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Chinese food in NYC

  • c

I grew up on Long Island and LOVED the chinese food there. I moved away over 15 years ago and will be coming back to NYC soon for a vacation. I currently live in LA - we do not have good chinese food here at all, unless one ventures out to the san gabriel valley. I especially miss Duck Sauce. Where can I find great chinese food in NYC? Unfortunately I don't eat so much meat anymore, so veggie options are a plus. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  1. To draw an analogy to the two cities, New York Chinatown is similar to Los Angeles Chinatown, but New York's is a little better, while Flushing is similar to the SGV, but the SGV is better. And both cities have large geographic wastelands when it comes to Chinese food. In the aggregate, LA area Chinese food is better, so on balance from your point of view, New York would not be a Chinese food destination. One thing that New York Chinatown that you won't find anywhere in LA, not even the SGV, is vegetarian dim sum, so that might be worth a shot for you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl

      The OP said Long Island, not Chinatown. Duck sauce doesn't particularly go with xiaolongbao, ma po tofu and zongzi.

      Grand Sichuan makes great traditional dishes along with more American dishes like General Tso's, eggplant in garlic sauce, etc. The 7th Avenue location is especially adept with vegetarian dishes like their veggie kung pao. Recently I tried Phoenix Garden which wasn't bad for what it was. It had the same vibe as the Chinese restaurant in "A Christmas Story," but BYOB with better food.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        LA's Chinatown pales in comparison to NYC's. Much smaller in area and not even a fifteenth the Chinese population of Manhattan's. To cite Flushing, a more apt comparison would be to contrast it to what can be found in Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rowland Heights or any one of the other 4-5 cities in the vast SGV with a heavy Chinese concentration - and which is both limited and defined by the auto.

        For straight up vegetarian try the Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell Street. Here are some other suggestions:

        Amazing 66:

        Best Fuzhou at 71 Eldridge Street:

        Hand-pulled Noodle Shops:

        Other favorites, in alphabetical order include:

        Big Wong King at 67 Mott Street, 10013.
        Fuleen Seafood at 11 Division Street, 10002.
        New Chao Chao at 111 Mott Street, 10013.
        Shanghai Café at 100 Mott Street, 10013.
        Yogee Restaurant at 85 Chrystie Street, 10002.
        Yummy Noodles at 44 Bowery, 10013.

      2. There's a kosher vegetarian place in chinatown (BYO too). I'm not even a vegetarian nor kisher and I enjoy it...Buddha Bodai @ 5 mott street @ worth)

        1. Grand Sichuan is about the best you can get.
          I like the one on 9th Ave at 24th Street

          1 Reply
          1. re: LadyBoss

            Given Szechuan Gourmet on 39th a try -- blows Grand Sichuan out of the water imo.

          2. It seems you're looking for old school Chinese food (roast pork egg foo young, huge eggrolls, etc.) from your Long Island comment. But you liking SGV Chinese food is confusing me as they're known for more regional, "authentic" cuisines.

            If you're looking for old school Chinese food, the best ones are not in Manhattan, but in the outer boroughs. If you're looking to stay in Manhattan, here are a couple of threads that should be of interest to you.


            8 Replies
            1. re: Miss Needle

              I've actually never tried SGV chinese food- i only know it's good from reading posts in the LA chow section. i WILL try it one of these days! but you are right, i am looking for the big eggrolls, the duck sauce, low mein, shrimp w/ lobster sauce...

              1. re: Clyde

                OK. That's what we call New York style Chinese food on the West Coast, which nobody can find in LA and SF. It's not referred to as New York style Chinese food in New York, and as the links show it's not particularly common any more in New York, either. The issue is that you need to find a Chinese restaurant with decades of continuous operation. A lot of neighborhood Chinese restaurants in New York (and other cities) are owned by Chinese immigrants of relatively recent vintage, who have absolutely no conception of the old style of Cantonese American food.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  My Chinese friends on the west coast call it Americanized Chinese food. Many small joints (and big) as well as take out places outside of Chinatown serve exactly what Clyde is looking for - in addition to egg foo yung and chop suey. There are afterall 43,000 Chinese restaurants in the USA. Found the same in SF's Chinatown as well - which is more expensive than NYC's BTW.

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Well, Americanized Chinese food is a little broader than what is sometimes referred to New York style Chinese food on the West Coast in that the latter is Cantonese food. (And yes, there are restaurants in Los Angeles and other cities away from New York which advertise that they serve New York style Chinese food.) Americanized Chinese food can include non-Cantonese dishes, such as Kung Pao Chicken, Hunan Beef, Orange Chicken, Mu Shu Pork and General Tso's Chicken, to name a few.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Chandavkl's analysis is spot on, particularly the difference between Americanized Chinese food and NY Style Chinese.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        I'm not sure what the difference is. What hole in the wall NYC "Americanized" chinese place doesnt sell stuff like General Tso's/orange chicken/Mu Shu pork with an eggroll along with stuff like lo mein/shrimp w/ lobster sauce/chop suey?

                        1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                          NYC Americanized places do now, and that's the point. On the West Coast and Florida too, NY ex-pats long for the old style Canto places they remember from decades ago New York. But the fact is that very few of those places remain, either in New York or Los Angeles. Most of them are of more recent vintage and don't do the old Cantonese dishes the way they used to be made.

                2. re: Clyde

                  If that's really what you're looking for, get yourself up to Golden Gate in Riverdale, up on Johnson & 236th in the Bronx. Classic Chinese American food from the 50's, done very well. Good eggrolls, great - and I mean that truly - spare ribs, egg foo yung, sweet & sour whatever, etc. It's been up there forever, and just renovated the place - but kept (of course) the old menu favorites.

                  Their fried rice isn't been as good as one might expect, and definitely avoid anything on the menu that isn't retro - but do try the lobster with burnt pork, a great variation on lobster cantonese. They've got plenty of duck sauce, and the kind of very hot pale yellow mustard I remember from my childhood Queens neighborhood favorite restaurant (the long-gone Lum's of Flushing).

              2. Grand Sichuan IS great, but oddly enough, a few blocks up from it and over on 8th Avenue between 29th and 30th street is Home on 8th, which has a dedicated vegetarian menu that's absolutely delicious. They also serve meat dishes. Their chef experiments quite successfully with their vegetarian menu and comes up with some fantastic dishes. Try the edamame dumplings in miso broth, and the vegetarian peking duck! Fantastic.

                1. As far as old school high end cantonese in manhattan, they are sadly all gone me thinks. The best hands down I think is Lum Yen in Mamaroneck (westchester) at Boston Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue. It's about 35 minutes from Grand Central via Metro North station and 4 minute walk down Mamaroneck Avenue from the station. Sizzling Wor Bar, lobster cantonese, steak kew (filet mignon) paper wrapped chicken, fablulous bbg ribs and lots more. Great old time mai tais, zombies, singapores slings and yes they have paper umbrellas in them. Not cheap but way worth a trip if you long for old time oppulent NYC cantonese. Gene at the bar is master tropical mixologist bar none.

                  1. Try Wo Hop. It's pretty old-style, including brusque waiters and little decor, but classic American/Chinese food. 17 Mott Street - go to the basement rather than the street level restaurant.

                    1. i went to a great place last night in LA's chinatown called Yang Chow. the lo mein wasn't awesome, nor were the steamed veggie dumplings - they only pan fried the pork ones- however, the shrimp toast (which i'd never had before) and this specialty called 'slippery shrimp' was amazing! if anyone in LA is reading this, go here and get the slippery shrimp. this place did NOT have duck sauce and their crispy noodles weren't like the ones in NYC, flat and wide. these were skinny and from a can... at this point i'll settle for a chinese restaurant in NYC that has duck sauce... one restaurant has it here - genghis cohen- so at least i am covered if duck sauce no longer exists in nyc.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Clyde

                        Well since Yang Chow is not Cantonese and has never been entered in the New York style Chinese restaurant search contest in Los Angeles, perhaps ScoopG maybe be right that what you're looking for would be found among the Americanized Chinese restaurants (not necessarily Cantonese old school) in NYC.

                        1. re: Clyde

                          Rest assured, you can get packages of duck sauce at any takeout joint in NYC.

                        2. I haven't been there for a while, but I remember last time I was at Chef Ho's (1720 2nd Ave, Btwn 89th & 90th St ), they had crispy noodles and duck sauce. If you decide to go, you might want to call them just to confirm. Their food is Americanized Chinese so that should be what you are looking for. Another thing is that a lot of people order Peking Duck there so they should have plenty of duck sauce around.

                          I am sure there are a lot of other Chinese places in Manhattan that offer crispy noodles and duck sauce. Maybe other folks can pitch in on their favorite spots.

                          P.S. You probably already know but I think in certain supermarkets (even in Non-Asian ones such as Albertson's/Ralph's or Von's) you can buy "duck sauce" sold in jars, usually located in the Asian food isle. "Dynasty" and "Ty Ling" are two brands I know that offer duck sauce. The "crispy" noodles that go with duck sauce can be made at home by deep frying wonton wrappers (sliced in strips). When I first moved to the US (Northern Calif), I was amazed by how good those fried noodles/duck sauce were so I used to make them at home as a teenager. You can try to make it yourself if you really have a craving for them before your trip back to New York.

                          Here is a pic of duck sauce that maybe available in the LA area:



                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bearmi

                            thanks - i went on a wild goose chase yesterday looking for duck sauce at ralphs and bristol farms. i'm going be near a gelson's later so i'll check that out... i know i've bought it in a jar in LA before, years ago, but i haven't seen it around in a while. thanks everyone, for all the great suggestions. Yang Chow here was great, but yeah, it was not the cantonese ny style i'm looking for.