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Best Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown

I'm taking my 13 year old niece to NYC this weekend and would like to know what are some of the "better" Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. I know there are a lot, but I am looking for people's actual experiences.

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  1. If you are going there for Lunch - I would recommend getting Dim Sum at Nom Wah. Go early or late afternoon, they get busy especially over the weekend.

    Don't really do dinners in Chinatown. Are you looking for any particular type of Chinese food?

    1. Lunch would be preferable. We are going down to the 9/11 Memorial and I wanted to stop in Chinatown on the way. Cheap, good chinese is what I'm looking for. Dim Sum at Nom Wah sounds great. Thanks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: suehart89

        Nam Wah isn't really the typical dimsum experience, but is quite good. Nearby is NY Noodletown whiceh I always find wonderful and certainly kid friendly (if very crowded and bustly). FYI, Congee Village is currently my go to place for more fancy dinners. It is not the greatest restaurant in Chinatown, but it is a good and reliable experience, suitable for large crowds nd private parties, has a full bar (rare in Ctown) , has a fun ambience, and some of the dishes are wonderful.

        1. re: suehart89

          I'd recommend lunch at Golden Unicorn for a much more exciting atmosphere and better dim sum experience than Nom Wah.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Nam Wah is old style dim sum - the kind that my 90 years old grandma use to take me as a kid. The kind of dim sum that's considered a lost art in Hong Kong. It bring me a real taste of home. They steam and cook their food in small batches and usually steam it when you place your order.

            The type of dim sum at Golden Unicorn is the cheaper, low end, packed with MSG. Always a little mushy from over steaming served in a large banquet hall.

            They are both authentic and you will find similar things in Southern China, it's really a matter of preference.

            1. re: GoldFishCrackers

              I went to Nam Wah many many years ago when they only did dim sum ( we called it tea lunch) on Sundays. It was excellent and the first in Ctown. I went about a year ago , and thought the quality was poor, and didn't compare with Hop Shing or Golden Unicorn. I will try it again, as sometimes places have an off day, or perhaps they gave me dishes that weren't as fresh as they should have been.I'd say i'd go now , but its almost 2 Pm , a little late for best dim sum.

            1. re: scoopG

              Ah, what an excellent compendium! Thanks so much, scoopgG!

            2. Any particular kind of Chinese food?

              If you don't have preferences in general, I would recommend either ShangHai HePing or Nodle Village, in that order. Food is very decent in both places, perhaps not the very best yet solid good.

              Strong points: waitstaff speak English and aren't overworked (i.e., not in a constant hurry), the dining room is clean and is not crowded (a function of layout).

              1. I would definitely recommend New (Nice) Green Bo on Bayard Street.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nycsteve

                  I second this recommendation. The scallion pancake and the dumplings are delicious. The bakery a few doors down (Mei Li Wah) sells fantastic steamed barbeque pork buns.

                2. I was reading this thread and wanted to check out Old Sichuan which sounds good, but just wanted to check to see the address is correct -- 65 Bayard but that's the same address as Chinatown Ice Cream factory (which means we wont have to walk far for dessert! (mmm Zen Butter). Are they right next door to each other? Or do I have the wrong address?

                  And do the hounds still consider this a solid go-to Sichuan place?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: decayny

                    It's the silly New York street numbering system. They're next door to each other.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Here's a summary of our dinner at old Sichuan last night.

                      Started with a couple of orders of pork soup dumplings, tiny chicken buns and sliced pork w garlic sauce. Dumplings great, on par with 456. I know they're not Sichuan but we still love 'em so had to order some. The kids love them too. Tiny chicken buns were excellent, not too dough-y and nice flavor. Sliced pork was okay - the flavor was nice, although I was expecting spicier (maybe I should have asked?) .... But it was really fatty. Like 50% of the dish was pure fat (separating that from the meat with chopsticks wasn't a pretty sight :-)).

                      Then we moved on to the lamb with cumin and string beans with pork. Daughter ordered a huge bowl of wonton soup and the boys ordered general tsos chicken (I know, don't say it). Lamb was fantastic, didn't realize that was a Sichuan dish but pretty tasty. String beans were excellent too - we were the only non-Asians there and my wife noticed everyone else had a plate of it so we have it a shot. Very good.

                      Service was great. Came out to less than $20 each including one beer each. Overall a good find, but I was expecting spicier .... Maybe need to ask specifically to turn up the heat? Or is it more of a myth of how spicy Sichuan food is?

                      1. re: decayny

                        Thanks for reporting back. The fatty sliced pork you had may have been pork belly slices - which is inherently fatty. Cumin Lamb is a dish that originated in northern and western China but has now spread across the country.

                        Ordering non-Sichuan items like pork soup dumplings, chicken buns, won ton soup and General Tso's Chicken in a Sichuan place sends a clear message to the wait staff and kitchen that you are more interested in dumbed-down American-Chinese fare than the real McCoy.

                        The presence of children can also work against you as staff then are concerned that the kids can't take the heat. Coupled with ordering non-Sichuan items this compounds the issue.

                        Also, Chinese eat communally and one person usually orders for the entire table. When staff start hearing individuals in the group saying "I'll have the won-ton soup," or " I want the General Tso's Chicken etc." that also informs them that serious Chinese dining is not likely to ensue.

                        1. re: scoopG

                          Good points about the kids and the general tso. I tried to get them to order something like the dry/spicy chicken but they weren't biting. Wil go back again without kids and see if there's a difference.

                          1. re: scoopG

                            Yeah, when I am in a Chinese place that is new to me, I tend to try to order unusual food, which sends the opposite signal. I like pork just fine, but ordering intestines sends a different signal

                    2. If you love duck try the Peking Duck House at 28 Mott Street, not just duck but great shrimp soup and appetizers and other main dishes. We got two ducks and still my sons were fighting over them. They will give you the carcasses to take home to make Duck Soup.