Video: The Best Restaurants in Chinatown NYC (Besides Ours)

Of all the neighborhoods in New York City, Chinatown has the strongest entrepreneurial spirit. In a city that is in a constant state of flux, the neighborhood grows and adapts without losing its roots. While we’ve seen neighborhoods in the city gentrify, the changes to Chinatown are driven by its own community, which makes it hands-down one of the most vibrant and exciting places to be right now. A community that blossomed in the 1960s has remained the go-to for the best dim sum and New York Chinese restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Chinatown NYC are those old standbys like Tung Woo tofu, but then there are new ones like Chikarashi and The Good Sort that are serving the appetites of people today.  

But it’s not just food. The sons and daughters of current shop owners are adapting to a Chinatown that is evolving. They’re taking spaces that their parents have owned for 20, 30, 40 years and modernizing them without changing their essence. Take the guy who has an eastern medicine store with traditional herbs and animal products that have been used for healing for centuries. His kids are coming in and saying, “Ok, let’s turn this into a wellness center.” They’re rebranding as the neighborhood changes, but dad’s traditional remedies are still there. These shops have been selling the bone broths and green teas that are considered trendy or life-altering for decades. They just weren’t marketing them to clientele outside the community.

Now their kids are rebranding tradition -- and the neighborhood loves it.

It’s been happening for decades. The families developing the area have lived here for decades -- they can go to Ellis Island, point to their names in the ledger and say, “This is where I come from.” Even the hotel that houses Rice & Gold, the Hotel 50 Bowery, has been owned by the Chu family for decades. Joseph Chu bought the property in the 1970s turning it into become the first prominent Chinese-owned and-operated hotel in the area.

There’s a strong sense of pride and determination that runs through the owners of Chinatown’s restaurants and shops. I think it’s a kind of resilience that runs strong in Asian communities. You hit us, we bounce back. You change the rules, we adapt.

Chinatown is Chinatown. We will survive with or without you.

Nick Johnson