18 E Broadway, Chinatown
No NYC dim sum list would be complete without Golden Unicorn, the classic, 2-story Cantonese spot that draws tourists and New Yorkers alike with its ornate decorations and delicious dim sum offerings. Since everything (they’re best known for mainstays like shrimp and pork shumai and BBQ pork buns) gets piled high in baskets and rolled around the dining room on carts, try to snag a seat near the kitchen, ensuring you get the freshest possible food. Oh, and be sure to order the little piggy buns, filled with egg custard and endlessly instagrammable.
20 Elizabeth St., Chinatown
If you’re looking for a quintessential New York dim sum experience, Jing Fong is probably your best bet. With a sprawling dining room (it seats 800), communal tables, and blue and pink fluorescent lighting, this Cantonese palace is worth a trip for the fun (if slightly chaotic) atmosphere alone. Some reliable dishes include the soup dumplings, vegetable dumplings, and rice noodle rolls with shrimp. Go during the week, or be prepared to wait at least an hour on the weekends.
130 Division St., Chinatown
Despite the Chinese characters on the awning outside, stepping through the olive green French doors at Kiki's on tiny Division Street, near the border of Chinatown and LES, sort of feels like you're walking into a taverna in Greece. The vibe is part local, part hipster, all fun; and the food—from grilled octopus to Greek salad, tzatziki, and Melitzanosalata (eggplant mash)—is simply done and very good.
171 E. Broadway, Chinatown
Tucked away in the Eastern corner of Chinatown (be sure not to confuse E. Broadway with Broadway), this outpost of Mission Chinese is actually the second take on the concept and it’s much more dressed-up than the first (for one, there’s a proper kitchen in the basement rather than a tiny galley situation separated from diners by a thin sheet of plexiglass). The food is just as quirky and great: Steamed oat noodles, a perfect duck wrapped in lotus leaf, and anchovies, pickled in chili and served on flatbread are favorites.
13 Doyers St., Chinatown
This NYC institution has been around since 1920, and although it’s evolved and changed over time (it was originally a bakery and teahouse serving dim sum on the side), it’s still one of our favorite places in New York. The small dining room, decked out with booths and red-checkered tablecloths, is adorable, and their scallion pancakes, “OG” egg rolls, and anything made with rice noodles (like the har gow and any of the rice rolls) do not disappoint. Don’t confuse this with the new-ish NoLita location – although the food is solid, the more modern, fast-casual concept in no way rivals the funky charm of the original.
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