Travel to just about any city in America and, odds are, there’ll be a Chinese restaurant nearby. Convenient, inexpensive, and full of flavor, Chinese food is one of the country’s great adopted cuisines. From Sichuan and Canton to Shandong and Beijing, we’re a fortunate nation to have so many provincial Chinese cuisines represented not just in the larger metropolises but throughout the lower 48 and beyond. Whether you’re sampling San Tung’s addictive chicken wings on the run in San Francisco or tucking into some insanely delicious hand-pulled noodles from New York’s Xi’An Famous Foods, the restaurants on our list are certainly worth writing home about.
For our first-ever ranking, The Daily Meal searched America for the best Chinese takeout, from strip mall nooks and holes-in-the-wall to bustling Chinatown institutions and bold new kids on the block. We consulted our own group of chefs and city experts, James Beard Award-winning and nominated chefs like Ken Oringer and Anita Lo, and both nationally and locally trusted sources online and in print in cities across the country. Some great places didn't make the list, but after qualifying the food based on authenticity to regional cuisine, speed and of course, flavor, the food from 15 places emerged as the clear winners — and, as it turns out, one is in Austin.
With service that’s more or less left to the customer — an expediter is the only thing standing between you and your food — Asia Café was made for takeout. And lucky you, because the place gets slammed most nights with Austinites looking for steamy bowls of ground beef and cilantro soup, spicy honeycomb tripe, and pan-fried shrimp with crushed peppers. The food is so good, it scored the #10 spot on our compilation, and since it’s the only one from the city to make the short list, according to our panel of experts, Asia Café serves the best takeout Chinese food in Austin.