The Chinatown Chronicles- Volume One

I love Chinatown in NYC.  All three of them- Sunset Park in Brooklyn, Flushing in Queens and the original in downtown Manhattan. I hope this series provides you with some tips that will help you discover some true culinary treasures of your own in your Chinatown.

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My high school friends and I started coming into “The City” on weekends and summer days, under the harbor from Brooklyn and over it by ferry from Staten Island. Many times a walk up to Chinatown for lunch was suggested. You knew you could eat a great meal for not much more than McDonalds. The dumplings, the jasmine tea, the spicy dishes- the choice was easy for me.

Wo Hop was the go to place at first. Some of the kids we knew came with their parents on weekends and they had other places to recommend. Some us began to find new places a little off the beaten path eastward, under the bridge by East Broadway.

I will introduce you to my favorite Asian markets and street food spots in all three NYC Chinatowns.  Here the adventurous home cook can stock up spices, sauces, teas, various spring roll skins and pillowy bao rolls. Fresh, low cost vegetables and exotic fruits for lighter seasonal dishes. I counted six different types of mushrooms on a recent visit.

I took a year of Mandarin at Brooklyn College and can still speak a couple of phrases that get a smile or two at restaurants and shops. I will include a few phrases in each segment. Most people will appreciate you trying even if you don’t get it perfect.

A FEW HELPFUL MANDARIN PHRASES

  • Yǒu shénme hào chī de: What’s good to eat?
  • Wǒ yào zhège: I would like this one.
  • Zhè shì shénme: What is this?
  • Càidān: Menu
  • Diǎn cài: To order
  • Duōshǎo qián: How much (does it cost)?
  • Hěn hào chī: Delicious
  • Zhēn bàng: Awesome

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We start our journey into the mysteries of Chinatown with a walk through of one of my favorite markets, Deluxe Food Market, 79 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013
212-925-5766.  The store runs the entire width of the block from Mott Street to Elizabeth Street and is chock full of fresh fish, meats and prepared food.  Their frozen dumpling selection is vast and can fill out a dim sum brunch menu very nicely. Specialty prepped dishes like braised chicken feet, marinated beef tripe, lamb shanks and pig’s ears will shake up the taste buds. Great value for money here.

Check Out the Two Minute Clip Here-

 

 

 

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