The are hundreds of Chinese restaurants in New York City, and they're only getting better.
Thank greater regional diversity of the city's immigrant communities. More discerning diners with higher standards for good food. And a growing sense of competition among restaurants to win us over. But for those of us who love digging into real Chinese food, the question remains: Where should I eat?
This guide is my way of answering that question: over 60 restaurant recommendations for destination-worthy Chinese restaurants, noodle- and dumpling-making experts, brunch-ready dim sum, quick, delicious snacks, and then some. It spans high to low, from one-dollar lamb skewers to chef-oriented restaurants that respect Chinese tradition while turning it on its head. All of which is to say, no matter what your Chinese food craving, you'll likely find it here.
The guide is also optimized for whatever device you read it on. Desktop readers can peruse the entire thing at their leisure with an accompanying map; if you're on your phone, the listings collapse to expandable buttons for easy scrolling. Regardless of device, you can navigate through the guide's six chapters via the table of contents button on the top of the page. And if just want a checklist of restaurants without all the guff, it's all here on Foursquare.
Serious props should go to the Serious Eats product team, Tracie and Paul, who by their powers combined do the work of ten-person departments at other websites. And if you like those pretty illustrations, you can find more over at Zac Overman's portfolio.
Of course like all lists, even borough-crossing, 10,000-word lists, this guide has its limits. Chinese food in New York exists in a state of quantum fluctuation as chefs take posts and leave them without anyone ever knowing, and as new restaurants crop up and old ones close. This guide's publication date is February 16th, 2015. By April it'll need updating. And even though the recommendations come from years of noodle-slurping experience and a couple months of intensive research, I've no doubt missed your favorite hidden gem or misjudged That Place So Obviously Good How Could This Idiot Not Like It.
That's the nature of lists themselves. They're intensely personal and largely unfalsifiable. You can argue with a list, but you can't really win, at least not in any satisfying way. But good dining lists do more than rank and categorize. They show trends, histories, and developments; what a city's cuisine excels at and where its faults lie. They tell a story of what their subject matter is all about and where it's going. That's the impression we've aimed to make here.
So give it a spin and have a happy dumpling crawl, and if you'd like, nominate your own favorites right here.