For a place like New York City that prides itself on its culinary diversity, it’s amazing to see how far the offerings have come in the last few years. Long gone are the days when Chinese food meant greasy egg rolls, bland lo mein, and fried rice studded with unidentifiable meat. A wave of young restaurateurs like Danny Bowien, Jason Wang, and Wilson Tang are showing the vast range of Chinese cuisine, cooking regional specialties from across the country’s twenty-two provinces. Today you can find traditional Cantonese dim sum, fiery Sichuan delicacies, and creative cooking that defies all expectations—if you know where to look.
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Traditionally, visitors would head straight to the historic nexus of Chinatown in Lower Manhattan—an area still dominated by Chinese-American restaurants and shops, where the Chinese writing on many signs is still larger than the English translations. Get off the subway at Canal or Grand Street and you’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of it all—butcher shops with whole chickens dangling in the windows, brightly colored bubble tea shops, grocery stores selling exotic herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables. While the sights and sounds can be thrilling, it’s not exactly easy to navigate the maze of streets or know which place to go. Besides, it’s not the city’s only place to find good Chinese food. There are large Asian populations and many great dining options in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, too.
These days you don’t even need to go to Manhattan’s Chinatown to find authentic food—in fact, some of the city’s best Chinese restaurants are in neighborhoods like Midtown, Greenwich Village, and Williamsburg. All over the city, there are options for every taste and budget, from cheap and filling street food-style eats to upscale restaurants with tasting menus, and everything in between. Get ready to bust out some chopsticks because these ten restaurants are true standouts that will satisfy your cravings and surprise you with their innovative cooking.