Hop Kee in Chinatown

cantonese crab at hop kee

Hop Kee is one of those old school Chinatown restaurants that look like it hasn’t changed since the 70s. The fixtures are a little frayed from the years of wear and tear and the gray-haired staff looks like it hasn’t turned over since the day it first opened. The only thing that’s changed is the number of people who’ve stumbled upon this hole in the wall, including myself a few weeks ago.Read More

Tofu Tofu, Korean Restaurant in Chinatown

banchan at tofu tofu

It’s unheard of to see a traditional Korean restaurant operating in Manhattan outside of 32nd St, so imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Tofu Tofu in Chinatown of all places. Not that taking the train up to Herald Square is all that inconvenient, but walking 10 minutes along Bowery to a Korean restaurant downtown has been the best thing ever. Of course, the meat here will not be on par with the bbq at a place like Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, but that’s ok. You come here because Tofu Tofu has a good selection of Korean favorites at very reasonable prices and it’s the only place downtown.Read More

Dim Sum at Rice and Gold

rice and gold in chinatown

Asian fusion of the recent kind, not the crab rangoons of yesteryear, reflects the trend of second generation Asian chefs reinterpreting traditional dishes by incorporating them with a multitude of multi-cultural flavors. They were just as at ease eating sisig at home and burgers at a takeout joint, so why not somehow mix the two together? Dale Talde of Top Chef fame reimagines the dim sum experience in this manner at his new restaurant Rice and Gold, located on the ground floor of Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown. The items on the dim sum cart might look familiar at first glance, but peel back the rice rolls and you’ll find bacon alongside lobster, and bite into that sesame ball to be surprised by a pb&j filling.Read More

Hwa Yuan in Chinatown

hot tang tang noodles (NOT the cold noodles with sesame sauce)

What do you do when a restaurant runs out of its signature dish? This would be like going to Momofuku Ssam Bar and finding out they ran out of the pork buns, or walking into Russ & Daughters only to discover that they were out of bagel and lox for the day. The equivalent of this happening at Hwa Yuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant run by deceased restaurateur Shorty Tang that was recently revived by his son in its original space, is if it ran out of its famous cold sesame noodles.Read More

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, A Fujianese Hole in the Wall

pork and chive dumplings at shu jiao fu zhou

There are a lot of hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Chinatown that you wouldn’t think twice about. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, however, is one you should actually step into, despite the misgivings you might have about its dingy signage and furniture. The only one with second thoughts will be you, because inside there will be a ton of people, mostly consisting of Chinese locals and a few in-the-know diners, happily eating their way through a bowl of noodles and dumplings.Read More