The Hunt: Four Delish Chinese Restaurants

February 21, 2013

Global – Every week, The Purple Passport team goes out in search of a designated item in whatever city our team members happen to be in at that time. For us, dumplings, drunken chicken, and pan-fried noodles are a certain type of comfort food. Though intended to give us a taste of Asia, American Chinese restaurants also remind of us of Chinatown dining in our favorite U.S. cities. Here are four of the most delish Chinese restaurants we have found across the U.S.

Far East Cafe
San Francisco, CA
Far East Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Skinny: Dining at the Far East Cafe in Chinatown is a tradition every time I visit San Francisco. It may not be the most gourmet Chinese fare (though it’s consistently good), but the ambience is what really gets me. The restaurant has been open since the 1920s, and the carved screens and delicate artwork were brought over from China over a century ago. Definitely snag one of the private dining booths−draw the curtain (waiters duck in and out) and you’ll feel like you’re being served like an empress.
–Rachel L.

Tang Pavilion
Manhattan, New York
Tang Pavilion on Urbanspoon

The Skinny: While living abroad in Abu Dhabi, one of the things I miss about New York City is the wonderful Chinese food. I think about the soup dumplings from Joe’s Shanghai and the dim sum from Golden Unicorn or Cafe Evergreen, but perhaps most of all I miss that neighborhood-y classic Chinese restaurant feel of Tang Pavilion in Midtown. Whenever I visit I dig into a plate of shredded pork with string beans, any of the fantastic noodle dishes, the drunken chicken and the soup dumplings. A little bit of Shanghai right in the heart of Manhattan.

456 Shanghai
Manhattan, New York
456 Shanghai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

The Skinny: This hectic Mott Street restaurant feels like classic Chinatown dining. While you choose from the lengthy menu, tea and drinks are brought out in rapid succession. Though bustling waiters and close tables may detract from the ambiance, their food–like pan-fried noodles, scallion pancakes, and steamed dumplings–is tasty and surprisingly inexpensive. It’s a perfect pit stop after a SoHo shopping spree or stroll through Little Italy.
–Rachel S.

Grand Sichuan
Jersey City, NJ
Grand Sichuan on Urbanspoon

The Skinny: Housed in a little eat-in/take-out Chinese restaurant near the Grove Street PATH station, nothing about this place looks much different from any of the nearby Chinese delivery places. The American Chinese portion of their menu looks pretty standard, with dishes like General Tso’s Chicken. However, I’ve never actually tried anything off that menu, since their Classical Sichuan Food menu is what keeps this tiny eatery constantly crowded. The fact that most of the patrons are speaking Chinese when you enter hints at quality, authentic dishes being prepared here. My personal favorite dish on the menu is their Ma Po ToFu (tofu, spicy chili and bean sauce, fermented black beans and minced meat), which always makes me break out into a bit of a sweat, but leaves me full, and my taste buds happy. The restaurant is BYOB and they also have other locations at Times Square, West Village, East Village, Chelsea and Flushing.

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