The Chinatown in New York City is located north of the Financial District area of Lower Manhattan. It is one of the largest Chinatowns in the United States, and one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves in the western hemisphere. Today in New York City area there are also the Flushing Chinatown and Brooklyn Chinatown where large concentration of Chinese can be found, but the Manhattan Chinatown remains to be a popular destination for tourists given its easy to reach location in Manhattan.

My first visit to Chinatown was during my first trip to New York City almost twenty years ago. We went there for dinner as a tour group for dinner, and we had the option of looking for Chinese food in Chinatown or Italian food in nearby Little Italy. Having spent my first few months in the United States as an exchange student in a small town in Michigan where there were not many Asians around, it was quite a shock to the senses to see so many Chinese around, walking on crowded sidewalk of Canal Street with street vendors selling souvenirs, luxury goods knockoffs, snacks, etc. and seeing stores and restaurants with Chinese signs.

Many years later, after spending years living in bigger cities where you can find more ethnic diversity, it’s no longer a novelty to visit Chinatown. But I still go there when visiting New York; you can still find good Chinese food there.

The photo below was taken during one of those meals at Chinatown. This one was at Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant, which is known for its Shanghai-style soup dumplings (xiao long bao). The little steamed dumpling actually has soup inside, so you have to eat it very carefully; put the dumpling on a spoon, bite the skin a little bit so you can drink in the soup, then you finish with the rest of the dumpling.

Xiao long bao (soup dumpling) at Joe's Shanghai

2 thoughts on “Chinatown

    • They probably have fried rice, but if you’re looking for Malaysian/Indonesian style, there are a couple of restaurants in Chinatown area called Sanur and Nyonya to check out.

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