays. I grew up going there, ending up at Ferarra's for ice cream or a cannoli. My favourite is Szechuan, so when I do go for Chinese it's usually not in Chinatown.

                                  1. I live close by chinatown and eat there 7 times a week. I love it and I wish more people would too but after reading reviews about it, I realized everyone is a harsh critic. Chinese restaurants are not consistent I agree and not everything on the menu is recommended so one must know how/what to order. I also wish we have Taiwanese and better Thai restaurants here.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: DarthEater

                                      I wish there were Taiwanese places too! Well, actually I guess there are, I remember seeing a post a while back but haven't tried them yet. Hmm...should have taken my mom this week so she could critique.

                                      My main reason for avoiding Chinatown is the crowd, although I do need to make an semi-monthly purchase of frozen dumplings at Deluxe Food Market. I find I shop there more than I eat, and when I eat it's either a) because friends wanted dim sum and no one wanted to go to Flushing or b) it's at one of the casual limited-item places that I love, like dumpling shops, bakeries, etc.

                                      That said, I think Yeah Shanghai is pretty good.

                                      1. re: NancyC

                                        Excellent Pork Chop House was supposed to be a good taiwanese place, at least, offering a good taiwanese-style pork chop over rice platter, but I thought it was terrible, and nowhere near my personal standard, Laifood circa '02 in Flushing. Now that the place has changed hands (a few times already I think and a rumor that it went back to the originals), it just isn't as good. Strangely, Taiwanese places are hard to find and even in Queens, I can only think of David's (or Lin's, now) Taiwanese in Elmhurst, and in Flushing, Ku-Shiang and maybe that stall at the Flushing Mall. Always on the hunt for some traditional stuff, and its often found under the guise of some other kind of restaurant. Some of the casual places feel like taiwanese-style (even Sweet and Tart, now closed, so maybe Sago Cafe) but then again, the cuisine itself is sort of hard to get a good handle on. I do reminisce for the days of Fortuna and its shave ice though.

                                        And to Yeah Shanghai, it used to be my go-to place but now, I'll go to Moon House for consistently good Shanghainese.

                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                          Mmm...everything on Moon House's menu sounds delicious! How are their soup dumplings?

                                          I've been to David's years and years ago...can't remember what I had. I miss Sweet 'n Tart, but that wasn't Taiwanese, was it?

                                          Even if Laifood isn't as good as it was, is it still the best option?

                                          I believe I found this article through chowhound:
                                          http://nymag.com/daily/food/2006/10/a...
                                          but couldn't find many postings about any of those restaurants. Would love to know how Good Good Taste is because even though it's kind of inconvenient, it would still take less time to get there than Flushing...

                                          1. re: NancyC

                                            I'm still in love with laifoods porkchop, or should I say Lu's seafood porkchop because I still haven't found one that tops it. Good Good Taste is Fuzhounese food. I'm pretty positive. However, a majority of Taiwanese people are descendants of fujian.
                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujian
                                            http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/As...

                                            1. re: NancyC

                                              i just ate at moon house for the first time at my friend's recommendation and it was pretty darn good. we had shredded beef with jalapenos - which i noticed a lot of patrons eating. we also had tiny fried buns and steamed crab and pork dumplings.

                                              i avoid chinatown for many of the reasons listed above. it is far from where i live, it smells unpleasant in the summer, it is often crowded with annoying tourists and there is just way too much restaurant/ snack joint selection. i am scared to randomly walk into a place, and regret not picking the place next door later. i have to go with some prior recommendation. i basically only go there once every 2 months because i get my hair cut in chinatown. and i usually leave with great hair, containers of $1 dumplings, and a bunch of different bakery buns.

                                            2. re: bigjeff

                                              There are quite a few reasons my dining companions, native NYers or out-of-towners alike, and I don't visit Chinatown to eat. The most important to me are:
                                              1. While there are gems and specific dishes at specific restaurants, the average and overall quality of food is simply not very good for the same reasons one would not necessarily go to Little Italy for great Italian food. Or KTown, St. Marks, etc.
                                              2. The area as a whole is dilapidated and, on a warm humid day, is, shall we say, unpleasant and lacking in sanitary conditions.
                                              3. As a resident of Queens, Flushing and Elmhurst are much closer to me.
                                              4. For someone who is not Asian or does not speak the languages well enough, it can be a little intimidating.

                                              I'm pretty sure xenophobia isnt the reason for people to not eat in Chinatown. It may be the reason they do not visit Chinatown, but surely no more than that.

                                              And Jeff, you're absolutely right. The Taiwanese restaurants in Queens are few and far in between, relative to the ethnic population in the borough. David's is my favorite (And they'll always be David's to me at least. I didn't even notice their sign change until someone else told me, "Hey, this place isn't called David's?") But for various social, economic and historical reasons, this will be the case for the foreseeable future in New York, as well as in LA, SF, Vancouver and every other city outside of Taiwan.

                                              1. re: mengathon

                                                I would never in a million years put Chinatown (or K-town) on the same level as Little Italy. I doubt there's a good thing to be had in Little Italy. Little Italy is a theme park representing a formerly working class Italian neighborhood whereas Chinatown still has thousands and thousands of Chinese who live and work there.

                                                1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                  Amen.

                                                  1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                    You took the words out of my mouth. Same respects goes for Ktown and St. Marks.

                                                    1. re: DarthEater

                                                      You guys are probably right. It is unfair to put LI on the same level as the other places. My poorly made point was Chinatown, KTown and St. Marks do not necessarily have the best of their respective cuisines.

                                          2. Thanks for all of your great responses - i think that BigJeff may have misinterpreted what I had to say, the question of broader appeal is not about diluting anything - in a way you answered the question the roundabout way - many of the restaurants in Chinatown try to do too many things, or are not specialized enough with what they do to be identified. The reason why I used the three places as an example that I did (noodletown, joe's, and Peking Duck) are that they all have a specialty, one that customers can identify with.

                                            As for long lines and bustling business, I think that the reality is very different. The fact is, that, like KTinyc said. "it's so crowded no one goes there anymore" rings true. Dim sum is certainly busy, but brings an average of $9 per person in a very labor intensive and competitive segment. If you walk through Chinatown at 8pm on a recent Thursday say, there are many restaurants with a scarcity of customers (I am sure a fair share of those by good reason) and if business has bounced back so well (after sars scares and 9/11) why do there continue to be initiatives?

                                            next part of the question - when you eat in Chinatown, do you just expect bad/rude service, or does hope spring eternal?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: whiterabbit

                                              I have never received rude service at a Chinatown restaurant (but there's always a first time for everything . . .). I try not to be an Ugly American. I've traveled to Asia and understand some of the cultural differences and a tiny bit of Mandarin. Chinatown has restaurants w/Western toilets and smells a lot better than parts of Hong Kong/China. Even the fish stalls don't bother me after experiencing Thailand markets on a hot day. P. S. Does anyone know where I can get potatoes with spun sugar in Chinatown? I had them in Xian and loved them. Not hopeful I can find them in the U.S.

                                              1. re: whiterabbit

                                                I thought there was some negativity in the setup of your question, in pre-supposing favorites from chinatown (always an opinion of course) as well as assuming people are avoiding the area for implied negative reasons. for every person who decides, "Oh, chinatown stinks" and avoids the area, there are two more who say "who cares how it stinks, the food is damn good and the choices are plenty." I just can't think of a reason why there needs to be a "hit" in an area which I feel is thriving, not withstanding statistics about factory worker flight or tourism statistics about 9/11 and unfair SARS characterizations. does chinatown need some sort of broadly appaling "anchor" from which success/access can be attached too? Does that exist in any other area, like Kum Gang San to K-town or Umberto's in Little Italy? I don't think it works that way, and to pre-suppose that so many people are avoiding chinatown for implied negative reasons is an insult to what businesses are trying to do in the area.

                                                with that said, there are some great responses about the very real negative things that people experience when dining in chinatown and, those things happen. but rude service happens everywhere, and not just because you don't speak the language or don't look like everyone else in the restaurant. from this community alone, so many of these emerging places are serving new and different food, getting visits from random chowhounders and "outsiders" and all this while lacking zagat stickers in their window or village voice clipping from sietsama, and I think that's what sustaining a neighborhood and its restaurants is all about instead of listing all the reasons why we don't or shouldn't go there.

                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                  There is definitely some negativity in the setup of the question (I hope it didn't seem like I was trying to hide it) but that's what I am curious about. As someone who is part of the Chinese American community (but raised outside of Chinatown) I have asked the very same questions that I have asked here and been met with a lot of responses that were not nearly as thought out as the ones received here. A lot of the most negative things I have heard about restaurants in Chinatown I have heard from those that live there, and were raised there. It is something I don't hear from friends who were brought up going to K-Town, or other friends with Thai or Filipino backgrounds.

                                                  I think that the majority of people that read this board tend to be very open minded, adventurous, and supportive of restaurants that may, however temporarily, find themselves on the culinary frontier. We are all the better for it. I ask this question here because I think that it is those that have the greatest openness whom provide the greatest insight into those who lack it.

                                                  When I ask about what might have some broader appeal, I don't mean that the food should be dumbed down, only that it becomes popular, or popular enough to sustain itself. I don't think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive.

                                                  About "anchors", though is that regardless of whether or not a geographical area is associated with a particular style of food (whether it be ethnicity or level of service, the Alice Waters treatment, etc) there can be a place that "anchors" that draw to the area. For instance, I can believe that Marco Canora's Hearth influenced David Chang's choice of first avenue for Momofuku.

                                                  Thanks again, this has been very enlightening.

                                                  btw, financialdistrictresident, I have never had the potatos with spun sugar, but there used to be a guy on bowery near pell who spun sugar into a fine coccoon around a nut and caramel bar, for a treat my father called "dragon whiskers" which sounds like a relative of what you are looking for.

                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                    Well put Jeff. I agree for the most part. But pre-supposing that so many people are avoiding Chinatown for implied negative reasons is, in my opinion, not an insult to what businesses are trying to do in the area, but rather a truthful reflection of the attitudes and preferences of many diners.

                                                  2. re: whiterabbit

                                                    I think too much is made of the so-called rude service in Chinatown.
                                                    In some newer places, like Amazing 66 on Mott, the service is friendly, solicitous and gracious. At others, such as New Green Bo - a lightning rod for rude service criticism - the service is what I would call brusk, but, in many visits, I've also experienced it to be efficient and competent. As far as what I hope for, it's more along the lines of more expansive variety of regional cuisines, more and different restaurants and dishes to try.
                                                    I can live without service with a smile.
                                                    P.

                                                  3. While I don't agree with the basic premise of the question, I do recognize that New York Chinatown is not exactly full of destination eateries. There are numerous reasons for this. The resident population is either Cantonese or Fujianese in origin, so the restaurants generally either target these groups, or unsophisticated tourists. Also a lot of the restaurants are targeting the low end audience, as a good portion of the local populace are poorer Fujianese immigrants and workers passing through Little Fuzhou on their way to new jobs in other cities. Also I estimate somewhere between 200 and 300 restaurants already in Chinatown, and I'm not sure who's going to make the capital investment that would be required to try to hit a home run amidst all that competition.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                      just want to add that many of the picks and finds on CH are certainly chowhounds taking advantage of shifting populations (and their dietary habits) in the area, which is great, and that might be the same in other areas, when it comes to cheap finds or interesting food meant only for natives/locals, etc. many of these "graduate" to the mainstream somehow, or at least to the new york mainstream, although not necessarily the out-of-towner mainstream. but does anyone set out purposefully to attract a different audience? Big 6 comes to mind, which was trying something kinda different, but ultimately failed, and flower almond bistro as well. is there a reason why big restauranteurs won't come right into the heart of chinatown, and instead open something nearby, say, the people who opened chinatown brasserie or even JGV who has 66. hell even places like buddakan must represent asian food for the "masses," why not open in chinatown instead of the meatpacking district?

                                                      also wanted to add this link (http://nymag.com/guides/everything/27...) from New York Magazine's guide to chinatown, a perfect example of the local media really embracing the neighborhood and it's intricacies. granted, there's a lot of zak pelaccio (nymag loves that guy!) but, that's okay.

                                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                                        You do raise a good point in that foodwise New York Chinatown is stuck in the 1990s. In both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas the past five years have seen a new wave of Hong Kong style restaurants markedly different from the Jing Fongs, Golden Unicorns, etc. The restaurants are more upscale and the food is more delicate and innovative. I would think something like that could do well in Manhattan Chinatown, but it doesn't seem like anyone has seen fit to be the first to take the plunge.

                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                          If NYChinatown is stuck in the 1990's (maybe even older), doesn't that classify us more old school authentic than say the new wave cuisine of Californias?

                                                          1. re: DarthEater

                                                            Well, the new wave is authentic as it reflects trends that are originating in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. The old school Chinatown food reflects the culture (albeit watered down for American tastes) of the Toishanese Americans who came to the United States from China from the time of the Gold Rush until the 1950s. The food, and indeed the culture of that group of immigrants reflected that of the homeland from which they came, and continued in the United States without evolution. However, by the time of the next wave of Chinese immigration in the 1960s and 1970s from Hong Kong and other destinations that culture was obsolete. Indeed, vocabulary words that we Chinese Americans of Toishanese origin still use today are literally considered archaic back in the old country. So I guess technically the old school stuff is authentic, but because it's caught in a time warp many people do not consider it authentic.

                                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                                              How can you say my culture is obsolete and archaic? The villages still exists in China. In United States, were just harder to identify now. I was born here in NYC and I know whats authentic. We know what is authentic.

                                                              1. re: DarthEater

                                                                Not sure about how it is in China but I would agree that Toishanese in Chinatown is gonna be obsolete once the current generation is gone. I can't think of anyone (Chinese Americans) under 50-60 that speaks it.

                                                                1. re: DarthEater

                                                                  Well I'm Toishanese too and the stuff we thought to be authentic in the 1950s and 1960s is barely palletatble these days in light of the Hong Kong style seafood invasion of the 1980s and all of the subsequent trends. For example, dim sum used to be three varieties--large steamed cha shu bao made with tasteless dough, ha gao and siu mai. And the stuff that was really good--like pig stomach--turns out to be terribly unhealthy!

                                                            2. re: Chandavkl

                                                              my only questions chandavkl, is, are these new places opening right in the chinatowns of these two cities? I've only been to the SF chinatown and the main one seemed real ornate w/ the arches and decorations all over the place and it actually pre-dates most other chinatowns in the country (I think). I also know there are a few different chinatowns in SF, another one being the one in the NW corner of the city (forget the name, but my local friends prefer it). anyway, so geographically, I wonder where some of these nouveau places are opening, and is there an equivalent here? A funny thought comes to mind: if they opened a P.F. Chang's in Manhattan's Chinatown, I bet it would do killer business.

                                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                                You're right that the new wave is not in Chinatown, either San Francisco or Los Angeles. But Manhattan Chinatown is more "authentic" than those of Los Angeles or San Francisco, which have large suburban areas of Chinese influence scattered all over the metro area and to whose residents Chinatown is an anachronism. And yes, I know about Flushing, Sunset Park and Avenue U, but the new wave hasn't hit there either.

                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                  Any even funnier thought: a P.F, Changs in CHINA would do even better. Just look at KFC, an import of U.S.

                                                          2. I grew up in Chinatown, and can honestly say the general quality of food, specifically Cantonese, has gone down. Another thing is that Chinatown is dirtier and smellier than ever! I really wish restaurant would clean up better and pay their employees better too—and I don't mind paying more for food.

                                                            1. I do eat frequently in Chinatown. I was going to ask what you meant by "broader appeal" but I see that you defined it downthread as food that is "popular, or popular enough to sustain itself." You don't think there are restaurants in Chinatown that are popular enough to sustain themselves?

                                                              Anyway, I like Great N.Y. Noodletown, but off the top of my head, I'd recommend dim sum at Dim Sum Go Go, Vietnamese sandwiches at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, and Malaysian food at Skyway - three places you didn't mention.