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Favorite Chinese places in Chinatown? Not bakeries, not dim-sum, not Thai/Burmese/Fusion

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andrewlee Oct 7, 2010 09:40 PM

I keep striking out in Chinatown, walking into places that look alright on the outside, but ending up with uninspired, same-old same-old faux American overly salty, otherwise flavorless, too greasy Chinese food for the most part.

So - what are your favorite Chinese places in Chinatown?
I'm already covered on bakeries, Dim Sum, and other Asian (Vietnamese/ Thai/ Burmese/ Japanese/ Korean, and mixed - i.e. Sakura), and just looking for Chinese places in Chinatown. Preference for cheaper places, but okay with a few higher end places as well (just indicate that they're higher priced).

Thanks!
Andrew

  1. p
    pacific2atlantic Oct 23, 2010 11:44 AM

    Having lived in Taiwan for 10+ years, these are my go-to favorites with friends and family:

    Four Rivers - One of the best all around. 3 cup chicken, hot oil wonton, dan dan noodle, etc
    Sang Kee - Where we get our cantonese fix. roast pork/roast duck, wonton soup, etc
    nan zhou - noodle soup
    Tai Lake - Fresh seafood

    1 Reply
    1. re: pacific2atlantic
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      Bob Loblaw Oct 23, 2010 02:53 PM

      My gf, who's from hong kong, would agree with you on #s 2 and 4.
      i personally find Tai Lake kind of sad... I'm all for live seafood in tanks, I just don't like how Tai Lake crowds them in so much.

    2. f
      FattyFatMan Oct 22, 2010 09:24 AM

      Empress Garden for Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (and they are also supposed to do a very good crispy pork chop)
      Szechuan Tasty House for Three Pepper Chicken

      It seems like the key is finding out what the dishes are that Chinatown places do particularly well or as a specialty, because I agree they all offer up the bland, salty, soggy usual suspects as lunch and dinner specials.

      1. n
        nwinkler Oct 14, 2010 05:59 PM

        I fancy Ken's Seafood for the just-killed items (I'd make a meal of scallops in the shell with XO sauce and nothing more), and also Dim Sum Garden, which isn't really a dim sum place and hence deserves a place on your list. Horrible decor, great food. My go--to for soup dumplings, and I love the hand-cut noodles in a five-spice heavy brisket gravy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nwinkler
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          brightman Oct 19, 2010 12:01 PM

          agree 100% with Dim Sum Garden's soup dumplings and Szechuan Tasty House for pretty much everything.

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          phillylunchjamie Oct 13, 2010 01:44 PM

          I would say Four Rivers rates high- great pork, veggie, seafood, appetizers, really everything.

          1. j
            jessicheese Oct 9, 2010 04:12 PM

            for Chinese in Chinatown I like Lee How Fook & Szechuan Tasty House. David's Mai Lai Wah is pretty good, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jessicheese
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              discndav Oct 13, 2010 11:50 AM

              Szechuan Tasty House is my favorite lunch spot in Chinatown.

              1. re: jessicheese
                Delucacheesemonger Oct 23, 2010 06:00 AM

                How long has it been since you were at Lee How Fook ? They changed chefs many months back and had lost their stride badly. Would be super if they have returned to greatness again.

              2. scoopG Oct 8, 2010 02:16 PM

                Have you tried Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House at 927 Race St?

                1 Reply
                1. re: scoopG
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                  padovana Oct 15, 2010 06:15 AM

                  I second hand drawn noodle.... but you gotta be looking for either soups or lots of noodles to go there. I went there and was practically comatose from the food afterwards (in a good way)

                2. paychecktoday Oct 8, 2010 07:01 AM

                  If I ever go into Chinatown during the day or reg hrs (if late night after bars, its David's Mai Lah Wah), I try and go to Sang Kee and Wing Wong (across from David's). Both my friend and I did a Chinatown restaurant review a couple years back on almost all the restaurants down there and those two came up on top.

                  Both are cheap and I consider them pretty good and not too americanized in both taste and selection.

                  Shao Lan Kung was also up there too, but I was told the main cook there passed away and food hasn't been the same since.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: paychecktoday
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                    mazza3 Oct 8, 2010 09:56 AM

                    the food dipped for a little bit at shiao lan kung, but it is v close to how good it used to be and it is still my number one (though sang kee is great too)....my biggest complaint since the old chef passed is that they don't stay open until three on the weekends anymore. :)

                    andrewlee - what were your conclusions on the top bakeries and dim sum joints (esp the dim sum)?

                    1. re: mazza3
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                      andrewlee Oct 8, 2010 10:08 AM

                      Mazza3 - Apologies - on DimSum I simply wasn't looking for any. Hit DimSum in NYC with friends, and not usually in the mood for DimSum without a large group here, so I was simply looking for non-DimSum places. I think I've seen a number of other posts here on DimSum though...

                      Bakeries - almost too many to mention. On the attributes - Price - pretty much all the same.
                      Then atmosphere (yeah, right - not a consideration). Staff, quality/amount of filling in steamed pork bun, quality/amount of filling in other items.

                      I'm pretty content with Bread Top House NE corner of 11th and Race -- friendly family, will engage you in English, and more welcoming than some of the others.

                      oops.Gotta run. More later.

                      1. re: andrewlee
                        m
                        mazza3 Oct 8, 2010 11:26 AM

                        all good! yeah, there are definitely a lot of dim sum posts on here, i just wanted another perspective. :) thanks for your bakery observation though......

                    2. re: paychecktoday
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                      rocknroll52 Oct 13, 2010 01:00 PM

                      do you mean Wong Wong? We love that place. 9th and race. love their salt baked squid, wonton soup, and hong kong noodles with pork and duck.

                      1. re: rocknroll52
                        paychecktoday Oct 13, 2010 01:17 PM

                        yeah whatever the place is across from david's. that place is awsome, and funny you mentioned those three items from the menu. that is what i always get when i go there.

                        my friend and I did a tour of chinatown and based them all off of their salt baked squid and hk wonton noodle soups. Wong wong came in 1st for my friend in the sbs dept, while my fave was at sang kee. lee how fook's sbs came in second in both of our lists. and we both had shao lan kung's hk wonton noodle soup as the best, with wing wong's 2nd in both lists.

                        if anyone wants to know anything about chinatown or viet food, lemme know.

                        1. re: rocknroll52
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                          andrewlee Oct 21, 2010 03:24 PM

                          Wong Wong - yup - their salt baked squid are really good, as is the duck!

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