Regarding Chinese cuisine in the United States, New York City holds a special place in food enthusiasts’ hearts and taste buds.
Nestled among the bustling streets and diverse neighbourhoods of the Big Apple, you’ll find an array of Chinese restaurants serving a unique and delicious twist on traditional Chinese dishes.
Welcome to the world of NY Style Chinese Food – a culinary journey that combines the rich flavours of China with the creativity and innovation of New York City’s vibrant food scene.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on a mouthwatering exploration of what NY-style Chinese Food is all about.
From the iconic dishes that define this cuisine to the cultural influences that have shaped it, you’ll discover why this fusion of flavours has become a beloved staple in the city that never sleeps.
So, fasten your seatbelts and embark on a delectable adventure through the streets of New York City, where the work sizzles, the dumplings delight, and the flavours are truly unforgettable.
What is NY Style Chinese Food?
NY style Chinese food refers to the distinct regional Chinese cuisine that has developed in New York City. It features Americanized dishes like General Tso’s chicken along with authentic Chinese fare from various regions.
Signature NY dishes include egg rolls, dumplings, wonton soup, lo mein, fried rice, and Peking duck. Dining at Chinatown restaurants, dim sum parlors, noodle shops, and Hong Kong cafes offers an authentic taste of NY style Chinese.
The cuisine continues to evolve as new waves of Chinese immigrants bring fresh regional influences and chefs put creative spins on Chinese cooking.
What is New York style Chinese food?
New York Style Chinese food is the type of cooking known for being at par, if not better than any other place in the world. It is especially popular in New York City because of its diverse population and different cultures and traditions.
The ingredients, techniques, flavours, and even serving styles vary from one place to another, which brings on a difference.
Sometimes you will find the food served in a large communal bowl for everyone to dig into, and sometimes, it is made so that each person can get their plate of food, whichever style they prefer.
What are the Key Characteristics of NY-style Chinese Food?
NY-style Chinese food has a few defining features that set it apart from other regional Chinese cuisines.
Many classic Chinese dishes have been adapted to American tastes in NY. For example, you’ll find chicken broccoli, General Tso’s chicken, beef with broccoli, and other Americanized Chinese dishes on menus across the city. These dishes are sweeter, saucier, and breaded than traditional Chinese preparations.
Greater Diversity of Regional Chinese Cuisines
New York’s Chinatown neighbourhoods attract immigrants from all over China. As a result, NY-style Chinese restaurants draw inspiration from regional cuisines like Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai, Cantonese, and Fujianese. The diversity allows New Yorkers to experience authentic dishes from many parts of China.
Heavier Reliance on Takeout and Delivery
New Yorkers rely heavily on takeout and delivery for Chinese food. As a result, many NY-style Chinese dishes are designed to travel well.
They tend to feature saucy dishes and avoid crispy batter that would get soggy. The food also reheats well for easy leftovers.
Creative fusion dishes
Chinese restaurants in NY often experiment with creative fusion dishes. Popular options blend Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients with other global flavours like Mexican, Italian, Thai, and more.
What are Some Signature NY Style Chinese Dishes?
While NY-style Chinese restaurants offer dishes from many regional cuisines, you’ll see a few staple menu items everywhere.
Egg rolls stuffed with pork, cabbage, and other finely chopped veggies are appetizer classics. They are often served with a reddish-brown duck sauce for dipping.
Both steamed and fried dumplings are mainstays on NY Chinese menus. Popular types include pork, chicken, vegetable, and shrimp dumplings.
Thin wonton skins stuffed with minced pork and shrimp are featured in wonton soup. The broth is light yet flavorful.
General Tso’s Chicken
This sweet, sticky, spicy chicken dish tossed in a tangy sauce is a hugely popular Americanized takeout item.
Beef with Broccoli
Tender slices of beef and crisp broccoli florets sauteed in a tasty brown sauce are a go-to combination.
Pork or Chicken Lo Mein
Soft noodles tossed with barbecue pork or chicken slices, cabbage, and other veggies are a classic.
Fluffy rice fried with tiny bits of meat or veggies and aromatic soy sauce is perfect for leftovers.
These crunchy cookies with paper slips of fortune-telling messages are a sweet way to end a meal.
What are the Most Iconic NY Style Chinese Restaurants?
Over the decades, some NY Chinese restaurants have become iconic institutions known for their signature dishes and history.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Founded in 1920, this Chinatown dim sum parlour is Manhattan’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. Their famous pork buns draw long lines.
Joe’s is famed for their soup dumplings or xiaolongbao. The delicate dumplings are filled with piping hot broth and meat.
Xi’an Famous Foods
With several locations across the city now, this fast-casual spot started as a stall in Flushing, serving authentic Chinese street food specialities. Their lamb burgers and liangpi cold noodles are phenomenal.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
In addition to excellent Hong Kong-style egg waffles, they serve creative flavours like durian, black sesame, and lychee ice cream.
This enormous dim sum hall in Chinatown is known for the wide variety of dumplings and other small plates carted around the tables on weekends. Go with a group and order to your heart’s content.
What Dining Experiences Offer Authentic NY Chinese Cuisine?
Beyond takeout, you can get an authentic taste of NY-style Chinese cuisine by dining in a few classic restaurant formats.
Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens have bustling Chinatown neighbourhoods full of hole-in-the-wall spots serving regional Chinese specialities. Fruit and vegetable markets, roast meat shops, and Chinese bakeries round out the dining scene.
Dim Sum Parlors
Yum cha-style dining focuses on small plates of dumplings, buns, and other Chinese tapas, often wheeled around on carts. Great for groups and families.
Slurp up hand-pulled noodles, wonton noodles, or knife-cut noodles in steaming soup bowls. Many also serve regional Chinese street foods.
Peking Duck Restaurants
Restaurants specializing in Peking duck serve the tableside-carved, crispy duck with thin pancakes, scallions, and sweet bean sauce.
Hong Kong Style Cafes
Modelled after Hong Kong tea restaurants, these casual spots offer HK comfort foods like congee rice porridge, French toast, and milk tea.
How Does NY Chinese Cuisine Continue to Evolve?
NY-style Chinese cuisine keeps evolving as new waves of immigrants bring fresh regional influences. Chefs also continue putting creative spins on Chinese cooking.
Some current trends include:
- Regional Chinese street food specialities like skewers and baked ovens from Xinjiangtan tan noodles from Sichuan are popping up.
- More high-end and modern Chinese restaurants focus on quality ingredients and sophisticated presentations while retaining authentic flavours.
- Rise of pan-Asian restaurants blending Chinese techniques with Southeast Asian, Japanese, and Korean flavours.
- New takes on Chinese-American classics, like lobster General Tso’s or Peking duck tacos.
- Plant-based Chinese dishes such as vegetarian and vegan food are gaining popularity. Think veggie char siu or ImpossibleTM orange chicken.
In a city as dynamic as New York, the possibilities for innovation in Chinese cuisine are endless. Exciting new flavours await!
The Bottom Line
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the different styles of Chinese food. It can be not easy to find authentic and delicious dishes that are easy on your wallet, but we feel confident in our suggestions for some of New York’s best places to try out!
If you’re looking for more information about other types of cuisine or want a recommendation from us, please leave a comment below and subscribe and share this blog post with your friends so they can learn too!