Lunar New Year

Where to Eat in Philadelphia’s Chinatown

From hand-drawn noodles and sushi to hotpot and roasted duck.

Chinatown in Philadelphia
Chinatown in Philadelphia | Tupungato/Shutterstock
Chinatown in Philadelphia | Tupungato/Shutterstock

Past that famous Chinatown Friendship Gate is a world of eclectic shops, after-hours nightlife, and so much good food. Philly’s Chinatown neighborhood has a long-running tradition representing Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and so many other types of cuisine.

As COVID-19 continues to impact Philly's local businesses, many Chinatown favorites have had to shift to stay strong. “We started delivery during the pandemic and are glad to open again," said David Zhao, owner of Chubby Cattle. "We definitely had to work with the local government, but the restrictions are difficult. There is some hope, though, because people are excited to dine in again.”

In other words, it’s more important than ever to support the Chinatown neighborhood—whether you’re getting takeout or dining in. From creative sushi to hand-drawn noodles to hotpot to roasted duck, these are our picks for what to eat in Chinatown.

Dim Sum is only one part of the amazingness you can find here, and Tom’s Dim Sum makes for a perfect foray into the dining world of Chinatown. The scallion pancakes are not to be skipped, and nobody will judge you if you end up filling up on those alone—you’d be missing out, though, if you don’t get at least some chicken soup dumplings too.
What to order: Scallion pancakes
How to order: Takeout only online

After taking off in Vegas, Philly got its own Chubby Cattle in 2018 does not disappoint as an experiential dining destination (complete with premium wagyu beef and handmade noodles). Select your broth of choice for making your food and, if dining in, keep your eyes peeled for the treats that cross your path on the ever-moving (and refrigerated) conveyor belt. 
What to order: A5 Wagyu Beef
How to order: Reserve a table or order takeout and delivery online

You can find fascinating hybrid dishes at Xi’an Sizzling Woks, which revolves around Shaanxi cuisine. Think favorite standbys such as egg rolls, general tso’s, and lo mein alongside specialties including chive pie, rice noodle casserole, and Chinese hamburger made with your choice of braised or spicy minced pork. 
What to order: Chinese hamburger
How to order: Order for takeout online

With hand-drawn noodles running the game, it’s hard to go wrong with any noodle-centric dish at Spice C—even more so if you’re interested in the Chef’s special Singapore rice noodle, a stir-fry of the ultra-thin rice vermicelli-style noodle. You can also opt for knife-cut shaved noodles over hand-drawn.
What to order: House special hand-drawn noodles
How to order: Order for takeout online

Penang offers Malaysian cuisine in an airy open-kitchen space, all the better for watching and waiting for homemade roti canai, steamed Penang popiah, and shrimp puffs wrapped in bacon. If you’re new to Malaysian fare, the beef rendang is a great first dish, super tender and packed with flavor.
What to order: Beef rendang
How to order: Tables are first-come, first-served or call 215-413-2531 for takeout

Late-night karaoke at Yakitori Boy is a rite of passage for any Philadelphian under the age of 30. But it’s a worthwhile destination in non-vampire hours, too. The massive sushi and izakaya menu gives you a lot to consider, a lot to sample, and a lot to wash down with a saki bomb.
What to order: Pork belly yakitori
How to order: Make a reservation via OpenTable or order takeout and delivery online

Bubblefish offers excellent sushi and an astounding menu of boba tea, but it’s also BYOB in case you need something a little stronger. The Marilyn Monroll ups the usual tuna-salmon-avocado game with a layer of torched white tuna, while the monster roll introduces some mango for a more flavorful surprise.
What to order: Marilyn Monroll
How to order: Order takeout online or get delivery via Uber Eats, Grubhub, Caviar

Bao buns and noodles are delicious here, but they’re no match for the real star of the show: Chinese desserts and breakfast, including salty tofu, sticky rice, sweet tofu pudding, and warm soy milk. 
What to order: Salty tofu
How to order: Walkup for takeout or Postmates for delivery

If you have your eye on the prize and the prize is dumplings, you need only stop at Dim Sum Garden. The Shanghai, pan-fried pork soup dumplings are among the best in town, while the spicy shrimp dumplings will live up to their name and then some. If dumplings aren’t quite enough for you, you’ll also find a lengthy menu of hot pot, noodles, soup, fried rice, and more.
What to order: Shanghai pan-fried pork soup dumplings
How to order: Takeout online, or delivery via DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub

Rangoon brings Burmese food to Philly, offering diverse dishes featuring combinations of noodle salads, curries, white rice, and soups. Try the Burmese wonton for crispy pork and a sweet coconut syrup, or the spare ribs for a saucy mix of basil, coriander, garlic, and house-blended seasonings. And don’t forget the pineapple jello crunch for dessert.
What to order: Burmese wonton
How to order: Call 215-829-8939 for pickup or Caviar for delivery

This dessert destination takes traditional French-style pastries and desserts and infuses them with ingredients like lychee, matcha, mango, and more of what the shop calls “Asian flare.”  
What to order: Matcha Korean-style macaron
How to order: Walk-up or preorder online for takeout

In normal times, this will hopefully be another ideal destination for late-night karaoke and spicy Szechuan food (the kitchen stays open late!). But for now we’ll have to settle for digging in sans crowds. Go for chicken or pork sauteed with long hot pepper if you’re in the mood for some spice, or kick it up a notch with boiled beef or fish fillet doused with chili oil. 
What to order: Boiled beef in chili oil
How to order: Delivery or takeout available online

Sang Kee Peking Duck House has been roasting ducks for more than 40 years, and the titular menu item is easily a Philly bucket list must. Other favorites including the boneless BBQ roast pork, which you can take home by the pound, and a batch of golden fried buns drizzled with condensed milk.
What to order: Hong Kong-style roast duck
How to order: Order for pickup or delivery online

Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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