Chinatowns across the country are experiencing negative economic effects following the spread of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19. The country’s nerves are rightfully on edge, but avoiding Chinese-owned businesses is an unfounded and unnecessary precaution. Here are eight great reasons, hand-picked by our inspectors, to head to Chinatown in Manhattan today.
Dim sum is freshly steamed to order at this modern, bi-level Cantonese restaurant that sits between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. This kitchen churns out some of the city’s best pork siu mai and a long list of vegetable dumplings.
For a literal taste of Chinatown history, order the cold sesame noodles at Hwa Yuan. This dish was popularized over forty years ago by chef Yu Fa Tang, or Shorty Tang, at his original Hwa Yuan (it closed in the 80s). Tang’s son runs this revival of Hwa Yuan, which re-opened in 2017. The restaurant has an elegant dining room and a diverse Sichuan-inspired menu.
Famously hidden within the alley of an indoor mall, New Malaysia (or West New Malaysia, as it was renamed after some renovations) is one of New York City’s oldest Malaysian restaurants. The sprawling, and highly affordable, menu specializes in Nyonya, or Chinese-Malaysian, fare with popular dishes like char kway teow and Hainanese chicken.
If your idea of dim sum involves sharing tables with strangers and chasing after silver carts piled high with steamer baskets, Golden Unicorn is the place for you. This multi-leveled banquet hall seats over 200 guests and serves a range of dim sum favorites from chewy har gau to fluffy steamed pork buns.
Great N.Y. Noodletown was once known as a chef’s favorite for post-shift, late-night noodles and Cantonese BBQ. The fame may have come and gone, but the restaurant still serves some of Chinatown’s most satiating bowls of soup with delicate shrimp and pork wontons and wiry thin egg noodles.
There may not be an official Little Saigon in New York, but Manhattan’s Chinatown has a convincing array of Vietnamese restaurants and markets. Thái Sơn is our inspector’s pick for the best Saigon-style pho in the neighborhood, and plenty of other generously portioned, affordably priced Vietnamese fare.
Newer soup dumpling restaurants may offer inventive fillings like truffle and chocolate, but Shanghai Heping sticks to the classics. Steamed xiao long bao filled with pork or crab are usually the top option here, but the pan-fried version with fluffy dough and crisp bottoms are equally good. Service is notoriously gruff, but the Shanghainese specialties, like soy-braised gluten and vegetarian duck more than make up for it.
This restaurant is on the outer reaches of Chinatown, bordering the Lower East Side. It is a long-time no-frills spot famous for one dish: an oversize tray of hacked chicken pieces and chewy hand-cut noodles in a fiery Sichuan chili-laced broth. The setting and service are extremely casual, which allows for exceedingly inexpensive prices.