The finest Chinese dining establishments across America, encompassing local establishments renowned for their exceptional noodles and dumplings, as well as an iconic dim sum destination.
1. Din Tai Fung | Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles and Seattle have numerous Chinese restaurants catering to diverse culinary preferences. In terms of Beijing’s xiangbing, Peking duck, and cold noodles, Los Angeles offers a wide range of options. However, when it comes to xiao long bao or soup dumplings, both cities unanimously turn to Din Tai Fung. With multiple branches in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Orange County, this Taiwanese dumpling house is immensely popular among locals and tourists. Patrons flock to Din Tai Fung for their signature pork dumplings, with the pork and shrimp variation also highly acclaimed. The Glendale location in Los Angeles offers a unique twist by adding truffle, adding novelty to the culinary legend that is Din Tai Fung.
2. Xi’an Famous Foods | New York City, NY
Chinese-food fanatics rejoiced when this Flushing chainlet began its move into Manhattan. As at its Queens counterparts, the Manhattan shops offer the cuisine of Xi’an, an ancient city in North Central China that was once a vital part of the Silk Road trade routes. The cumin-spiked “lamb burgers,” tangy liang pi cold noodles and warm tofu submerged in crimson chili oil are all must-haves.
3. Yank Sing | San Francisco, CA
The dim sum at Yank Sing is undeniably fresh and flavorful, with aromas that are so tantalizing, you’ll likely gobble them down before finding out what’s in them. This longtime restaurant thrives in an unlikely corner of a massive office complex, thanks to its exceptional cuisine. Ordering is half the fun at this trolley-service dim sum institution, where waiters roll their carts past your table and you can simply point at what looks good. Favorites include shanghai dumplings with pork, scallion, ginger, and a shot of hot broth, stuffed crab claws, and goldfish dumplings filled with crunchy shrimp and bamboo shoot tips.
4. Facing East | Bellevue, WA
Facing East sets itself apart from chains like Din Tai Fung and Boiling Point with a unique and personalized dining experience. Owner Yu-ling Wong’s deep connection to Taiwan is evident in her approach to Taiwanese street eats. She adds a modern twist to traditional dishes, using innovative ingredients like tofu sheets and beet juice. Staples like crispy Tainan shrimp rolls and pork-belly stew over rice are elevated to new heights. Specials like bamboo shoots with salty egg yolk and garlic, as well as shaved ice with fresh mango, are also offered. Notably, their legendary pork “burger” stands out with its generous filling and sprinkling of peanuts and herbs. Facing East’s commitment to preserving the essence of Taiwanese cuisine while incorporating contemporary elements ensures its enduring popularity in Seattle’s chain restaurant-dominated scene.
5. Chengdu Taste | Los Angeles, CA
Tony Xu, a former restaurant owner in China and employee at Panda Restaurant Group in Los Angeles, opened Chengdu Taste in 2013. The restaurant quickly gained popularity in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles, leading to long lines and the opening of a second location in Rosemead. Chengdu Taste serves spicy Szechuan dishes with a dominant red color. Popular menu items include cold mung bean noodles with chili paste, boiled fish in green pepper sauce, stir-fried pig’s intestines, and cumin-seasoned lamb on toothpicks. The flavors are intense and enjoyable, making the wait worthwhile.
6. Grand Sichuan | New York City, NY
Xiaotu “John” Zhang’s Chinese chain may not be as well-known as some of New York’s top restaurateurs, but it has a devoted following nonetheless. Zhang introduced authentic Szechuan cuisine to Chelsea when he opened a location there in 1998. His menu is a passionate ode to the history and preparation of each dish, providing diners with a comprehensive introduction to the upcoming feast. Start with the sinus-clearing dandan noodles, packed with dried peppercorns, or try the addictive gui zhou chicken, which combines dry-fried hot chilies and tongue-tingling Szechuan peppercorns without any heavy sauce. For a milder option, order a basket of eight juicy pork soup dumplings. Don’t be afraid to experiment, as the menu is full of hidden gems, and the only thing you have to lose is your fear of spice.
7. Noodlebird | Chicago, IL
Owners Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo, formerly of Chicago supper club X-Marx, have rebranded their establishment as Fat Rice. They specialize in the cuisine of Macau, a former Portuguese colony located along the South China Sea. The menu reflects a harmonious blend of Portuguese and Chinese influences, featuring dishes such as bacalhau (salt cod), pot stickers, and Szechuan peppercorns. Chef Conlon’s culinary explorations also contribute to the menu’s diversity. Despite the fusion of flavors, the food at Fat Rice is far from typical. The signature “fat rice,” reminiscent of paella, and the comforting combination of tofu and pork belly are both vibrant, personal, and authentically prepared.
8. Lao Sze Chuan | Chicago, IL
Tony Hu uses a generous amount of Szechuan pepper, dried chilies, garlic, and ginger to create flavors that are incredibly enticing. Some of our favorite dishes include Chengdu dumplings, crispy Chinese eggplant with ground pork, twice-cooked pork, mapo tofu, Szechuan prawns, and the “chef’s special” dry chili chicken. With multiple locations throughout the city and suburbs, you can be confident that any selection you make will leave you completely satisfied.
9. Dim Sum Garden | Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia is home to a variety of exceptional contenders, but one Chinatown magnet stands out due to its remarkable backstory. The owners of this establishment can trace their ancestry back to one of the chefs who originally created the beloved xiao long bao, which has become an iconic dish among food enthusiasts. They possess the authentic recipe to validate their claim. Sally Da reveals that her mother-partner, Shizhou, has been skillfully preparing the complete range of Shanghai-style dim sum for over three decades. It is not only the delectable xiao long bao, with their delicate dough and flavorful soup, that have garnered such unwavering loyalty for Dim Sum Garden. The establishment’s extensive menu also features a wide array of dumplings and cakes, available in various shapes, sizes, and cooking methods, including steamed, fried, savory, and sweet options. Furthermore, the restaurant offers an assortment of tantalizing house noodles, each with its own unique twist. Such culinary excellence led Dim Sum Garden to relocate to a larger space in 2013, attracting a consistently bustling crowd of patrons.
10. Peking Gourmet Inn | Falls Church, VA
Peking Gourmet Inn, with its traditional Chinese decor, including painted lanterns, red vinyl booths, and jacketed waiters, exudes a nostalgic charm reminiscent of your grandfather’s era. This is not a coincidence, as the restaurant has been in operation since the late 1970s, when Deborah Lee and Bobby Tsui’s Shandong-born grandfather first established it with a modest eight tables. Over the years, the establishment has undergone significant expansion, but one thing has remained constant: the iconic Peking duck, which takes center stage. This delectable dish is skillfully prepared tableside, with the meat being expertly carved and served alongside crispy, golden skin. To complement this culinary masterpiece, the restaurant offers delicate pancakes, housemade hoisin sauce, and fresh green onions sourced from the family farm, which also supplies the beloved garlic sprouts. In addition to the renowned Peking duck, the menu boasts an array of lamb dishes and jeo-yen shrimp, lightly battered and bursting with garlicky flavors.