COVID 19 was one of the most unexpected turn of events in 2020 especially when everyone was forced to stop daily life and everything became virtual. The worst-hit places were businesses, specifically those in Chinatown due to the continuous fear of catching the disease.
Growing up Chinese, I spent a lot of time with my family eating in Chinatown.
Every special event, we would find a new place in Chinatown to try. As I grew up, I continued going to eat in Chinatown with my friends. There was so much culture and amazing food places there. Once COVID 19 hit, many tourists stopped coming to New York, which was the main source of income for many businesses there.
Like other parts of NYC, multiple food places had to close down for months, and even now, only outdoor dining and take out is allowed.
I've decided to list some of my personal favorite places in Chinatown that you could support during these tough times.
1. Jing Fong (20 Elizabeth Street)
Established in 1978, this local Dim Sum spot has everything you could ask for. It is known for hosting big events like weddings in their elegant banquet hall. Dim sum is usually served from 10 am to 3 pm and after, the majority of the meals are big dishes. Currently, it's the largest restaurant in Chinatown, seating up to 800 people! Follow their Instagram here!
2. Big Wong's (67 Mott street)
In this small Cantonese cuisine, you can't go wrong with solo dining, or even big groups! This cash-only restaurant offers quick bites in a cute dining area.
3. Shanghai 21 (21 Mott Street)
This tiny restaurant located between Wo Hop and Hop Kee has the best soup dumplings in Chinatown. It accommodates big groups as well as casual walk-ins!
4. Noodle Village (13 Mott Street)
Noodle Village is one of the best places to go when you're craving a bowl of wonton soup! It has many options for big groups and solo dining in a small area that is not overly crowded.
5. Cha Chan Tang (45 Mott Street)
This Hong Kong-style diner is the perfect place to head to for a quick bite. As the wave of Hong Kongers arrived in NYC, they brought along their coffee houses. Cha Chan Tang is great for when you just want a sip of coffee or a small meal before going about your day.
6. Congee Village (100 Allen street)
Located on the outskirts of Chinatown, Congee Village was established in 1996 and is best known for their wide variety of Congee (hence the name). Today, Congee Village is known for the availability of private rooms which includes a TV and Karaoke machine for private parties or business events and big group gatherings. The lobby area is big and decorated with delicate art imported from China that I loved to look at as a child, as well as a bar area.
7. XO Kitchen (148 Hester Street)
XO Kitchen is a small Cantonese restaurant with a wide variety of foods at cheaper options. They use XO sauce which is where they got their name and it's great for a quick meal when you're nearby.
8. West New Malaysia (46-48 Bowery Street)
This medium-sized Malaysian restaurant is located in a small alleyway which is hard to see unless you know the area. They have a wide range of Malaysian food in big portions that many people like to share and they also serve the best ice desserts!
9. M Star Cafe (19 Division Street)
Another Hong Kong-style diner with cute illustrations of Hong Kong idols lining the walls is the best place to go for a simple Chinese breakfast. The Hong Kong-style milk tea and coffee are popular there, with cheap prices and fast service.
10. Peking Duck House (28 Mott Street)
This tourist-centered restaurant is known for, as you can guess, their Peking duck! The chef carves the duck right next to the table which is served with a thin homemade pancake, green scallions, cucumbers, and a special sauce. It's great for big groups and events so be sure to make reservations ahead of time!