Based on millions of users across the world, we picked the three best restaurants for Chinese food near you.
Top Cities in the US for Chinese food
There are great Chinese restaurants all over the United States. But, these 10 cities stand out for having some of the best.
- San Francisco has one of the oldest Chinatowns in the US. Besides that, there are small pockets of great Chinese restaurants all over the SF Bay Area, like in San Mateo and Fremont.
- New York City has three major Chinatowns. The most well known is in Manhattan, but there is also one in Brooklyn and the largest one out in Flushing.
- Chicago’s Chinatown dates back to 1906 and has no shortage of great restaurants. You can even get there by water taxi from the Loop.
- Seattle has an area called Chinatown-International District that is a mix of many Asian cultures. Not only are there great Chinese restaurants, but you’ll also find great Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese restaurants as well.
- Philadelphia has a small Chinatown near the downtown area that is about 60 years old. This is younger than many cities. It’s a mix of several Asian cultures with great restaurants and shopping.
- Honolulu has a thriving Chinatown just outside of the downtown area near the government buildings. There are many markets and shops during the day and a bustling bar scene at night.
- Boston has a tiny but old Chinatown very near Boston Commons. Today it’s a mix of old and new buildings with great selection of restaurants.
- Los Angeles has several Chinatowns just like NYC. The old Chinatown is just north of downtown. The new Chinatown is in the San Gabriel Valley and is huge. Locals swear the best Chinese food is in San Gabriel.
- Houston has more than BBQ! They also have a thriving Chinatown and Asian community. Follow it along Bellaire Blvd and you’ll find many great restaurants and shops.
- Washington DC has a tiny but interesting Chinatown with a mix of American and Chinese history. You’ll find enough shops and restaurants to keep you busy for an afternoon.
Is it authentic?
Most of the Chinese restaurants in the US adjust for local ingredients and American palates. But there is a rise in more authentic Chinese restaurants as interest in authentic flavors grows.
Many of the classic dishes Americans know were in fact invented in the US. This list of dishes wouldn’t even be recognized if they were served in China:
- General Tso’s Chicken references a real Chinese general, but was invented and named in the US.
- Beef and Broccoli uses Chinese technique but with American broccoli.
- Crab Rangoon is full of cream cheese, which doesn’t even exist in China.
- Fortune cookies are Japanese but adopted by Chinese Americans.
- Chop Suey hails from San Francisco.
- Egg Foo Young originates from a Cantonese dish, but has evolved far.
- Kung Pao Chicken exists in China but it’s completely different.
- Orange Chicken has Panda Express to thank for its existence.
- Egg Rolls are like Chinese spring rolls, but definitely American.
The secret menu
Nearly all Chinese restaurants have a secret menu. It may not be printed, but there are always dishes they can make that are not on the standard menu.
It’s common for Chinese restaurants to have a standard menu designed for American tastes. But the restaurant workers, who are usually from China often prefer to eat more authentic dishes from their region of China. If you happen to see some of the restaurant staff taking a break and having a meal, don’t be surprised if they’re eating dishes not on the regular menu.
One of the easiest ways to find the secret menu is to ask the server which province they are from. Then ask if the menu has any dishes from their province. If not, ask if they can make anything from that province.
What about MSG?
This shouldn’t be a controversial topic considering that MSG occurs naturally in most of the foods we eat, like meat, tomatoes and many other foods. In fact, all the commercial MSG produced for the US market comes from corn.
You can read what Mayo Clinic has to say about MSG.
If you’re not feeling well after eating Chinese food, maybe it’s because it was so good you ate too much.