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