Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is home to one of the largest Chinese populations in New York City. As a result, the neighborhood boasts some of the most authentic and delicious Chinese food you’ll find outside of China.
From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to bustling dim sum halls, Bay Ridge offers various Chinese cuisines to satisfy any craving.
What Makes Chinese Food in Bay Ridge Special?
There are a few key factors that set Bay Ridge’s Chinese food apart:
With a large Chinese immigrant population, many restaurants in Bay Ridge are owned and operated by Chinese families.
The chefs cook regional specialties from their hometowns in China, using generations-old recipes and techniques. The food is as authentic as you can get without hopping on a plane to China!
Diversity of Regional Cuisines
Bay Ridge’s Chinese community hails from diverse regions of China, like Fujian, Guangdong, Sichuan, and Shanghai. This means you can taste dishes from various regional cuisines in one Brooklyn neighborhood!
From the numbing spice of Sichuan to the delicate flavors of Shanghai, there is bound to be a regional Chinese cuisine to suit your tastes.
To create authentic Chinese flavors, restaurants source high-quality ingredients like fresh seafood, produce, Chinese spices, and sauces. Attention to ingredient quality separates the great Chinese restaurants from the mediocre.
Prices stay reasonable with competition among many excellent Chinese restaurants packed into one neighborhood. Plus, portions are generous at many Bay Ridge Chinese eateries. This makes it easy to eat very well, even on a budget.
Must-Try Chinese Restaurants in Bay Ridge
If you love Chinese food, don’t miss these top restaurants on your next visit to Bay Ridge:
1. Harbor Grand Restaurant – Best High-End
With elegant décor and flawless service, Harbor Grand brings 5-star dining to Bay Ridge’s Chinatown. The sophisticated ambiance matches the impeccable Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine.
Standouts include the Peking duck, lobster Cantonese-style, and chicken with garlic sauce. Please make a reservation to experience Chinatown fine dining at its best.
2. Grand Imperial Restaurant – Best Dim Sum
For dim sum devotees, Grand Imperial offers Bay Ridge’s ultimate dim sum experience. Their expansive dining room fills up every weekend with hungry dark sum fans.
Must-try bites include shrimp dumplings, pork buns, turnip cakes, and egg custard tarts. Go with a group to sample as many items as possible from the extensive dim sum menu!
3. Win Son Bakery – Best Chinese Pastries
In the mood for Chinese pastries and baked goods? Stop by Win Son Bakery. Their display case overflows with buns, cakes, tarts, and other confections. Seasonal highlights include mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Don’t miss their popular egg custard tarts with the perfect balance of creamy and crispy textures.
4. East Harbor Seafood Palace – Best Seafood
For impeccably fresh seafood, East Harbor Seafood Palace is a longtime favorite. Their seafood is flown daily from Asian markets to create Chinese seafood specialties.
Highlights include lobster Cantonese-style, Singapore chili crab, salt and pepper shrimp, and steamed whole fish. It’s a seafood lover’s paradise.
5. Golden Fung Wong Bakery – Best Roast Pork Buns
Suppose you love Chinese roast pork buns; head straight to Golden Fung Wong Bakery. Their buns have earned citywide acclaim for the tender, juicy roasted pork and fluffy bun. You can’t go wrong by grabbing a few (or a few dozen) of these pillowy pork buns to eat on the go.
6. Fei Long Supermarket – Best Chinese Groceries
After tasting through Bay Ridge’s excellent Chinese fare, stop by Fei Long Supermarket. Shop aisles of Chinese ingredients to try cooking Chinese dishes at home. They also have prepared takeout dishes like roast duck and roast pork. Pick up some goodies for friends back home, like exotic Asian snacks and Chinese tea.
Regional Chinese Cuisines Found in Bay Ridge
One of the treats of eating in Chinese enclaves like Bay Ridge is the opportunity to taste regional cuisine from all over China. Here are some of the significant regional cuisines represented:
Originating from Guangdong province, Cantonese cuisine dominates most North American Chinatowns. Dishes tend to be light and emphasize freshness of ingredients. Must-tries are roast duck and pork, dim sum, seafood, and desserts like egg custard tarts.
Known for numbing peppercorns and red chilies, Sichuan cuisine showcases bold, spicy flavors. Popular dishes include Kung Pao chicken, twice-cooked pork, and ma po tofu.
Hailing from Fujian province, this cuisine uses ingredients like rice noodles, peanuts, and seafood. Try oyster omelets, Buddha jumping over the wall, and beef noodle soup.
Cuisine from Shanghai tends to be on the sweeter side and focuses on the texture of ingredients. Dishes like soup dumplings, drunken chicken, and braised pork belly exemplify this regional cuisine.
In Northern China, this cuisine relies heavily on noodles, mutton, and cabbage. Try favorites like Zha Jiang Mian (noodles with soybean paste) or Mongolian hot pot.
Dim Sum Etiquette for First-Timers
If you’ve never experienced the joy of yum cha (Cantonese for “drink tea”), here’s a quick dim sum etiquette guide:
- Go early or prepare to wait. Many popular dim sum spots get packed on weekends. Arrive when doors open or expect an hour’s wait.
- Don’t sit down right away. Wait to get seated by a staff member so you don’t accidentally take someone else’s table.
- Order a pot of Chinese tea. This is customary when dining at a dim sum spot. Oolong and jasmine teas pair nicely with dim sum.
- Browse the dim sum carts. Servers will wheel around carts of dim sum dishes for you to see. You can also order from a paper menu.
- Use the stamp card system. Servers will give each table a paper card. Mark what dishes you want by stamping the card. You’ll get charged by the number of stamps at the end.
- Don’t be shy to order. Try new things and order whatever looks good! It’s customary to order multiple dishes and share.
- Use chopsticks and spoons. Dim sum dishes are bite-sized, so chopsticks and Chinese spoons are provided for eating.
- Relax and take your time. Dim sum dining is meant to be a leisurely experience. Sit back, sip tea, and enjoy the delightful bites.
Insider Tips for Finding the Best Chinese Food in Bay Ridge
Here are some tips from Chinese food specialists on finding the tastiest cuisine in Bay Ridge:
- Follow the locals. Check where Chinese families and seniors dine to find the best comfort food dishes.
- Look for Chinese-only menus. Restaurants with menus in Chinese indicate more authenticity.
- Bring cash. Many old-school places are still cash-only. Stop by an ATM beforehand.
- Go for lunch. You’ll get the same great food for cheaper lunch special prices.
- Check the tank and aisle. Live seafood tanks and aisles of Chinese sauces, produce, and spices signal quality.
- Learn some basic Chinese. Knowing a few phrases opens doors at non-English-friendly spots.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the tastiest food comes from hole-in-the-wall or dumpy-looking joints.
- Spend time wandering. Part of the fun is exploring unknown restaurants down side streets and alleys.
- Bring friends and family. More people means you can taste more dishes at the table to share.
Satisfy Your Chinese Food Cravings in Bay Ridge
Are you craving authentic Chinese food? Venture out to Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood for the real deal. From Cantonese dim sum to spicy Sichuan fare, you’ll find all of China’s regional cuisines packed into a few bustling blocks.
Follow the locals to hole-in-the-wall restaurants cooking up secret family recipes. Bring your appetite, an adventurous spirit, and chopsticks to experience Bay Ridge’s mouthwatering Chinese food scene fully. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, like egg custard tarts!