A visit to Manhattan’s Chinatown will make you feel like you’ve left New York altogether, and a quick walk through this downtown neighborhood fulfills all your foodie, speakeasy, and shopping needs.
From dim sum and streets lined with fresh produce and exotic foods to endless family-run businesses and gorgeous lantern displays glowing in the night, a day frolicking through Chinatown is a day well-spent in our books.
We’ve gathered together all the places that make Chinatown one of our fav NYC neighborhoods. From where to eat, where to drink, and where to shop, we’re covering it all.
Alimama’s massive boba-filled cream puffs will actually change your life! With their gooey, chewy, bouncy textures and out-of-this-world flavors, we can guarantee you your first visit to Alimama certainly won’t be your last. Plus, they were the first NYC tea shop in NYC to offer Japanese mochi donut! Read more about this spot here.
Where: 89A Bayard St.
2. Golden Steamer
For deliciously doughy bao buns, you’ll want to head to Golden Steamer. This bakery serves tons of different bun varieties, whether you’re looking for pork or egg yolk, served steaming hot and incredibly delicious. If you head here be sure to taste their famous pumpkin custard!
Where: 143A Mott St.
3. Keki Modern Cakes
One taste of Keki Modern Cakes and you’ll be daydreaming about their cheesecake for the rest of your life…literally. From their “bouncy cheesecake,” which is light, silky, and will melt right in your mouth to cream puffs, cakes, and cheese tarts, this bakery will turn anyone into a sweets lover.
Where: 79 Mott St.
Before we get to the savory we’re gonna stick to the sweet for a little bit longer with a shoutout to Taiyaki, one of our favorite spots for fluffy, mouthwatering, soufflé-style pancakes. The dessert shop—made popular by it’s fish-shaped waffle cones filled with custard or red bean paste (“taiyaki”)—began serving up the fluffiest pancakes in the city and we can’t get enough. Read all about these delicious treats here.
Where: 119 Baxter St.
Bonus: find more of our favorite spots serving soufflé-style pancakes here.
5. Vegetarian Dim Sum House
Vegetarian Dim Sum House is perfect for anyone who doesn’t eat meat but finds themself constantly tempted to forget about that for a steamed pork bun–which are made here with mock pork and are out of this world! They also serve mock chicken, mock beef, even mock seafood! In addition to the pork buns we suggest their bean curd rolls, and it the weather is nice opt for a seat outdoors!
Where: 24 Pell St.
6. Joe’s Shanghai
Obviously when going to the iconic Joe’s Shanghai an order of their soup dumplings is a must, and honestly whichever ones you order will satisfy you. However, may we also suggest trying the peking duck, scallion pancakes, and their flat noodles. P.S. they’re cash only so be sure to stop at the ATM before heading over (and get there early if you’d like to avoid a long wait)!
Where: 46 Bowery
7. Thái Sơn
If you’re looking for a place to get delicious food without any of the over-the-top frills, we’ve got your spot. Though the name may be a bit misleading, Thái Sơn is a must-visit for the best Vietnamese staples. From bánh hỏi bò lụi (grilled beef lettuce wraps) to cá kho tộ (fish braised in a clay pot) you honestly can’t go wrong here.
Where: 89 Baxter St.
8. Xi’an Famous Noodles
Question: What would Chinatown be–and honestly NYC in general due to their several locations–without Xi’an Famous Noodles? Answer: A sad and less tasty place. Honestly we don’t even need to get into how good their food is, but if you’re in the mood for delicious noodles, this restaurant needs to be on your radar.
Where: 45 Bayard St.
9. Big Wong
Chinatown’s popular Cantonese restaurant Big Wong is a casual spot that puts all their emphasis on their food–and anyone who eats there can tell. Their known for authentic Cantonese food priced reasonably, and popular items include congee and and roast duck.
Where: 67 Mott St.
10. Dim Sum Palace
No stranger to NYC, the family operated Dim Sum Palace has opened eight locations in the past six years, and their newest one was opened in NYC’s Chinatown. The upscale restaurant will be open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and will serve its mouthwatering Dim Sum until 4am! Read all about it here.
Where: 27 Division Street
Bonus: Find some more of our fav Chinatown restaurants here
For moody lighting, delicious drinks, and decor that will make you never want to leave, Peachy’s is the place to be. Order a cocktail (we suggest the Bell of the Fall or the Shaky Suzie), cozy up into one of the booths, and live out your main character moment at this Chinatown staple.
Where: 5 Doyers St.
12. Mr. Fong’s
For delicious cocktails at really good prices, head to Mr. Fong’s. Here you’ll find drinks such as a Salty Plum Old Fashioned, made with salted plum-infused bourbon, bitters, and zest, the Tequila Zombie, made with Szechuan peppercorn tequila, tropical juices, bitters, and pastis, and the Tequila + Flowers, made with ancho tequila, hibiscus, lemon juice, and soda.
Where: 40 Market St.
Come to Apotheke for the inventive drinks, stay for the gorgeous ambiance. This dimly-lit spot is inspired by historic apothecaries that created natural remedies from various plants, roots, and botanicals. Their impressive and extensive drink menu is built around ingredients known for their restorative and medicinal properties, and the menu is even categorized by Stimulants, Pain Killers, Euphorics, Aphrodisiacs, and Stress Relievers. You can read more about Apotheke here.
Where: 9 Doyers St. (also a Nomad location)
Basement is Chinatown’s carnival-themed speakeasy inspired by Hong Kong game bars. Hidden behind a door that looks like a vintage Coca Cola vending machine, grab a drink and have some fun playing beer pong, darts, dice, cards, or other games while munching on small bites. They even make their own version of an old fashioned using popcorn-infused Hibiki Whisky!
Where: 45 Mott St.
Daphne is Chinatown’s newest dazzling underground disco club. Reminiscent of the 70s with a 21st century spin, Daphne features DJs spinning high energy tracks each weekend, sparkling disco balls, and, of course, delicious cocktails and bites. Get your dancing shoes on and read more about this spot here.
Where: Beneath Hotel 50 Bowery
Chinatown Stores & Shopping
Arguably NYC’s best skincare store, oo35mm mainly stocks Korean skincare products. Whether you’re looking for a moisturizer, face masks, serums, or literally anything that goes on your skin, you’ll find it here. But fair warning: don’t let the size of the store fool you–be prepared to spend hours here!
Where: 81 Mott St.
17. Canal Street Market
Canal Street Market is a carefully curated retail market, food hall, community space. You can shop from a pretty wide variety of local small businesses here, finding everything from home goods and art to clothing, before heading to the food hall to enjoy rice rolls, bubble tea, and more.
Where: 265 Canal St.
Explore Chinatown–and NYC’s Lower East Side as a whole–through its delicious food! Learn about the rich cultural diversity and history of the LES as you listen to the tales of the struggling immigrants who came to NYC in search of opportunity. You’ll hear stories about everything from historic synagogues to street art and trendy food markets.Get tickets to this tasty event here.
Where: Essex Market – 88 Essex Street
Mmuseumm is arguably one of NYC’s most unique museums. It’s located in an old freight elevator in a Chinatown alleyway, so to say it’s the smallest NYC museum we’ve ever seen would be an understatement. Displaying objects from around the world, the museum is currently closed for the winter, but will open in the spring of this year. In the meantime, you can always view the museum through the window whenever you please!
Where: 4 Cortlandt Alley
Once the temps heat up and summer hits, Chinatown-based non-profit Think!Chinatown hosts their own monthly night markets! This open-air cultural festival features Chinatown-focused programming along with local art and food vendors, and it’s the perfect way to experience what the neighborhood has to offer. You can find more info once the series starts up again here.