Most non-locals don’t realize there is more than one Chinatown in New York City. Nearly every borough has one. In fact, there are at least six other Chinatowns in Queens and Brooklyn. And the Manhattan Chinatown restaurants may be the most visited by tourists.
But that said, if you’re in Manhattan and don’t have the time for a 45-to-60-minute subway ride deep into Brooklyn and Queens, you can try your luck at the Chinatown in Manhattan. The rub, though, is that there are some serious tourist trap restaurants here. There are also some very excellent places to dine here. You just have to know where to go.
Here are our 10 favorite Manhattan Chinatown restaurants.
Banh Mi Saigon
When is a banh mi sandwich shop not a banh mi sandwich shop? When it is also a jewelry store. But let’s face it: no one is coming to Banh Mi Saigon to buy a necklace, a ring, or a new pair of earrings.
People queue up athere for one of the best banh mi sandwiches in New York City. There are 13 different varieties but the classic one is the best—lots of cold-cut pork slices, smeared with creamy pate, stuffed with carrots, cucumbers, and jalepeño peppers all in a flaky crispy baguette. And if you’re so satisfied you want to celebrate by purchasing some jewelry, you don’t have to go very far.
If a classic American diner had a love child with a pan-Asian restaurant, it might look and taste a lot like Golden Diner. Opened in 2019, this restaurant was an instant pre-pandemic hit—and thank goodness it survived to offer a menu that is loaded with goodness, including lemongrass-spiked avocado toast, a chicken katsu club sandwich, and Korean fried chicken wings, among many other standouts.
Great NY Noodletown
Anchored on the corner of Bowery and Bayard Street with its ancient yellow sign acting as a beacon, Great NY Noodletown is another one of our favorite Manhattan Chinatown restaurants. This eatery has fed thousands and thousands of hungry diners, particularly late at night.
But people don’t just gravitate to this restaurant because it’s open late every night. Great NY Noodletown is good in its own right. The Peking duck is excellent but the famed dish to try here is the ginger scallion noodles.
Check out those ducks hanging in the window at Great NY Noodletown, one of our favorite Manhattan Chinatown restaurants! Photo credit: Sarena Snider
Green Garden Village
Opened in 2019, Green Garden Village’s somewhat innocuous name belies the delicious things that are being cooked up here. The menu is mostly Cantonese with a nice dim sum selection. There is also a wide selection of Hong Kong-style noodle soups and congee (rice porridge). And this Manhattan Chinatown restaurant is BYOB, so bring your favorite bottle of wine that pairs with Cantonese cuisine.
New York Bo Ky
This no-frills spot is one of New York’s only restaurants that focuses on the cuisine of Teochew, a Chinese community that eventually spread out all over Southeast Asia. So, the cuisine at New York Bo Ky is diverse and has roots in many different culinary traditions in the region.
As a result, expect to find a version of pho that is not exactly like the pho you’d get at a Vietnamese restaurant, as well as versions of Cambodian noodle soups, Malaysian satay noodles, and Laotian noodle dishes. Take our word for it – New York Bo Ky is certainly one of the best Manhattan Chinatown restaurants.
Super Taste definitely lives up its name. Open since 2005, this narrow Manhattan Chinatown restaurant helped usher in an era of hand-pulled noodle joints in New York. Beef in a spicy broth is the de rigueur dish to get, especially for first-time visitors. But Super Taste also excels at fried pork dumplings and hot sesame noodles.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
Located on curving Doyers Street, Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles does not lie: the noodle soups, filled with homemade noodles that are freshly made in the next room, really are tasty.
First choose your noodle (thick or thin) and then choose an option to go along with it. Pork bone noodle soup always hits the spot. So does the shredded pork chop soup and the oxtail variety too. This salt-of-the-earth eatery has just a small handful of tables, but the handmade noodles are well worth a visit.
The uncle in question here is Louis Chi Kwong Wong, who immigrated to New York from China in the early 1970s. He made his home in Chinatown and became something of a neighborhood fixture, even earning the nickname among locals “Uncle Lou.” Lou doesn’t have a career in the restaurant industry, but during the pandemic he dreamed up opening an eatery and Uncle Lou—the restaurant—was born.
It has been hugely popular since the day it opened in December 2021. The long, narrow eatery on Mulberry Street focuses on Cantonese cuisine but specifically dishes that have become popular with the lo wah kiu, or overseas Chinese. Expect excellently rendered Chinatown staples like tofu in a black bean sauce, braised pork belly, and fried salt-and-pepper prawns, scallops, and squid.
Wah Fung Fast Food
You know you’ve reached Wah Fung Fast Food when you see the line snaking around the front of the restaurant. Don’t let that put you off. Nor should you be put off the the “Fast Food” in the title. McDonald’s, this is not.
The house specialty here is the char siu roast pork, served over rice, and you can have it for nearly pocket change. There are no tables here, so you’ll be given your excellently barbecued meat in a to-go container to be consumed at a nearby park. Cash only.
This jewel box-sized Henan eatery is sometimes hard to get into. Not just because of its diminutive size but because it has a loyal following for the delicious dishes it churns out.
The main draw here is the aptly named Big Tray Chicken, which is a large bowl (not a tray) of hand-pulled noodles and delicately cooked chicken in a stew of potatoes, star anise, chiles, garlic, and other spices and seasonings. It’s worth the price of admission. Even better, Spicy Village (68 Forsyth Street) is BYOB.
Insider’s Tip: Spicy Village is a five-minute walk from the Tenement Museum, one of the best museums in New York!
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.