Food & Drink

The 12 best under-the-radar Chinese restaurants in NYC

Published On 10/12/2014 Published On 10/12/2014
Flickr/ Paul Stein
Andrew Zimmer
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Andrew Zimmer
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Flickr/ Chun Yip So
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1. Fuleen Seafood Restaurant 11 Division St, New York, NY 10002 (Chinatown)

This place has been an industry favorite over the years, but it rarely gets much attention. That’s good for you, because you don’t have to fight the crowds to get a late-night whole fish feast or a seafood lunch special that’s one of the best (and tastiest) deals in Chinatown.

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2. Yunnan Kitchen 79 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Highlighting the flavors of China's most "fertile" province, Yunnan Kitchen uses a "light-handed" approach to reproduce its namesake region's diverse fare, creating bite-size morsels contrasting deftly cooked meats with oft-raw produce, and dishing 'em out to a specially designed communal table surrounded by a collector's den's worth of artifacts: a hanging 19th-century tiger rug, loads of teapots, and, from Beijing, a "Lucky Cat" so... it's a dog?

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3. Wild Ginger 212 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

Smack dab in the middle of hipster fantasyland, this delicious vegan restaurant comes through with a sprawling pan-Asian menu. Go with the black pepper seitan with Chinese broccoli among other goods like the pineapple fried rice and bowls of soba.

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4. 69 Chinese Restaurant 69 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

This divey dining room lined with signed dollar bills keeps it real with old-school Chinese-American plates like shrimp chow mein, bringing back childhood memories and packing all the flavors you're expecting -- especially at 3am.

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5. Chef Ho's Peking Duck Grill 1720 Second Avenue, New York, NY (Upper East Side)

Chef Ho's specializes in solid Chinese fare and most importantly, affordable (and good) Peking duck. You can choose between a whole or half a bird, both of which come with the standard accouterments of cucumbers, scallions, and Chinese pancakes. The dining room is comfortable and reliable for group dinners, making it a convenient stop for Upper East Siders who don't want to trek below Canal Street for unpretentious Chinese food.

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6. Phoenix Garden 242 E 40th St, New York, NY 10016 (Midtown)

Phoenix Garden is an under-the-radar Chinese restaurant in Murray Hill with a crazy-long menu of Cantonese eats like fried and stuffed crab claws, lobster in pepper and black bean sauce, and sliced conch with young chives. All the familiar stuff -- sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and lo mein -- is there too. With a BYOB policy and no-corkage fee, PG is one of the best deals in Murray Hill. Heads up: it’s cash-only.

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7. Hot Kitchen 104 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Hot Kitchen in the East Village delivers all your Szechuan favorites without the huge packs of hungry diners fighting to get in.

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8. King Yum 18108 Union Tpke, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366

King Yum in Fresh Meadows is probably the only Chinese restaurant in New York whose interior is decked out like a vintage Tiki bar. Seriously. The neighborhood spot is filled with families feasting on Cantonese-American comfort food and thematic specialities like Chicken Hawaii (deep-fried chicken with pineapple, lichee, and flaming rum sauce) amid bamboo huts. Of course, a meal at King Yum isn't complete without a Tiki cocktail (Mai Tais! Pina Coladas! Frozen Diaquiris!).

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9. Hand Pull Noodle & Dumpling House 7201 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

As the name suggests, this Bensonhurst Chinese offers ridiculously good hand-pulled noodles topped with everything from pork bone and lamb to beef tendon and spare rib, and steamed or fried dumplings. The prices are more than reasonable, and nothing on the menu is more than $10. The spot is pretty bare bones and though delivery is available, you should definitely eat there because after all, dumplings are best consumed when piping hot.

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10. Fu Run 40-09 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 (Flushing)

This Flushing spot specializes in northern Chinese delicacies from Dongbei, which means spicy and over-the-top dishes that you won't find anywhere else in the city and probably haven't tasted before. Take the Muslim lamb chop, a fall-off-the-bone tender chunk of meat generously seasoned with cumin, chiles, and cloves. Fu Run's no-frills and basic exterior means it often gets overshadowed by Flushing's surrounding malls and dim sum palaces, but that's all the more reason to eat at this untapped gem.

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11. Sun Hing Lung Co. 58 Henry St, New York, NY 10002 (Chinatown)

At Sun Hing Lung Co., you can expect some of the best rice noodle rolls in Chinatown. Order through the small take-out window, and make sure you ask for some egg thrown in!

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12. East Ocean Palace 11315 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375 (Queens)

This Forest Hills Chinese serves mindblowingly good dim sum and a laundry list of authentic Cantonese fare. The dim sum carts feature greatest hits and more unfamiliar plates, so your best bet is to fill one of the huge tables with your 20 closest friends and try as many dishes as possible.