If you're visiting Little Italy in Chinatown in New York, get ready to eat well. But you have to know where to eat—and just as importantly, where to avoid. This guide aims to break it all down for you, handy printable map included.
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You may have occasion to be eating Chinese food in a couple days, and if so, you're likely looking for a movie theater afterward. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite Chinese restaurants with directions to the closest movie theater.
Rice cakes are my comfort food. They are the best cure I know for a lonely heart, a disgruntled outlook on life. Because they remind me of my mother and of home, they remain one of the few noodle dishes I do not make for myself. I want someone else to make them for me, and while in some cities this might be an unreasonable desire, I figured I had a decent chance of finding just the right bowl of rice cakes in Chinatown.
We're soup dumpling-mad. When we go to a Shanghai-style Chinese restaurant, all too often we order soup dumplings, perhaps before we even sit down. But sometimes it pays to slow down and pay attention to the rest of the dumpling menu. On a recent visit to the excellent Shanghai Café Deluxe, our eyes lit on something called rice ball with pork in soup ($3.95). What a novel idea—dumplings in soup, rather than dumplings with soup inside them.
Last week, Ben and I had an animated debate on whether or not soup dumplings (xiao long bao) can travel in a to-go box and still taste delicious. "You can't do it," he said. "You will regret it." Ben was laying down the soup dumpling gauntlet, and I was up to the challenge. I went off to find out.
Finding the best Xiao Long Bao—the famed soup-filled dumplings from Shanghai—in New York has always been a pet project of mine, but it's not an easy goal to accomplish. Given the magnitude of the task, I decided to break it down into more manageable, walkable segments. For our first installment, I limited my search area to Manhattan's Chinatown.
I'm about 10% of the way into a quest to find the best Xiao Long Bao—the soup-filled dumplings from Shanghai—in Manhattan. It's a tough but rewarding job that involves plenty of pork, hand-stretched pastry, and soup-stained clothes. The fact that our office is right in the middle of Chinatown makes things a bit easier, and indeed, I managed to accidentally discover what might be one of the top contenders during the middle of a torrential downpour a couple weeks ago. Shanghai Cafe Deluxe has its hits and misses, but the soup dumplings are a hit.