Manhattan's Chinatown is a huge neighborhood, and although it's a good thing that it offers a nearly endless number of eateries, one might be overwhelmed by all the choices. Where do you go on an empty stomach? What do you order? Sometimes, when you're faced with such a wealth of options, it's best to narrow your focus a bit. This, then, is a guide to jerky in Chinatown.
In Chinatown, there are shops that primarily sell jerked meats. These aren't like Slim Jims, but closer to the homemade kind. Most of them have beef and pork; some have chicken; some have both regular and spicy versions. The taste and texture differ from shop to shop. They sell in quarter, half, and one pound quantities--a quarter pound costing about $4 to $5. Here are four notable meat shops in Chinatown. Let me know if I missed any.
Ping's Dried Beef
The one that's probably been around the longest is Ping's Dried Beef on Mulberry Street across from Columbus Park. My family and I have been getting beef from there ever since I was a kid. The regular beef jerky is the most savory of the ones I've tried, nice and chewy; they have pork jerky, too, but it isn't as good. Note: this is the most expensive place of the four.
58 Mulberry Street, New York NY 10013
New Beef King Corp.
Right around the corner from Ping's is New Beef King Corp. Here, the beef jerky chunks are the thing to get. Their oyster flavored beef jerky tastes different than those from other stores, and while I don't like it that much, it somehow works as smaller beef chunks. They also have curry-flavored beef jerky, which other stores don't.
89 Bayard Street, New York NY 10013
Malaysian Beef Jerky Inc.
A much different jerky can be found at the Malaysian Beef Jerky Inc. shop on Elizabeth Street. Instead of the tough chewy strips, they make it in tender square sheets. It's also more oily, and slightly charred. Besides the beef and pork jerky, they also have chicken, and chicken and shrimp--but it's the beef and pork that are good here. The chicken jerky tastes like the pork, and you can barely taste the shrimp in the chicken and shrimp jerky.
95 Elizabeth Street, New York NY 10013
Ling Kee Beef Jerky
You can find a jerky in a similar style at Ling Kee Beef Jerky, located further east on Canal Street. Just like Malaysian Beef Jerky, beef, pork, and chicken jerky are available, but Ling Kee's was far better. Their pork jerky is much tastier, and the chicken jerky has a more pronounced chicken taste. It's worth walking a little bit more.
42 Canal Street, New York NY 10002
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