There's never been a better time to eat Chinese food in New York, and here's our comprehensive-but-selective guide to it all: the good, the great, and the decent, all to help you find the best Chinese food across the boroughs.
'Tasty Dumpling' on Serious Eats
When cheap just isn't cheap enough, Chinatown is there for you. What follows are recommendations for thirteen sweet and savory snacks to fill the belly and warm the soul—most for $2 and under.
Why is it that Chinatown's dumpling shops—the ones that specialize in dumplings for $1.25 a meal, feel the need to offer noodles? Could they be any good? After sampling noodles from four of these shops I can say: yes, some of the time.
It's hard not to love a pork sandwich. Chicken is great, but nothing matches pork's flavor, fat and versatility (pulled! smoked! cured!). Whether it's juicy barbecue or salty soppressata, pork is kind of our favorite thing to see between two slices of bread. We combed through our sandwiches archives for 25 pork sandwiches that we salivate just to think about.
The wontons at Tasty Dumpling are made with the same ridiculously juicy pork that goes into their potstickers, but crisp-tender shrimp and bright greens make the texture and flavor light and plenty interesting.
Is the beef pancake ($2) at Tasty Dumpling our favorite in Chinatown? No, that honor would have to go to Vanessa's. But it's a solid sandwich regardless.
Sometimes small sandwiches can be the most satisfying, especially when they erupt with porky juice on first bite. This pork and cabbage pancake ($1.50) is an even more portable version of Tasty Dumpling's gorgeously juicy pork and cabbage potsticker filling.
Ever since we moved to our new office, at the border of Chinatown and Soho and what's left of Little Italy, we've become convinced that we are at the center of the Manhattan food universe. Five-for-a-dollar dumplings, fresh mozzarella, Spanish cured meats, fruit markets, $4 lunch specials, cannoli—it's all right here. These are a few of the spaces we've hit up so far; but don't worry, you'll be hearing about many, many more.
Our desert island dumpling would be the chewy-crispy, pork-filled, Beijing-style guo tie. You'll see them on the menu as fried dumplings or potstickers. Last week, we visited every dumpling shop in Chinatown to see whose were best.