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Nov 20, 2009 12:11 PM

Philadelphia Chinatown [split from Boston]

(Note: This post was split from the Boston board at: -- The Chowhound Team)

Where did you go in Philadelphia that was great? I don't believe that we have a Suzanna Foo equivalent (not that I ever liked it anyway), but I think there are many places here that are equivalent or better than philadelphias chinatown.

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  1. I'd be curious to this answer too. It's been far too long since my college days there, so I'm sure there have changed. When I lived there, Philly's Chinatown and the food was decent. It certainly hit the spot for being away from home, but was a far cry from what Boston had to offer. The rest of the restaurant scene in Philly has evolved to offer some amazing things, but I'd love to know of where these new places are in for Chinese for some future visits.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kobuta

      tdaaa & kobuta, I've actually never tried Suzanna Foo, but in Philly Chinatown, a few faves are Nanzhou Hand-Drawn Noodle House (Northern style hand drawn noodles), Sangkee Peking Duck (a quite solid roast duck wonton noodle soup), Four Rivers (Szechuan dishes) and Heung Fa Chun (for their quick-style but delish Dou hua). Dimsum in Philly and the bakeries leave a bit to be desired, but there are some gems for lower-end restaurants.

      1. re: fivefivefive

        Hi -- I moved from Boston to Philly last November (and went to college/grad school in both cities in the 1990s-early 2000s), and visit back and forth almost one weekend every month (thanks to low fares on Southwest between PHL and MHT). I still miss lots of places in Boston Chinatown (e.g. HK Eatery, Taiwan Cafe, Vinh Sun, Ho Yuen, Bao Bao Hao for take-out cheung fun and "lor might gai," Royal Crown Bakery for dai bao and walnut butter pound cake, ShabuZen for hot pot, Eldo Teahouse for chestnut fresh cream cake, and Lu's for sour sausage/grilled meat banh mi). I am heading back to Boston on Thanksgiving weekend to visit my favorite places again, and this thread is very helpful! Thank you so much!

        Here are some of my new favorites in Philly Chinatown: Philly has two xiaolongbao (tangbao) places that are excellent: Sakura and Dim Sum Garden. Sakura is at a corner by Joy Tsin Lau. Sakura has exquisite crab roe-filled tangbaos. The dough is really thin. Their scallion pancakes are not to be missed either. The dough is thin and tender, with lots of layers. It is exquisite! I agree with fivefivefive that dim sum in Philly and bakeries there leave a bit to be desired. No decent daibao (okay, I have not yet found a place with a good dai bao, if anyone knows, I appreciate any leads! Most dai bao dough is huge and abundant but filling is dismal). There are a few banh mi places. A new one by the greyhound bus depot exit, QC Sandwich (I may have the name wrong) is good. I tried BaLe last week on Washington Ave and it is also pretty good. But I do miss Lu's and MeiSum in Boston. ShaoLanKung is a classical Cantonese place that is good, and many people's favorite (including me). Tin Wong by the Friendship Gate is similar to HK Eatery, but most dishes from the kitchen has a bit of MSG. Their congee and cheung fun are served in the morning, and are quite good.

        I am planning to go to Boston Chinatown next weekend or Mary Chung for peking ravs. Last month when I visited Boston, I went to Taiwan Cafe on Friday night, which shocked me to no end that I was there at 9 p.m. and there were only 2 other tables of patrons, it used to be so crowded that people line up outside and on the steps. I also tried the weekend buffet brunch at Fuloon, which is not bad. This month it is Mary Chung or bust! :)

        1. re: fivefivefive

          OMG, I remember Hung Fa Chuen (spelling could be totally off, but this is a Cantonese romanization)! They opened while I was there in college, and I'll agree that I wish Boston had a tofu pudding place similar to this. I'm so glad to hear that they're going strong. There used to be one restaurant where my room mate and I would go for roast duck, just about every weekend. While we liked it - and it was a taste of "home" (she was from Boston too) - I can't say I found the duck to be outstanding (it might have been Sang Kee) but solid.

      2. chinese resturant are so expensive for me and i like cooking them home.:) here is a good website:

        1. We split some discussion of Philly options for Chinese food to our Pennsylvania board: