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Three days in Chinatown

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  • wen Jul 22, 2008 02:41 AM
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Family of eight, (Northern) Chinese immigrant grandparents, ABC parents, Eurasian children, would like to do Chinese food immersion during three days stay in Chinatown. Looking for best shao bing/you tiao/soy milk breakfast, noodles, dim sum and northern (non-Cantonese) dinners. Recommendations appreciated.

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  1. Chinatown is a pretty popular thread. If you want a quick answer, just search "Chinatown" on the Manhattan board. This thread is pretty recent: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/540082. But there are countless others out there.

    1. 歡迎歡迎! I think you will be hard pressed to find everything you'd like under one roof. Chinatown is predominately Cantonese with a large influx of Fujianese in recent years. Some Cantonese places serve you tiao but not soy milk. For example Big Wong King (67 Mott Street - opens at 7:30 a.m.) and NY Noodletown (28 1/2 Bowery) both serve you tiao but not soy milk. New Chao Chao (111 Mott Street; opens at 8:00 a.m.) serves neither! I find the Fuzhou spots serve soy milk, but are not open until 10:00 a.m. usually ( Best Fuzhou at 68 Forsyth and Best Fuzhou at 71 Eldridge.) For noodle dishes I like Yogee Restaurant (85 Chrystie Street) Yummy Noodles (44 Bowery) New Chao Chao and NY Noodletown. It is worth visiting Deluxe Food Market at 79 Elizabeth Street for a vast array of Chinese treats. Here are some past threads you might find helpful:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/540082

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/525768

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/528055

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508038

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492376

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483902

      9 Replies
      1. re: scoopG

        The place on the northeast corner of Grand and (can't remember which cross street - Bowery? Elizabeth?) sells both soy milk and you tiao. Also along Grand, walking west, there are several places selling breakfast items.

        In addition to the categories covered in the above post's links:

        Sichuan: The best Sichuan in Manhattan is not in Chinatown. It is at Grand Sichuan in Chelsea at 229 9th Ave on the corner of 9th Ave and 24th St. and also a place I am completely forgetting the name . . . (not Wu Liang Ye) . It is definitely worth a venture out of Chinatown to try Grand Sichuan in Chelsea.

        Shanghai: Yeah Shanghai Deluxe on Bayard (there are a couple of other authentic Shanghai places in Chinatown, but not all are. Avoid New Green Bo like the plague)

        Fujian: The Nice Restaurant at 35 East Broadway (East Broadway is the hard core Fujian strip, also see place reviewed in link in above post)

        For lunch, I would consider adding Saigon Banh Mi to your list located at 138 Mott St (between Grand St & Hester St). Not Chinese, but they do banh mi quite well, the Vietnamese coffee is good too, and it might be a nice slight change of pace for everyone. You would take out and sit in a park - there are a couple small ones in the area.

        For a family with a profile like yours, you may want to go to Flushing sometime. You can learn about the food attractions of Flushing by doing a search on the Outer Boroughs board (including the downstairs food stalls at 41-28 Main St). Then the family could go to Spa Castle
        http://www.nyspacastle.com/eng/introd...

        1. re: eade

          Nice Restaurant closed down last year but there's a hundred other Fujian places east of Bowery. I'll reinforce the thought that the poster stick to Flushing rather than Manhattan Chinatown. Besides the fact that Chinatown is mostly Cantonese/Fujianese with some decent Shanghai style food, a lot of Chinatown food is geared towards (1) poor Fujianese immigrants and (2) tourists. These two factors are not at all present on the Flushing dining scene.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Flushing is great for Chinese (especially non-Cantonese) and has many draws - and certainly no tourists. But if you don't want to schlep all the way out there from Manhattan - there are plenty of good eats in Manhattan's Chinatown. Not true now about only poor Fujian immigrant eats. They are growing and expanding and opening new places every day. All of East Broadway is Fuzhou East now and the rents are not cheap. Sort of like the "L.A" Chinese dining scene - or should I say San Gabriel Valley? No one in CA is driving from Santa Monica to Pasedena for Chinese food.

            1. re: scoopG

              scoopG, we normally agree...but i gotta disagree with you on this one. Agree that there are new Fujian places opening everyday (which i think is generally exciting as its the only place in the US with this type of congregation of Fujian people), but you can't tell me they don't cater to poor Fujian immigrants, unfortunately most are quite poor and have trekked to the US and now work all over the eastern US in varying capacities and return to manhattan on a regular basis to get food, goods (not many chinese grocery stores in ohio etc) and to socialize with people who come from the same background and speak the same dialect...they are very similar to any other chinese immigrant (many of whom have now prospered and moved out of chinatown).

              With respect to LA you're wayyyy off as Chinese food in LA is generally not good unless you're going to SGV or select other chinese areas (I'm from there), go look up any post trying to find good chinese food on the westside and see what u find. I always have to trek out in LA to get great chinese food (although its well worth it as there is a lot of great chinese food in LA)

              1. re: Lau

                Yes, clearly New York Chinatown is unique with its poor and transitory Fujian population (as Jennifer 8 Lee points out in her book, as far as the Fujianese are concerned there's Manhattan and then there's the rest of the USA). That having been said, this does not mean that inexpensive restaurants serve bad food. Chinese culture holds such reverance for food that even poor people are entitled to tasty food. However, most of these places aren't going to be getting too fancy either, unless you're talking about a wedding hall banquet restaurant like East Market Restauant on East Broadway.

                1. re: Lau

                  We now have the next generation of Fujian entrepreneurs opening up more well heeled spots like American East Fuzhou (54 East Broadway) and Fuzhou Restaurant (1 East Broadway.) Even the new noodle shop at 2 East Broadway is a step up in decor and service from places like Super Taste. These places are not serving poor Fujianese. My point about L.A. is exactly what you have just said. L.A. is not SGV.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Chandavkl - not saying that equates to bad food by any means, in fact in most cultures i think the best food generally originates from food that was meant for the common worker (this is particularly true in chinese cuisine). My point is your second point that the fujian population is poor (unfortunate fact) and yes there maybe be special occasion places like wedding halls, but they are catering to a very common working class, nothing wrong with that at all, but i think its hard to argue any other way...chinatown was like this for cantonese a long time ago; they were poor, they saved and prospered and many moved out and this will happen for the newly immigrated Fujian as well. This is very different from say Ocean Jewel in Flushing as I know alot of families that eat there on a very regular basis who are well off though they weren't 20 yrs ago...case and point, when i was there yesterday half the cars were mercedes, lexus and even a couple bentleys, they're not poor anymore

                    scoopG - misinterpreted your point on LA and so we agree. I was never saying every place is a dump like super taste, but i stick to what i said above

                    All that said i think we're getting a bit off topic. Back to the original point that I think we'd all agree on that this is the only major enclave of fujian people in the US and where you'll be able to get the best Fujian food in the US, which is pretty exciting. I'm definitely not the master of Fujian food, but I've liked trying their restaurants.

                    scoopG - btw have you ever tried Rong Hang Restaurant which is right next to Huan Ji food court on Eldridge? I noticed it a few months ago and the last couple times I walked past it, its been totally packed (there are pics of some of the dishes on the window)

          2. re: scoopG

            Wow! Thanks a million!

            1. re: wen

              really suggest you hit flushing (post on the Outer Boroughs board)...all the specific things you requested are in flushing (and are better there) and some of the things u requested specifically shao bing/you tiao/soy milk breakfast and northern chinese food are not available at all in the city. I know chinatown really well and i've been searching for those things for quite some time (they are all readily available in flushing)

          3. its not going to happen in chinatown

            not a single place serves shao bing / you tiao / dou jiang and northern food is effectively not available....you need to go to flushing to get what you want

            take the LIRR (15 min commute)

            1. If you're that serious about it, you need to expand beyond Chinatown. For the complete NY experience, you might try Szechuan Gourmet in Flushing for the full-blown Szechuan experience, plus one of the classic Cantonese places in Chinatown, plus some of the other recommendations for Shanghai that have already been posted. Then maybe even hit Shun Lee Palace for the classic old-school Chinese-American grand restaurant. If you do all this, your family will be reminiscing, discussing and arguing about which was their faves for years.

              5 Replies
              1. re: AlbertaHound

                There's actually a branch of Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan on 39th Street between 5th and 6th.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Is it as good as the Flushing location? Because the latter was the best Chinese I've ever experienced in the USA.

                  1. re: AlbertaHound

                    Honestly, I've only been to the Flushing location once and wasn't the most thrilled with my meal. But I've been to the Manhattan location many times and can say that it's probably the best Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. I like it better than the Grand Szechuan branches. I think you'll like it. I know a lot of Chinese restaurants aren't known for service, but service is pretty friendly there.

                    1. re: AlbertaHound

                      Have you tried Xiao La Jiao and Chengdu Sichuan in Flushing? Those two places usually earn top spot for thinking you've being transported from Flushing to Sichuan; you'll want to try them before being able to make a final decision whether Szechuan Gourmet Flushing is the best.

                      The Manhattan places Grand Sichuan Chelsea and Szechuan Gourmet midtown are certainly worthy too. Manhattan is blessed with very decent Sichuan, but you have to trek to Flushing to find other regional specialties done well.

                    2. re: Miss Needle

                      There's a review of it in today's NYTs:

                      http://events.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/...