Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 29, 2009 02:23 PM

Chinatown walking tour

Looking for as many dishes to try on a walking tour of Chinatown. Would love to sample some of the best dishes at as many spots as possible. After reading many of the posts I have some places that sound great but thought your expert opinions might give us a better direction and focus.

Some great sounding stuff i have read but dont know how far away they are or what else could be missing....

NY Noodletown.... Roast Duck, Char su over rice

Big Wong... Soy sauce chicken, Wonton Soup

Cantoon Garden... Salt baked squid, crabmeat with pea leaves, Chicken and Chicken sausage(bo zai fan)

Amazing 66... Garlic fried chicken

Joe's Shanghai...Crispy prawns, braised pork shoulder


please help

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Incorporating some of what you've already mentioned - and this will be eating on the street I assume....

    Start at the

    1.) Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott Street and order their XLB (Xiao Long Bao) or Soup Dumplings. Eight per order. Walk south and cross Canal and proceed to

    2.) Amazing 66 at 67 Mott Street. Place your order for Garlic Fried Chicken there, pay and cross the street to

    3.) Big Wong at 66 Mott Street and get an order of their Cantonese BBQ Roast Pork (better than NY Noodletown IMO.) Large is around $12 and small is $6. Devour that while you wait for your Garlic Fried Chicken. Proceeding south on Mott, turn left at Bayard and go to

    4.) Mei Lai Wah Coffee House - kiddie corner from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It is before Elizabeth Street on the left. No address number posted. If available get their Baked BBQ Roast Pork Buns, Milk Tea and Coconut Buns. Then grab some exotic ice cream (Ginger? Lychee etc...) from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. You've been a good boy and can have desert in the middle of the walking meal tour! Continue east on Bayard until you come to Elizabeth Street and turn left. Go to

    5.) Cantoon Garden and place your order. Wait and then eat. Walk back to Bayard and turn left to reach

    6.) NY Noodletown at Bayard and Bowery. Get your Roast Duck here. Turn right out of NY Noodletown and walk south to Pell Street. Turn right at Pell and

    7.) Joe's will be on your left, a bit down the street.

    Bring napkins and bottled water!

    20 Replies
    1. re: scoopG

      Sounds amazing. What about if we wanted to sit down at a few of the restaurants

      1. re: adamlu

        I would not recommend it since you are ordering only one dish usually at each place. Once you sit down you get handed menus, tea is brought etc. and they might be less interested in you ordering just one dish. Eating on the street would be your best bet IMO. How many in your group? You could try eating in but it will also add to your time and expense.

          1. re: fourunder

            Not at Tasty Dumplings or the Mosco Street place.

      2. re: scoopG

        I would further add to the list for consideration....

        The Roast Duck at Big Wong instead of NY Noodletown and the Roast Suckling Pig at either Hsin Wong or NY Noodletown. Both are excellent.....

        And don't forget to try the Dried Beef at Ping's. It worth every penny.

        1. re: fourunder

          Just tried Wah fung # 1 fast food yesterday for the roast pork and rice special. a must add to this Chinatown tour.

          1. re: ganache123

            The last time I was in Chinatown, I stopped in a Chinese Bakery shop on the wet side of Mulberry Street between Bayard and Canal. One of the more unusual, but very tasty items was an empanada style pie made of puff pastry and filled with either chicken or beef, curry spiced. Quite good and only .60 or .70 cents each. They also have Dan Tats.

            Sorry, but I do not recall the name of the bakery shop.

            Last, go to Sun Say Kai @ 220 Canal Street for Cheap eats and Dim Sum. I like their Big Boa and Baked Char Shui Boa.


            1. re: fourunder


              Lung Moon Bakery
              83 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: squid kun

                Squid.....comes through again....thanks.

              2. re: fourunder

                Pineapple buns at Sun Say Kai are the best in Chinatown. Get the plain, the cream fillings are waxy and flavorless.

              3. re: ganache123

                Why is that? What makes their roast pork over rice better than any other Cantonese joint in Chinatown?

              4. re: fourunder

                If you can get past the stale crusty moldy smell of the joint....Pings that is.

                1. re: scoopG

                  Wow scoop...three knocks on me...and this too...

                  Why is that? What makes their roast pork over rice better than any other Cantonese joint in Chinatown?....

                  Didn't you say the roast pork is better @ Big Wong rather than NY Noodletown? :0))

                  1. re: fourunder

                    "Why is that? What makes their roast pork over rice better than any other Cantonese joint in Chinatown?" fourunder - that was a question for ganache 123!

                    Yes, I think the Cantonese style BBQ Roast Pork at Big Wong is better than NY Noodletown. Noodletown cuts their slices too large for my liking.

                    1. re: scoopG

                      I can't say if Wah Fun Fung has the best roast pork but for $2.50 it's pretty darn good and an experience just to walk in and get it.

                      1. re: ganache123

                        can't say if Wah Fun Fung has the best roast pork but for $2.50 it's pretty darn good and an experience just to walk in and get it.

                        This past Thursday I made a detour from picking up my niece on a return flight into LaGuardia and made a short walking tour inspired by this thread....which also included a little shopping on Grand Street.

                        First stop was Prosperity Dumpling @ 46 Eldridge Street. Having been dissed by scoop :), I decided to make my first pilgrimage to this NYC Cheap Eats legend to search for a better dumpling to eat and recommend to others.....All I can say is I should not have waited so long. The Fried Dumplings and Fried Pork Buns were both fresh, hot and tasty....the outer skins being the perfect balance, neither too thick or thin, to the meat and not the slightest bit tough or chewy. I would definitely rate these far superior to Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry or Fried Dumpling on Moscoe. I also had the Sesame Pancake with Beef, fresh out of the wok, also excellent. I could not conceive a better meal for $3.50. Thank you Scoop for provoking me to try another place....but in Tasty and Fried Dumpling's defense, I would still recommend them both if you are in the area...after all, How can you go wrong for a buck., i.e., of course unless the dumplings have been sitting around too long. I enjoyed Prosperity's Fried Dumplings so much, I purchased two frozen bags (50 count per bag) to take home.


                        Next on the list to try was Wah Fung # 1 Fast Food @ 70 Chrystie Street for the Roast Pork Lunch Special for $2.50. When I arrived at a little past noon, there was already a line in place with about eight people ahead of me. Striking up a conversation with the person behind me, he explained the nuances of menu. The lunch special gives you a choice of either Soy Sauce Chicken or Red Roast Pork on top of rice with vegetables....the vegetables of the day were long beans and stir fried green cabbage. I can truly say this has to be one of the great lunch deals I have seen any where I have ever traveled. Although my intention was to purchase the $2.50 Lunch Special (small portion), after being informed by my line mate, I opted instead for the Two Item (large portion) for $3.75, with choice of Red Roast Pork, Roast Pig, Roast Duck or Soy Sauce Chicken.....I chose the pork lover combination of Red Roast Pork and Roasted Pig....there was at least a pound of meat stacked on top of the rice and vegetables. The cutter gave me three pieces of Red Roast Pork and a one inch thick, eight inch length of roasted even better deal in my mind. My final verdict is this is a good stop for quality cheap eats, but it is not the best deal in the area, nor the best roast pig or red roast pork available in Chinatown.

                        btw.....It took me 25 minutes to wait on line and get my food.....maybe not so fast food...but still worth giving it a go after all said and done.


                        For my shopping excursion, I went over to Grand Street and crossed over the Bowery into Little Italy, to look for the lady I had heard about who sells Zhongzi/Joongs on the street. I do not know if I found the correct person, but I found a pleasant woman who was sitting on a box selling them on top of a board atop her rolling wheel shopping stroller. Since the closing of Mei Mei Bakery a couple of years back I have been unable to find a worthy replacement for the Chinese Tamales. There was a restaurant on Grand near Eldridge that made excellent joongs, but for some reason, they discontinued offering them on a regular basis, thus my continued search. The woman had two types of joongs available, but without speaking Chinese myself to ask questions, I had no idea what the differences between the two were....and I have no idea if she makes them herself or purchases them from a source and resells them. One was a flat bundled tamale which I was unfamiliar with. The other was more of the traditional triangle/pyramid shape I am more accustomed with. Both versions were double the size of the ones I used to purchase at Mei Mei. From her broken English I deciphered the price for the ones I purchased were $1.50 each, so I took all ten that she had left. From the smile on her face, I could see she was happy and when I paid her, she tried to return a dollar to me and said discount, but I declined. Her smile got bigger at that point, so I gave her an additional gratuity above that, which seemed to confuse her.....but I was happy to do so.

                        Last, I went over to AA Food Market @ 288 Grand Street to purchase some Barbecue/Roasted, red roast pork, tripe and roast pig.....and some Chinese vegetables. I am always amazed shopping for groceries in Chinatown for both quality and price. Had I had my cooler chest with me, I would have purchased some sea foods that caught my eye

                        Hard Shell Crabs for $5/dozen
                        Wild U-10 Shrimp @ $7.99/lb.
                        Soft Shell Crabs for $3.00 each
                        Grouper @ $3.49/lb.
                        Sea Bass @ $3.49/lb
                        Black Cod @ $4.99/lb.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Please report back on the joong. Also, what corner is the lady located? I speak passable Chinese. I'd like to check this out myself. TIA.

                          1. re: KTinNYC

                            "made a detour from picking up my niece on a return flight into LaGuardia and made a short walking tour inspired by this thread"

                            There's a few hounds on this thread I wouldn't mind joining for that walking tour.

                            1. re: KTinNYC


                              The joongs are presently frozen. I will make them in the next few days and try to make my first attempt at posting some pictures. What I can tell you is I weighed them on a scale and they come in at just under a pound each, the length is 5 inches and the width is 4 inches......most I see are usually 4 x 3 inches when I see them in retail markets. The last time I purchased joongs in Chinatown was at a storefront a couple of spots just south of NY Noodletown. They were fair at best and 2 dollars each......already cooked and ready to eat.

                              The joong lady was on the north corner of Grand and Mott. Her's are in a raw state and need to be cooked first.

                              I'll report back soon.

                2. Don't want to make it too complicated so I will try to work with the suggestions already given by fellow chowmembers.

                  I think for Big Wong the best are:
                  - Char Siu (make sure to tell them if you want fatty, half fatty and half lean, or lean(not for me))
                  - Soy Sauce / Boiled Chicken (ask for more ginger scallion sauce).
                  - Don't bother with the wonton. If you can handle it get a bowl of pig's liver congee (you can ask for small size), but if you are worried that you will get too full then continue to move on.

                  Noodletown has good suckling pig (if you give you the good parts, but sometimes it can be too dry or too fatty). Salt and pepper soft shell crabs are much better.

                  One place not mentioned yet: Bo Ky. Get their boiled pig's kidneys with preseved vegetables. Best in Chinatown!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    Thank you all. 6 of us are going to give it a try this Friday. I will report back on how it went.. Let me know if you see any last minute adjustments.

                  2. No planning for a Chinatown tour would be complete without this -


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      Is there anyone else who would like to chime in with their recommendations? How did it go Adam?

                      I'll be visiting NYC the weekend after Halloween and am interested in doing something similar to this on Sunday. Is Chinatown as lively on Sundays or should I try to knock this out on Saturday to avoid closings?

                      1. re: sixteenbiticon

                        Chinatown restaurants do not take Sunday off. You will be fine.

                    2. I would recommend the cold sesame noodles at Excellent Dumpling House on 111 Lafayette St (between Canal St & Walker St). Not the pasty peanut-butter style but a lighter, absolutely addictive noodle.

                      1. No hand-pulled noodles? Sheng Wang at 27 Eldridge St is great for hand-pulled noodles and peel noodles.