Note: Since The Chinese Quest has not reviewed any Chinese restaurants yet in Manhattan, as a public service, we are sharing this guest article. Please note that some of the Chinese restaurants on this list are no longer in business. If you want to eat at one of these restaurants, please call ahead to make sure they are still in business and open during these COVID-19 times.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Chinese Quest.
Manhattan and Queens’ neighborhoods offer all the wonderful opportunities for you to savor the many delicate nuances of Chinese cuisine. From the most basic $3.75 (at current prices) with 3 viands plus steamed rice to ultra-priced gourmet food servings in tony restaurants outside of Chinatown, customers can take their pick. Keep in mind that if the food place is located outside of Chinatown, expect it to be pricier than usual. But if you like something affordable and still great tasting then head off quickly to Chinatown.
1) Flor de Mayo This is Chinese cuisine (Cantonese, specifically), Latin American (i.e. Peruvian) style which you can enjoy somewhere in the Upper West Side. For its fusion food that you may expect in fancy food places, this place is very affordable. Highly sought out dishes include “ceviche mixto” with onions, scallops, squid, and octopus. It is located between 83rd and 84th Streets on Amsterdam Avenue.
2) Spicy and Tasty Located in 39-07 Prince Street in Flushing, Queens, where a veritable Hong Kong like neighborhood now exists that has grown bigger than Manhattan’s Chinatown. Here, you hit upon Sichuan (Szechuan)-Chinese style meals that are laced with lots of peppers, Chinese celery, plus chili sauces in its dishes.
3) Szechuan Gourmet Midtown West’s favorite Chinese food place for those seeking a spicy variety of meals, without much salt, not greasy looking, and without MSG. Of course, there are other items on the menu where you can have your favorite food fares that come salty, very spicy, flavorful, or even double cooked. This easily becomes a hangout for office-based workers in Midtown who are craving Chinese food without schlepping to Chinatown during lunchtime.
4) Big Wong King Between Bayard and Canal on Mott Street in Chinatown, this place (also known as “Dai Wong,” which is the name’s translation in Chinese) serves Cantonese cuisine. It always gets crowded with customers who crave noodles, congee, roast pork, roast duck, among others. The experience gets completed in a small, cramped place, with a “not-so” friendly level of service, offered at cheap prices, and yet, all these give the customer an overall sense of having relished authentic Chinese food in the heart of Chinatown itself.
5) Congee Village With current locations at the Lower East Side’s Allen Street, and along Nolita’s Bowery, their house special chicken dubbed as “garlic fragrant chicken” is a must-taste item in their menu. They have other items listed in their extensive menu that has a heavy bent on Cantonese cuisine and running at least 7 pages – a signal that you are in for a great adventure in your search for authentic Chinese cuisine this side of Manhattan, in the fringes of Chinatown.
6) Grand Sichuan International They have 7 locations covering NYC including in Jersey City. If you do not want to spend time to go all the way to Chinatown, and you are somewhere else in NYC, this is the Chinese-food place to go to. Try their spicy dan dan noodles, ma po tofu, dried fried green beans, double-cooked pork, and the fish-flavored eggplant. You’ll also notice a lot of Chinese-looking people having their meals here – a sign that it serves authentic Chinese food.
7) Wo Hop Restaurant Also in Chinatown’s Mott Street where there are other notable Chinese restaurants, you locate this one in the basement. You’d be served with Chinese servers who work on pleasing you and are working to understand what you want to have for your meal. Try to engage your server in a conversation, and he’ll surely lead you to their best offerings depending on your cravings at the moment.
8) Golden Unicorn Located in East Broadway that’s way off from Canal Street, where you may have difficulties finding on-the-street parking in case you bring your car, this is the place to be if you want to enjoy dumplings of all imaginable flavorful varieties in high style. This is a huge restaurant in a building where you may want to bring the rest of your family and friends and be impressed with the experience.
9) Wu Liang Ye Located in Midtown, on 36 W48th Street, close to Times Square and Rockefeller Center, this is a respectable restaurant that is noticeably always packed with customers from all over the town. You will find here authentic Szechuan flavored (i.e. almost always spicy) food fare that will provide you fix for your craving for Chinese food all year through, without the need to go to Chinatown. Also, consult and ask for Mandarin appetizers that you may find difficult to find in other parts of the US.
10) White Bear This (“Bai Xiong” in Mandarin) definitely has to be included here; located at 135-02 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens. Experience savoring the most flavorful dumplings and noodles with wontons (reputedly among the best tasting this side of Queens). It is a tiny shack of a food place that offers delicious Mandarin Chinese meals.
The above list includes those that continue to offer what is considered authentic and largely inspired by what can be found in the Mother country. You are assured, too, of the opportunity to enjoy the best in Chinese cuisine that is creatively combined with what is readily found and available in the local culture of NYC.
Article by Jerome Espinosa Baladad. Jerome writes mostly about changes and issues revolving around moving-on themes. You may read more about them, which are mostly written in a personal but daring viewpoint here.
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