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The REAL borders of Chinatown (Mantattan)

jumpingmonk Mar 26, 2009 01:22 PM

Hi all,
As I do every year, for the last month or two I have been making a weekly trip to Chinatown, seeing what is new what is gone and just basically exploring. It's getting near the end of my yearly cycle, and that means I've basically covered most of the main parts of the place by now, so the next few weeks are going to be devoted to the fringes. I am trying to at least take a look at everywhere so I don't want to miss anything but at the same time I really dont want to spend and entire day tromping around and wearing myself out if there's nothing there. To that end I am calling on the varios members of this board to give me a little assistance. Below are the fringe areas I have yet to explore. If anyone knows of any Chinese Resturaunts of a "Chinatown" type (as opposed to the basic americized holes in the wall I am sure I would eventually find if I went far enough in any direction) in that area and remebers thier names (or even better thier adresses) it would be appreciated. Note they just have to be places you have seen or been to, not necessarily ones you think are particualry good (I like to give every resturant a fair shot, no offense to the board). okay here are the regions

- West of Lafayette (not inclunding the place halfway up Canal, I've been there)

-In the region bordered by Grand Street, Canal, Mott and Lafayette (Already know about Fu Kee and Red Egg and Jobee (though it appered to be closed when I walked by)

In the region bordered by Allen street and Bowery and between Grand and 1st ave (not incuding Congee Village)

In the region west of Bowery and Uptown of Grand (not incuding Congee Village) but Downtown of Ist ave. I know there are a few places here but the streets tend to get me disoriented, so I dont know how far West I've actually gone.

Any help will be appreciated

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  1. Chandavkl Mar 26, 2009 02:52 PM

    The only one I can think of is East Boat Lobster, 72 Kenmare. Have you checked the Chinatown storefront photo project? They keep the pictures updated, and even if they don't, there's a good chance that a Chinese restaurant that's gone has been replaced by another one.


    1. carolinadawg Mar 26, 2009 03:32 PM

      I would love to hear about the places you've visited on your explorations!

      1. l
        Lau Mar 26, 2009 04:16 PM

        not sure if you covered the stuff that is pretty far east like toward where wing shoon is (e bway and essex)...there is actually some sparse stuff even east and south of there there, but i haven't really been to any of them

        24 Replies
        1. re: Lau
          jumpingmonk Mar 26, 2009 06:35 PM

          Yeah, I've covered that (My Jerky place of choice is only a block ors so west of that so it was simply a matter of walking one extra block down) But thanks for the effort. It also helps that, in the beginning I was basing my trip on the adresses I found in Menupages, so naywhere that was listed there got covered the very first year (that's one of the reasons these areas were never covered by me till now, none (or almost none of the places made it onto menupages) Much further east of that (say on Madison, Monroe or rivington) your're really back in the hole in the wall places you find all over with little or no really interesting food.
          I think I've have seen the Lobster boat house the one time it did go fidding around in there. The problem with that is that they've become a "menu in chinese only places" and I can't read Chinese (I have the same problem at some places on eldridge street) so order was a no go. I know of two more places in that region already The rainbow cafe (on mott between Kenmare and Grand) and a place on Kenmare called Sun Sa Hay I think (when I go upstairs tonight I will check the "folder" where I keep the takeout menus (actually by now a portable filing box (one of those things you buy at office depot for keeping dossiers in) and if I got the name wrong I'll post a message with the right one tomorrow. Not really all that special but I seem to recall Sun sa Hay did a pretty good Xiamen Mai fun. Oh and there was a place next door called the Golden elephant, I think (I almost forgot it as it had no take away menus and a year causes thing to fade in the memory)
          Oh and Carolina Of course I will post on this thrad from time to time to tell you and everyone else what I've found. As far as I'm concerned such postings are part of a Chowhounds duty.
          One final thing that I picked up from my last trip. the place on canal West of Lafayette (I think it was called Canal Village or something, you can see it as soon as you get to ground level from the subway.) You'll probably want to skip that place. The Ginger scallion lo mein I had was good, but that was the only good thing I had from there. The Xiamen Mai Fun was rubberly noodles and completely devoid of any pickled vegetables, The Beef with scalion had a dark nad rather evil odor and taste (sorry that's the only way to describe it) and the West Lake Soup while it looked good, tasted basically like hot bland water. siging off till tomorrow

          1. re: jumpingmonk
            jumpingmonk Mar 27, 2009 04:33 AM

            Quick update:
            I checked my file last nigh and I was WAY wrong. both about the name of the Resturaunt (the one I though was on Kenmare) and the Adress. The actual name is Yuet Wah and the actual adress is 369 Broome. Sorry for the mistake

            1. re: jumpingmonk
              Chandavkl Mar 27, 2009 09:02 AM

              You should then try East Boat Lobster. Not quite sure how to describe it. Kind of like a Hong Kong style cafe, but tilted principally towards seafood items (if that makes any sense).

              1. re: Chandavkl
                jumpingmonk Apr 8, 2009 01:54 PM

                Okay I finally got back today do doing the border check, and as promised here is my review of what I ate at the one resturuant I actually got food at, along with notes of those other places I saw on my route but did not get food from either becuse they are unchaged from the last time I was here (so another review was unecessary) They were not the right cusine (I'm not really a big fan of most Thai, Vietnamese, etc. dishes nor of most vegitarian fare ), and so on.
                1st Red Egg got four things there, three dim sum (cilantro pork dumplings, crispy shrimp rolls, and scallion pancakes) as well as a lunch sized portion of Xiamen Mail fun (listed as "amoy style" on this menus. I would have LIKED to also order the stir fried beef with ginger and scallion, but apprently that's only avaliable for dinner. Pancakes were rather bland and did not care for dipping sauce (tasted like take out packet soy straight out of the bottle) Ditto shrim rolls. The dumpings were farily good (though they are mixed pork shrimp) as was the mai fun.
                Other places noted
                Thai angel (the most recent creation of the former owners of Funky Broome/Jazzy Wok) has now moved, its now Grand between Lafayette and whatever street is west of Lafayette. Former spot is now Wild ginger (a vegitarian resturant)
                Rainbow star cafe is still were it was (on mott, between Grand and Broome) as is Yuet Wah (369 Broome) The elephant place is now a Bahn Mi Shop. Also noted a Vietnamese place on the same block as Rainbow (Pho something) as well as a place claiming to be a cobination chinese bakery/resturant (I went in there however and it's just a bakery as far as I can tell) Also noted two other places on the Center street area (a large buffet, (but it's just a buffet, no al la carte ordering) and a play called Joybee though that looked closed (the sign was there but both times I was in the region the metal shade was 4/5 down and the lights were out) That's all I can really say for now.

                1. re: jumpingmonk
                  jumpingmonk May 13, 2009 02:45 PM

                  recent update
                  while wandering around in the far east section of the lower east side (on my first ever trip to the donut plant) I bumped into a little chinese bakery on Essex street (just off delancy downtown side) only got two pork pies though (was already pretty loaded down). pies are okay (not stellar) but if your jonesing for them, and are stuck down there, I suppose any port in a storm might come in handy.

                  1. re: jumpingmonk
                    Lau May 13, 2009 03:27 PM

                    oh yeah that place is called fong too or something like that

                    there is also a chinese bakery on allen and houston called sunshine cafe that i go to sometimes on the weekends

                    1. re: Lau
                      jumpingmonk May 13, 2009 05:16 PM

                      yeah, I've been there too, dont really care for thier pastries.

                      1. re: jumpingmonk
                        Lau May 13, 2009 07:00 PM

                        yeah the place is just ok, but they have decent steamed buns (various fillings..red bean, lotus paste etc) and they have decent yuen yang cha (coffee tea), so it does the trick on a saturday morning if i just feel like sitting at my apartment...their honey bun isn't too bad either

                    2. re: jumpingmonk
                      bigjeff May 13, 2009 05:28 PM

                      pork pies being the triangular char-siu-suu?

              2. re: jumpingmonk
                scott. May 13, 2009 06:11 PM

                where is the best place for jerky closer to the eastern edge, i.e. essex and delancey area? just moved to the area and want to get some tomorrow.

                1. re: scott.
                  Lau May 13, 2009 07:05 PM

                  there are two good places for jerky in ctown, one is ping's which is more towards the center of ctown and the other is ling kee (42 canal bet ludlow and orchard, which is much further east...there is a debate which one is better, personally i like ping's, but they are both very good

                  here's a long string on it:

                  1. re: scott.
                    scoopG May 13, 2009 07:06 PM

                    New Beef King on Bayard has the best jerk IMO.

                    1. re: scoopG
                      Lau May 13, 2009 07:09 PM

                      really? you like that place, i always thought it was the weakest one in ctown

                      1. re: Lau
                        scoopG May 13, 2009 07:17 PM

                        I think NBK has the freshest and widest variety - especially the curry beef chunks and their "wet" spicy pork and beef jerky. Have to go there around noon to 1 pm to get the day's first batch. Ping's has an unwashed-socks-smell about the place and one never sees them actually making it or doing any prep work. The Malaysian place on Elizabeth is only so-so. I must admit I haven't tried Ling Kee yet.

                        1. re: scoopG
                          Lau May 13, 2009 07:21 PM

                          i guess ill have to try it again

                          ping's is sorta dirty (although it doesn't really matter to me), but its literally like their house...there are kids doing homework and grandparents hanging out and watching TV on the couch. And i've seen them prepping their jerky before many times (i go there alot), its usually the grandparents doing it

                          1. re: Lau
                            jumpingmonk May 14, 2009 04:09 AM

                            It really depends on what kind of jerkey you're after. If you like beef or spicy then it is indeed ping's (note to people who arent familiar with the area this ping's isn't the one with the sign that says "ping's" you'll see on Mott, thats an (as far as I know) unafilliated resturaunt). If (like me) you prefer a ground pork jerkey(like me) then it has to be Ling Kee (in answer to you orginaly question at canal between orchard and ludlow (it think) Ling Kee is proably the closest to Essex and Delancey (about a block or two up and maybe fiver or six over) thier ground pork jerkey is sweet and tender, plus they still use and actual grill to cook it, which give some nice blackening and caramel notes.

                            1. re: jumpingmonk
                              jumpingmonk May 21, 2009 08:15 AM

                              Athere spot down there
                              Northern Dumpling, on essex again between Grand and Hester. Popped in there whenI realized that I was almost at the end of my planned route and had yet to get anything for lunch. Had thier fried pork/chive dumplings and chive cakes. Both turned out to be only so-so (but by them I was too hungry to really care) the chive cakes turned out not to be like scallion pancakes (which I expected) but rather chewy buns filled with chives, egg and cellophane noodles. An no I couldnt tell if the pork/chive dumpling were northern dumplins as I understood them (a place near where I live (in Westchester) used to offer something called a "northern dumpling" which was a pork (or maybe beef) dumpling with five spice powder in the filling)

                              1. re: jumpingmonk
                                Chandavkl May 21, 2009 09:04 AM

                                North Dumpling has been discussed in the past and I actually ran out there after seeing a post. Agree it doesn't rate with the better dumpling places. Due to its location it seems to get a lot more non-Chinese customers than the places deep in Little Fuzhou. Would you say this is on the outer boundary of Chinatown?

                                North Dumpling
                                27 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                                1. re: Chandavkl
                                  Lau May 21, 2009 10:19 AM

                                  oh i forgot about that place, its not that good...sometimes i walk around that area sometimes since its close to where i live

                                  its pretty far out of chinatown, its sorta close to wing shoon, there actually is a place past wingshoon just off e bway...used to be a banh mi place years ago and now its some sort of HK diner / cafe type place; ill walk by it next time im down there and let you know what its called if u want to try it

                                2. re: jumpingmonk
                                  bigjeff May 21, 2009 09:22 AM

                                  the chive cake sounds like what many call the "chive box"; was it pan-fried? sometimes its deep-fried (deadly).

                                  1. re: bigjeff
                                    jumpingmonk May 21, 2009 06:15 PM

                                    Yep, it was a chive box, no question. Thanks for reminding me of the name

                                    Lau thnks for the tip re the existance of somewhere on beyond wing shoon . Since I am almost sure to go by there next week (This previous one I had decided to get off the bus early to see if there was anything interesting to me on Essex before Delancey. Now that I know there isn't (okay technically Saxelbey and the market are before Delancy but it so close it doesn't really count) I'll take the bus a bit further, saving my legs and will be able to make it without difficulty.)
                                    Chandavkl, in answer to you question, yes I do consider it on the borders of Chinatown (at least I will until I found somewhere even more east) Its sort a cuisine thing the Dumpling place is "chinatown-ish", so it counts. Golden Forest, on the other hand doesn't (even though, tecnically, being on Grand between Essex and Ludlow it's further west than the dumpling place) as its menu is very Americanized "neigbohood" Chinese. I dont really know where places like Kwok's and the other places on Madison, Monroe etc streets fit they're pretty Amecanized too. I know its a little arbitrary but if I didn't put some sort of parameters I'd never be able to define comprehensive "testing" routes (i.e. I never be able to say "okay that's the edge, time to turn around and check the middle again to see what has come in since the last time I did"

                                    1. re: jumpingmonk
                                      Chandavkl May 21, 2009 06:48 PM

                                      The Chinatown storefront picture project extends to the 300 block of East Broadway, though the last Chinese looking picture in the collection is 181 E. Broadway. (Wing Shoon is 165 E.).


                                      1. re: Chandavkl
                                        jumpingmonk May 27, 2009 06:55 PM

                                        Okay, it's been another week, another trip and here is the update
                                        Today, I started my search at Hester (where I ended last week) and just kept going downtown as far as I could

                                        Lau I saw TWO cafes in the vicinity of Wing Shoon (Ming's cafe (formerly Yummy time) and the Flower cafe) but both were places I'd seen before and neither is a place I'd recommend
                                        Other than that there really wasnt anywhere new to report. There IS a resturaunt called Chang Wong (no relation, as far as I can tell to the Wong resturaunts of Central Chinatown) on Madison street (between rutgers and Pike (map on menus says "Pine" but I know I was on Pike (Is there even a Pine street in that Neigborhood?) but it's just basic Americanized. No place seemed worth stopping at (lucky for me that 1 earlier in the day I needed to go to union sqaure which put me near a deli I like and 2. they actually had thier fried calamari on thier lunch table today or I would have had no lunch at all,

                                        1. re: jumpingmonk
                                          jumpingmonk Jun 17, 2009 03:00 PM

                                          This week I traveled grand street all the way down to where it and grand become as one. I saw amny resturaunts, but actually got food from only three.

                                          Tops food 139 E brodway (between Allen and Rutgers)-wanted some "insurance food" (something to eat if it tured out that NOWHERE I was headed for existed/had anything I could eat. so I wandered in and got three scallion pancakes. This time they wre pretty good (last time the pancake I bought was basically uncooked, gooey dough)

                                          Six Hapiness 213 E Broadway (between Jefferson and Clintion)
                                          Carb rangoons (okay but not great) (and yes I know crab rangoons arent authentic Chinese, but sometimes you just have to give into ones cravings)
                                          pork leek dumplings (fried) Proably mass produced pre frozen out of a bag things but I was too hungry to really care and they were pretty good for what they were

                                          Chinatown Resturant 359 E Broadway at Mongomery street (actually its on Mongomery Street, around the corner from E Broadway But I am reporting the adress as it was printed out
                                          Shrimp Dumplings (fried)-really good basically shimp and garlic chive filled. Proably made in house (they were a non-standard shape) and proof that tasy food can be found anywhere even in the most unexpercted areas
                                          Pork Eggroll-Okay But I'm not really a fan of egrolls to begin with so I really couldnt give them a fair break. I ordered them mainly becuse I wasnt AWARE they were Egrolls. The Mneu jsut said "Roast Pork Roll" and I thought they were someting else (Around where I live, in Westchester, there is a chinese resturant who has as one of its appetizers a item listed as "Roast pork roll" which I LOVE (Its basically a dim sum type roast pork-beancurd sheet steamed crepe, except they batter and deep fry it.) I though this migh be the same thing.

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