New York is spot on to celebrate the Chinese New Year–it’s home to the largest Chinese community in the Western Hemisphere, a vibrant, colorful neighborhood with lots of buzz and activity. Here, some ideas for where to indulge in great dim sum and Chinese food, as well some cultural spots from my New York City books “New York City with Kids” and “New York City Made Easy.” Happy New Year!
Dim sum is the Cantonese term for small dishes meaning “a little bit of heart.” There are hundreds of types of steamed and fried dim sum (meat, vegetarian, fish). Usually you select from carts that are pushed throughout the restaurant.
20 Elizabeth Street (between Canal and Bayard streets)
It’s all about dim sum at this hugely popular Chinatown restaurant in an equally large space—eating here is an event, not just a meal. You must experience dim sum here—carts with more than 100 dim sum items are whizzed around the room by the hi-tech wait staff who wear microphone headsets. You’ll see lots of Chinese families dining at this festive restaurant.
Another very popular Chinatown dim sum hot spot—the selection is enormous and so is the dining space.
Great New York Noodletown
28 1/2 Bowery (at Bayard St.)
You won’t find dim sum here, but if you love noodles this is a good choice. Think noodle soup, pan fried noodles, lo mein. The restaurant is also known for its salt baked shrimp.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street (between Mott and Elizabeth streets), www.chinatownicecreamfactory.com
Not your traditional ice cream flavors (green tea, taro and lychee), but there’s vanilla, too.
Museum of Chinese in the Americas
70 Mulberry Street
On Friday, the museum is free all day.
Housed in a 19th-century schoolhouse, the museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting Chinese history and culture in the Western Hemisphere with historic photographs, documents and other artifacts. Of particular interest is the collection of tiny shoes from feet-binding days.
Hit Canal Street in Chinatown for bargains galore. Great stores for jewelry include Dragon Jewelry at 195 Canal Street and Golden Pearl Jewelry at 215 Canal Street.