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Feb 23, 2008 10:33 AM

"Coolest" Chinatown for teens?

I'm taking two amazing sixteen year cousins in town from Maine to Chinatown for dinner---would LOVE suggestions--where is the food amazing and the ambiance impressive? Thank you!!!

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  1. I'd say Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth St. I wouldn't call the food amazing, but it's fairly good. But the ambience is probably the closest feel to being in a Hong Kong seafood palace that you can find in New York. Also the high escalator from the entrance into the dining room is quite impressive. A slightly different choice might be East Market Restaurant, 75-85 East Broadway on the second floor. This is another large banquet sized restaurant and what makes it interesting is the restaurant along with the surrounding shopping area will make you feel like you've been transported to a working class area somewhere in China. No English spoken, little English signage except for Hillary Clinton posters. Indeed, the restaurant does not even have an English language menu, though the inside covers of the menu picture a small number of dishes with English descriptions. While it's not that unusual for small restaurants in Manhattan Chinatown to have menus in Chinese only, it's virtually unheard of for Chinese restaurants of that size.

    1. I'd say, take 'em to a place with great food, like Amazing 66 or maybe Cantoon Garden. For the cool thing, try to get to Chinatown before sunset, then walk north on Mott past Canal, and one block in is an amazing long block where everything from live fish to Chinese dried herbal medicines is sold on the street by sidewalk vendors. After that, you can turn left on Grand and then left on Mulberry and bang! You're in Italy! (or a tourist version of it.)

      1. I am actually going to differ from the suggestions for other hounds. I think if the guests are slightly older like twenty-ish, I will most certainly bring them to Amazing 66 or family-like restaurants. However, for 16-year-old, I think Congee Village may be more appealing to them. CV serves Hong Kong bistro styled food, ranging from dim sum to stir fry, casseroles, to baked spagetti and desserts. It is sort of the places that young people like to hang out for dinner and even karaoke (they have private rooms) because the food is cheap and has a large variety. The food is quite good, not as good as Amazing 66, but I think the ambiance plus the types of food will be more fun for the teens. Having bubble teas is certainly a plus for some younger diners!
        The vibe is definitely younger and more lively at CV than Jing Fong and Amazing 66. In CV, you will see tables of just young friends or families, whereas at Jing Fong and Amazing, the clienteles tend to be more adults or if young people they are usually eating with families, supposingly because they serve more formal Cantonese food,

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko

          I'm going to have to agree with you about this one. While Jing Fong, Cantoon Garden and Amazing 66 have decent food, I don't think it's the "cool" teen atmosphere that the is looking for.

          In addition to Congee Village, I think something like XO Kitchen will fit the bill as well. It's been a while since I've been, but I always felt that I've increased the average age when going there (and I'm only in my thirties).

        2. For dessert you have to take them to the Famous Chinatown Ice cream Factory on Bayard St. if only to buy the coolest t-shirt in nyc. The exotic ice cream flavors are not bad either. Although, I have taken young friends on a ten minute walk after buying a shirt to eat at Il Laboratorio Del Gelato ;o)

          2 Replies
          1. re: seal

            agreed with seal, you have try the chinatown factory and get t-shirts which are souvenir-ish and hipster-ish at the same time, it will make their high school friends quite envious. :). Bubble Tea at Ten Ren or Quickly will also make a great treat as well. Asian Teenagers love hanging out at these "cafe" type places, if you are looking for something more youthful.

            1. re: seal

              I totally agree that Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a must for dessert. I took friends from down South there last year and when they came back to the city a couple weeks ago, we hit Chinatown again, and they insisted we get ice cream.

              Here's a link to a photo I took of the menu while we were there. You can also see some of the t-shirts in the background.


              Your Maine cousins might get a kick out of the fact that they even have Wild Blueberry ice cream. :)

            2. I really like going to Vivi Bubble Tea at 49 Bayard Street. It's really cute and they have a membership where you get your 5th drink free and after you get 20% off. They are really friendly there as well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: teresa

                I'll second Vivi for a post dinner boba drink. While New York generally falls short of other Chinese communities when it comes to boba parlors, I personally like Vivi as much as any such place I've been anywhere.

                1. re: teresa

                  A snapshot from Vivi. Mmm, hot herb jelly!