As someone who comes from a Chinese background, I grew up spoiled by endless homecooked, mouthwatering dishes that any modern day foodie would die for. Chinese food is near and dear to my heart and remains one of my absolute favorite comfort food options. However, since growing up, I realized how most of America’s perception of Chinese food was completely misled. It is primarily only thought to be served in greasy takeout boxes and packaged with a fortune cookie on the side. Granted, there is nothing wrong with this genre of food, but I am so glad authentic regional Chinese food has been recently reintroduced in new and honest ways.
Perhaps one of my hardest posts to write, I managed to narrow down my top 10 to-die-for authentic Chinese dishes and where to find them in New York City.
1. Xiao Long Bao
A glorious, mastermind of a dish that couples steamed dumplings with piping hot soup. Just the thought of it makes my stomach grumble in anticipation! These are often eaten in celebration of Chinese New Year as they symbolize wealth and good fortune.
Where to Eat: Joe’s Shanghai – New York, NY
2. Peking Duck
This Chinese dish has been around since the imperial era. If you have ever walked through Chinatown, I am sure you have seen this roasted duck hanging somewhere. This dish is a combo of a crispy outside and a tender, juicy inside.
Where to Eat: Decoy – New York, NY
3. Hot Pot
One of my favorite meals to share with friends and family is hot pot. It is an interactive meal that lets you bond with whomever you are eating with. Hot pot is equivalent to fondue where you cook a variety of ingredients in a simmering pot of soup.
4. Stinky Tofu
Not for the faint of heart, stinky tofu is one of my guilty pleasures! If you can get over its strong, slightly offensive smell, then you are in for a treat. Although it is typically more of a Chinese street food snack, this dish is definitely worth a try.
Where to Eat: Ku Shian – Flushing, NY
5. Dim Sum
Rather a specific dish, dim sum actually encompasses a number of bite-sized dumplings served in bamboo steamer baskets. This is another amazing meal often served family style. Unlike most dim sum joints, Tim Ho Wan’s dishes are made to order. It’s no wonder they are deemed Dim Sum Specialists. Everything served is so fresh and delicious!
My mom used to make this for me whenever I was feeling sick, so it brings back a lot of childhood memories. Congee is essentially the Chinese version of the chicken noodle soup. It’s a creamy rice porridge that tends to be different wherever you go, but that’s one of the beauties of it. No other restaurant serves it up better than Congee Village!
Where to Eat: Congee Village – New York, NY
7. Wonton Noodle Soup
Wonton noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food. A delicious dish can be identified by the quality of the broth, noodles, and dumplings. Great NY Noodletown is my favorite because the noodle dishes come with clean, non-greasy broth and thin, fresh noodles. The wontons themselves (kind of like dumplings) are tasty and full of shrimp with a rather thin shell. I can’t help but salivate thinking about it!
Where to Eat: Great NY Noodletown – New York, NY
8. Dan Dan Mein
For those who like dishes that bring the heat, dan dan mein is definitely for you. It consists of long, thin noodles dressed in hot chili oil and mixed with minced pork and pickled vegetables. It’s like the Chinese version of spaghetti – super delicious!
Where to Eat: Han Dynasty – New York, NY
9. Ma Po Tofu
From the Sichuan province, traditional ma po tofu is decadent, spicy, savory and highly addictive. Similar to Dan Dan Mein, this dish also contains lots of chili oil, in addition to a boatload of peppercorns infused into the sauce. It’s amazing when eaten with rice.
Where to Eat: Mission Chinese Food – New York, NY
10. Char Siu Bao
Let’s conclude with one of my all time favorites, char siu bao also known as pork buns. It features red barbecue pork inside and white fluffy bread on the outside. The texture is so soft and dreamy. It makes for a great snack or quick breakfast when on-the-go!
What are some of your favorite authentic Chinese dishes?