According to the magazine Chinese Restaurant News, there are more than 41,000 Chinese restaurants in America alone. Some are amazing, some are perfectly acceptable, and some, well, the less said about them the better. Thankfully, great Chinese restaurants can be found in every state and the District of Columbia, and we’ve tracked down the best.
Travel to just about any American town and odds are there’ll be at least one Chinese restaurant. Convenient, inexpensive, and full of flavor, Chinese food is one of the country’s great adopted cuisines. On our hunt for the best in every state, we discovered nearly every style of Chinese restaurant under the sun — from Americanized takeout spots to noodle houses, dumpling stands, dim sum parlors, bakeries, high-end temples of Chinese gastronomy, and Szechuan holes-in-the-wall — and some of the best, most authentic restaurants are in some surprising places. Sure, there’s no shortage of great Chinese restaurants in cities like New York and San Francisco, but thanks to the wide-ranging Chinese diaspora, you really won’t believe where some astonishingly good Chinese restaurants have popped up in recent years.
In order to assemble our ranking, we first consulted our own recent listing of America’s 30 Best Chinese Restaurants, and from there our research took us to regional and local publications, social media, and crowd-sourced reviews. The best Chinese restaurants in every state make an attempt to include authentic regional Chinese cuisine on their menus and aren’t afraid to think outside the standard, Chinese-American box. They also use fresh ingredients whenever possible and turn out every dish with care and attention to detail. Many of these restaurants even have a completely separate menu of “authentic” Chinese cuisine. We didn’t consider restaurants that are primarily Asian fusion, or otherwise not exclusively focused on Chinese cuisine. (Plenty of good restaurants serve an even mix of Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes, but those can’t really be considered Chinese restaurants.) In certain cases, the best Chinese restaurant in a state is completely Americanized, but it’s a sad reality that in certain parts of the country, you’re going to have to travel quite a ways for a Szechuan hotpot.
Your state’s best Chinese restaurant might already be your local standby, it could be hiding in plain sight the next town over, or it could be a worthy destination for a Sunday afternoon drive. Even though you might think that you can’t find truly authentic Chinese fare outside of the major coastal cities, you won’t believe how many great Chinese restaurants can be found in some really unexpected spots… a lot closer than you might think. Click here to learn about the best Chinese restaurant in every state (including yours).