• Wednesday , 24 May 2017

Finally! Your Chinatown Eating Guide in Philadelphia

By Cassie Hepler

We are so sick of hearing the same old phrase:

“I love Chinatown, but I just don’t know where to go.”

Well, because you’re lazy and we’re not, we did the homework for you from some locals who either work, live or eat there every day. Now you can happily meander through the streets of Chinatown and still not really know what you’re doing but at least you’ll know where you’re going and what to eat! You’re welcome.

If you're extra lucky, the dragons may be out blessing local businesses and restaurants with good fortune and prosperity. You can hear the rhythm of the drums from blocks away.

If you’re extra lucky like we were, the dragons may be out blessing local businesses and restaurants with good fortune and prosperity. You can hear the rhythm of the drums from blocks away.

Pho 20

234-236 N. 10th St.

Because it is open on Fridays and Saturday’s until 3 a.m., this is a good place to keep in your (drunken) pocket. As the name states, it’s got the best Pho in Chi Town… and that’s about it. Stick to it, pho sure.

Pho 20 is easy to find at the outer edge of Chinatown toward the highway.

Pho 20 is easy to find at the outer edge of Chinatown toward the highway.

Pho 20 sits on the edge of Chinatown toward the highway.

Pho 20 sits on the edge of Chinatown toward the highway.

Don't forget they are open until 3 a.m. on weekends for some liquid dinner.

Don’t forget they are open until 3 a.m. on weekends for some liquid dinner.

M Kee Restaurant

1002 Race St.

You can’t miss this place because of the hanging ducks in the window and the thick slabs of pork (bacon!) when you walk inside. It’s newer and cleaner than some of its other competitors which makes it more attractive to timid tourists (or city folk who poke around Chinatown). The duck and pork BBQ are the bees knees here.

M Kee Restaurant is hard to miss with the red signs and ducks hanging in the window.

M Kee Restaurant is hard to miss with the red signs and ducks hanging in the window.

Ducks hanging in the window through the glass at M Kee Restaurant.

Ducks hanging in the window through the glass at M Kee Restaurant.

Pork BBQ looks like humungous delicious pieces of fatty bacon!

Pork BBQ looks like a humongous delicious pieces of fatty bacon!

Banana Leaf

1009 Arch St.

If you look up and see a giant sign of a banana leaf, you have arrived. This place is best known for its Malaysian and Thai food and all of it is tasty.

Right down the street from The Trocadero sits the Banana Leaf.

Right down the street from The Trocadero sits the Banana Leaf restaurant.

The Banana Leaf has double the leaves and can't be missed if you're looking up.

The Banana Leaf has double the leaves and can’t be missed if you’re looking up.

Just in case you don't know what you are getting yourself into, they let you know on top of the door.

Just in case you don’t know what you are getting yourself into, they let you know on top of the door.

Tango

1021 Arch St.

The only place in Chinatown with bottle service, the private karaoke rooms, chicken wings, skewers and the seafood pan fry dumplings are worth the trip alone. And be glad you can hide your horrible singing voice behind closed doors! Rumor has it 50 Cent hangs out here too so you can get a good look at that wad of cash in his pocket.

The exterior of Tango looks so different and modern from most of Chinatown.

The exterior of Tango looks different and more modern than most of Chinatown.

The inside, first floor bar seems to go on for forever.

The inside, first floor bar seems to go on for forever.

The second floor bar at Tango.

The second floor bar at Tango.

One of the 40 plus person private karaoke rooms.

One of the 40 plus person private karaoke rooms.

A singing screen in the private karaoke rooms.

A singing screen in the private karaoke rooms.

Dual singing screen in the private karaoke rooms.

A dual singing screen in the private karaoke rooms.

Tea Do

132 N. 10th St.

A bubble tea and cafe, this is the best place in Chi town to juice up. For all you bubble tea virgins, here’s the scoop: Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed/shaken with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls and/or fruit jellies are often added. And those balls are delicious! The honey jasmine is to die for, zen awakening is helluva popular and watermelon is always a hit in the summer. Open til midnight or 1 a.m. on weekends, it’s never too late for caffeine!

Keep an eye out for this awesome dragon mural on the side of the building.

Keep an eye out for this awesome dragon mural on the side of the building.

Inside Teo Do, it's cool and chill ready for some bubble tea and snacks.

Inside Teo Do, it’s cool and chill. Get ready for some bubble tea and snacks.

Watermelon, coffee and honey jasmine bubble tea with aloe vera taste excellent and refreshing on a hot summer day. Cheap snacks in the background offer some food stuffs too!

Watermelon, coffee and honey jasmine bubble tea with aloe vera taste excellent and refreshing on a hot summer day. Cheap snacks in the background offer some yummy food stuffs too!

Ocean City

234 N. 9th St.

This group-friendly eatery offers authentic dim sum served from multiple roving carts. And the dim sum is where it’s at there, served until 3 p.m., get your bum in there for a late or long lunch.

Ocean City is hard to miss and just as large on the inside with a hospitable, sweet owner.

Ocean City is hard to miss and just as large on the inside with a hospitable, sweet owner.

Red Kings 2 Restaurant

1006 Race St.

This Chinese BYOB restaurant is the place to go for delicious Schezuan with private karaoke lounges. Named after Chinese cooking that is spicy, oily and especially peppery from the Schezuan part of China, the foods in this region tend to be on the spicier side. Some Indian spices are also prominent, so take it easy, Rambo.

Red Kings 2 Restaurant warns you it's spicy with peppers in the logo.

Red Kings 2 Restaurant warns you it’s spicy with peppers in the logo.

Enter inside to a nice, relaxing place to burn your face off.

Enter inside to a nice, relaxing place to burn your face off.

E Mei Restaurant

915 Arch St.

If you are a true sadist, you will immediately leave Red Kings 2 for lunch and go here for more spicy, yummy Schezuan food. Remember, vinegar and milk are natural my-mouth-is-burning-off soothers.

Look for the blue signs to know you have found EMei.

Look for the blue signs to know you have found E Mei.

The interior of EMei Restaurant.

The interior of E Mei Restaurant.

Spicy Port Stew, a mix of beef, fish, pork, blood tofu, etc. to challenge your spicy limit!

Spicy Port Stew, a mix of beef, fish, pork, blood tofu, etc. to challenge your spicy limit!

Tai Lake Restaurant

134 N. 10th St.

Cantonese traditional seafood dishes are the specialty of this Chinese BYOB joint with banquet-style seating. You can’t go wrong with anything here.

Don't judge a tasty book by its cover!

Don’t judge a tasty book by its cover!

When you walk in the door, don't be scared by fresh seafood waiting to be eaten like these crabs.

When you walk in the door, don’t be scared by fresh seafood waiting to be eaten like these crabs.

Frog legs are obviously on the menu as well.

Frog legs are obviously on the menu as well.

The ugly fish tastes better than they look.

The ugly fish tastes better than they look.

This guy's got his eye on us.

This guy’s got his eye on us.

A whole bunch of eels swim around, waiting to be chosen to feed hungry customers.

A whole bunch of eels swim around, waiting to be chosen to feed hungry customers.

Pho Xe Lua Viet Thai

907 Race St.

Even the locals call it the Vietnamese choo-choo place. Don’t believe the photos on the menu, someone once ended up with a gelatinous blob with seafood in it… instead stick to the stir fry BBQ, beef chow fun with satay stir fry sauce or seafood pan fry noodle for maximum nom-iness. A rice platter, stir fry meat dish and suck salad are also stellar choices.

Usually the choo-choo train sign is all lit up and impossible to miss in the window.

Usually the choo-choo train sign is all lit up and impossible to miss in the window.

It's not often you see a neon train.

It’s not often you see a neon train (not lit here).

Terakawa Ramen

204 N. 9th St.

A casual-chic ramen bar with noodles in many flavor combinations, plus Japanese curries and donburi (a rice bowl dish consisting of fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together and served over rice). The ramen is what the get here. More carbs, please!

The place to get some mighty fine ramen in Chinatown.

The place to get some mighty fine ramen in Chinatown.

Sakura Mandarin

1038 Race St.

Lime-green walls greet soup dumpling lovers with six options to choose from. Shanghai influence here with pan fried soup dumpling, spicy stir fry bowl and steamed dumpling (where you bite the top in and let the soup drain inside to soak).

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The food is so good, they expanded another block!

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A feast fit for a king… or queen or both!

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With always fresh ingredients, this family puts a lot of love in their dishes.

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These dumplings are as delicious as they look!

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The spicy stir fry bowl you kind of want to put your face in!

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You need to bite the tip and dump the soup inside.

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Watch out, steaming buns coming at your face!

Ting Wong Restaurant

138 N. 10th St.

The duck is the bomb.com here and is number one for duck, in front of M Kee Restaurant (above). The first to serve up Daffy in Chi Town, the BBQ pork and Hong Kong wonton are also worth a tasty taste.

Ting Wong Restaurant is easy to miss so keep an eye out for this sign.

Ting Wong Restaurant is easy to miss so keep an eye out for this sign.

David’s Mai Lai Wah

1001 Race St.

And last but not least, the place that is open until 3 a.m. that we all know and love for various reasons (drunken noodles anyone?) Everything here is worth a try, so far nothing has been disappointing and at their low pricing, you can get more bang for your buck.

David's is a favorite late night soak up the booze spot.

David’s is a favorite late night soak-up-the-booze spot.

Just in case you walk past it, look for David's neon glowing red sign in the window. Late night eats await!

Just in case you walk past it, look for David’s neon glowing red sign in the window. Late night eats await!

On your way out, notice and appreciate the uniqueness that is Chinatown in Philadelphia.

American flags hang above the Chinatown ornate archway facing the Convention Center.

American flags hang above the Chinatown ornate archway facing the Convention Center.

A taste of Chinatown at the end of 11th Street.

A taste of Chinatown at the end of 11th Street.

Lin Zexu Memorial statue looks wise guarding Chinatown.

Lin Zexu Memorial statue looks wise guarding Chinatown.

Beasts such as this one are protectors of the realm.

Beasts such as this one are protectors of the realm.

If you ever wonder if you're still in Chinatown, just look down. These Chinese New Year animals are scattered throughout the area.

If you ever wonder if you’re still in Chinatown, just look down. These Chinese New Year animals like this monkey are scattered throughout the area.

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