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.
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This cozy restaurant has been going strong since 1985, and you’ll still find Ricky, the owner, going table to table making sure everyone is happy. And with specialties like ma po tofu, Mandarin shredded pork and seafood, Peking duck, twice-cooked pork, a killer pu pu platter, and wonton soup that’s rich and flavorful, just about everyone dining here is happy.
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Charlie’s is a welcome surprise in the Anchorage restaurant scene, with a wide-ranging menu that sets it apart from every other Chinese spot in the state. Sample the steamed buns, yu-shang eggplant, shrimp balls, barbecue eel, house-roasted duck, and sweet sesame balls, and you’ll be hooked.
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You’ll find well-made versions of classic Chinese-American fare at King Wong. Regulars swear by the egg rolls, spicy orange chicken (made with white meat), fried rice, Mongolian beef, and fresh seafood dishes. Lunch and dinner specials offer a great value as well.
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If you’re looking for authentic Chinese fare in Little Rock, look no further than Mr. Chen’s. Sure, you’ll find your usual assortment of Chinese-American dishes (all expertly prepared), but venturing outside of your comfort zone will be rewarded. Don’t miss the Szechuan beef stew noodle soup, braised beef shanks, salted crispy chicken, fresh steamed fish, and braised beef belly in hot pot.
The secret to this perpetually crowded Hong Kong-style restaurant’s success? It sends its staff to Asia on occasion to learn about the newest dining trends and then incorporates them into the menu back home. This sprawling Daly City, California, restaurant and event space opened in 1996 and has been one of the Bay Area’s top Chinese spots since day one. World-class dim sum is the name of the game during lunchtime, but once dinnertime rolls around, Koi Palace becomes a seafood destination with entire menu sections dedicated to abalone, crab, shrimp, and lobster. Though these preparations are spot-on authentic, there’s plenty of room to be daring: Goose intestine chow fun, anyone? We’ll stick with the whole suckling pig, selling for $190, or its legendary Shanghai crab dumplings.
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Yes, great dim sum exists in Colorado at Star Kitchen in Denver. Located in a modest strip mall, Star Kitchen is turning out expert renditions of more than 70 dim sum classics, including pork buns, dumplings, rice crepes, and salt and pepper shrimp. There’s also clay pot rice, roasted duck, congee, hot pots, and countless fresh seafood preparations. If you need a little liquid courage to build up the nerve to try spiced jelly fish or beef tendon, there’s also a full bar.
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The best Chinese food in Connecticut can be found at three humble food carts in New Haven run by a husband-and-wife duo. Since 1998, they’ve been dishing up classics like roast pork noodle soup from cart one, stir-fried noodles at cart two, and Taiwanese-style Chinese dishes like rice with meat sauce and stewed egg from cart three. This is the real deal, and if you live in or near New Haven, set aside your next three (or 20) lunch hours to sample the offerings.
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In Wilmington, locals know that for fresh and tasty Chinese-American fare, Tree Garden is the place to go. Their dumplings (both steamed and fried) are the best in town, Peking duck is spot-on, and their $6.95 lunch specials are a steal. Also worth noting are their Japanese-inspired specialties, especially the avocado ball: spicy crab, yellowtail, tuna, and salmon wrapped in avocado and topped with tempura crunch and spicy mayo.
This upscale London-based chain has American locations in Miami, Las Vegas, New York, and San Francisco. Though it’s flashy, opulent, and expensive, the food coming out of the kitchen is of an incredibly high quality, full of flavor and always interesting. Dim sum items are especially notable, including chicken and abalone shumai, morel crystal dumplings, and roast duck pumpkin puffs. If you’re looking for a Chinese meal fit for a king, Hakkasan’s your place.
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Atlanta has no shortage of great Chinese restaurants, but this Cantonese institution has been going strong for more than 25 years and is the best in town. Along with the usual Chinese-American favorites, you’ll also find authentic Chinese fare including Dungeness crab in hot pot, Cantonese-style filet mignon, salted baked chicken, Cantonese roast duck, whole steamed fish, and ma po tofu. The dim sum specialties are also the city’s best.
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Hawaii has more great Japanese restaurants than Chinese ones, but in Honolulu you can satisfy your craving for solid Chinese fare (and great dim sum) at Fook Lam. Steamed egg cream buns, pork buns, sumpling, siu mai, look fun rolls, Shanghai soup dumplings… they’re all here, and they’re the best around.
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The owner of Wok-Inn, named Chan, has been manning the wok at this Boise institution since the day it opened in 1983. Today he’s 74 years old and is at the helm of the best Chinese restaurant in the state. The menu here is smaller than what you’ll find at most Chinese restaurants, with a smattering of spot-on interpretations of classic dishes, including made-to-order egg rolls, chow mein, fried rice, fried chicken with ginger and garlic, Mongolian chicken, and a couple Thai-inspired curries.
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Celebrating its third year in a row as a recipient of Michelin’s Bib Gourmand, MingHin is so popular that it’s spawned five additional Chicagoland locations. The original Chinatown restaurant, however, is still the best – and the best Chinese restaurant in all of Illinois. The menu is absolutely massive, with more than 50 varieties of dim sum alone (try the country style dumplings, short rib with honey sauce, BBQ pork crepe, and pork and shrimp siu mai). As for the main menu, you’re going to need to visit dozens of times to work your way through the variety of grilled and barbecued meats and seafood, fried noodles, pan fried dishes, steamed whole fish, and hot pot casseroles, but that’s a challenge you should gladly accept.
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One of Indianapolis’ biggest hidden culinary gems, Asian Snack is hiding in plain sight inside an international grocery store, Saraga Market. Just a small counter with a few seats, Asian Snack caters primarily to Chinese shoppers and serves home-style food that’s unadulterated for the American palate. Beef pancakes, mung bean cakes, Tianjin pork buns, sesame balls, braised duck wings, sautéed pig kidney, Geleshan-style spicy chicken, Xiangjiang-style fried chicken chop... If you’re looking for real Chinese food in Indianapolis, this is where to go.
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With ducks, pork, and chicken hanging in the window, it’s hard to resist sampling the roasted meat at Le’s, and thankfully it’s also for sale by the pound to go. But grab a seat and sample some of their dishes — including house special fried rice (loaded with roasted pork), roast duck soup, and char sir chicken wings — and you’ll also be rewarded. This place is the real deal.
When you sit down at your table at Lee’s, you’ll be asked if you want to look at the regular dinner menu or the Chinese menu. Even though the traditional Chinese-American favorites on the dinner menu are fresh and tasty, the Chinese menu is what sets Lee’s apart from the pack. Order salt and pepper wings, king-dao ribs, Szechuan ma po tofu (or Cantonese if you prefer it less spicy), five-spiced duck, and sizzling eggplant, and prepare to be the envy of all the other diners.
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If you thought you couldn’t find authentic Cantonese fare in Louisville, guess again. Just flip through the menu at Oriental House until you reach the “Authentic Chinese” section, and have at it. Beef stew hot pot, stir-fried fresh lobster with ginger and green onion, whole Hong Kong style roast duck, wok-seared whole flounder, duck wings, Peking-style pork chop, the list goes on. One visit to Oriental House will change your impression of Chinese food for good.
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New Orleans is one of America’s great culinary capitals, and the city’s dedication to serving really, really good food extends even to the Chinese restaurants — especially Red’s. There’s a sense of whimsy to the menu at Red’s, which has become a cult hit among the locals. Even though every dish is very Chinese in terms of influence and preparation, you definitely know you’re in New Orleans when you’re dining there. Traditional Chinese fare like housemade Chinese pickles, egg rolls, pork belly buns, and Chinese broccoli with preserved lemon and fermented black beans is joined by crowd-pleasers like craw rangoons (filled with cream cheese, spicy honey, and crawfish); kung pao pastrami, and General’s Chicken with deep-fried chicken, bourbon soy, peanuts, and cilantro. A meal at Red’s is an adventure.
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Portland is a food-lover’s paradise, and locals know that Empire is the place to go for the best Chinese food in town. Packed every night of the week, the restaurant occupies the space that was previously home to Portland’s first high-end Chinese restaurant (The Empire, which was in business from 1916 to 1953), and it serves its memory well. Along with a wide variety of expertly prepared dim sum, it also offers traditional Chinese soul food made with locally sourced ingredients, including Peking duck buns, boneless barbecue pork, wonton soup with duck broth, bacon fried rice, and whole wok-fried lobster with house-made broad rice noodles. To start, don’t miss the lobster Rangoon.
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The famously peripatetic chef Peter Chang, known for his superior Szechuan cuisine and a propensity to disappear… er… move about in the American southeast, has been a little easier to find over the past five years since forming a business partnership with Gen Lee, a semi-retired Chinese chef. Indeed, the question has gone from, “Where is Peter Chang?” to “Which of his seven Virginia restaurants is the chef cooking at on any given day?”
The quality is good at all of them, and the menus are almost identical. Peter Chang's China Café in Fredericksburg, neither the oldest nor the newest of his establishments, is a good place to start — but any of Chang's locations (also including Rockville, Maryland; and Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Short Pump [Richmond], Arlington, and Virginia Beach, Virginia) will provide a similarly satisfying (and spicy) experience. Try Chang's famous scallion bubble pancakes with curry sauce, and/or the Sichuan-style dry-fried eggplant, spicy dan dan noodles, fried boneless whole fish with pine nuts, pigs’ feet stir-fried with dried chiles and Sichuan peppercorns, and most anything on the “Chefs’ Specialties” section of the menu.
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Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown isn’t just the best Chinese restaurant in Boston; it’s the best in the state. Their spicy Szechuan fish soup with peppercorns and fiery chiles is a must-order, and other standouts include scallion pancakes, tofu skin, sautéed pea greens, and pork soup dumplings. It's not just a big hit with the locals; many top Boston chefs, including Ken Oringer, are regulars.
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Shanghai specialties are the selling point here, best chosen from the Chinese menu available upon request. For your determination, you’ll be treated to mountains of preserved vegetables, tender Lion’s Head pork meatballs, and thick, springy fried noodles and rice cakes. But for all the adventurousness, they still manage to make an excellent wonton soup.
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A favorite of University of Minnesota Twin Cities students for more than 25 years, this homey Dinkytown spot specializes in authentic Cantonese fare as well as a wide variety of fresh seafood dishes. Regulars swear by the spicy baked crab, Peking duck, salty fish with chicken and eggplant, and chicken in black bean sauce.
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Real-deal Chinese food is tough to come by in Mississippi, but not at Mr. Chen’s. The sprawling menu may look like any usual Chinese spot’s at first glance, but look closer and you’ll find Chinese specialties including spicy beef tendon, steamed buns, seafood clay pot, salted crispy frog legs, six varieties of pork intestines, braised beef belly hot pot, and ma po tofu. The restaurant also has a market with traditional Chinese ingredients, as well as whole Peking ducks to take home.
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This Kansas City gem has racked up accolades not only for its top-notch versions of traditional Chinese-American fare (seriously, try the General Tso’s chicken or the $14.95 four-course dinner), but also for its completely separate menu of traditional Chinese dishes.
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A Missoula staple since 1983, China Garden is a beloved neighborhood standby for its wide variety of Americanized Cantonese and Szechuan dishes and comfortable, modern dining room. House lo mein, Szechuan beef, shrimp fried rice, fried prawns, moo shu barbecue pork, and Hong Kong-style chow mein are all favorites, and all dishes are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients.
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Joe Cong was born in China and spent years working at his family’s Chinese restaurant before striking out on his own in 2015 to open Blue & Fly, and the resulting restaurant has been a resounding success. You’ll find spot-on versions of all the classic Americanized favorites, but Cong is also serving authentic Chinese dishes that many Nebraskans haven’t been able to sample before now — mapo tofu, stir-fried egg and tomato, fish cooked in Szechuan chile oil, head-on salt and pepper shrimp, candied sweet potatoes — made with care and attention to detail. We should all be so lucky to have a place like this around!
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Located a few blocks off the main strip, this spacious restaurant with a vaguely Asiatic exterior specializes in traditional Cantonese cuisine (think barbecued meats, seafood, and slow-cooked soups). To that effect, you’ll see plates of roast duck, honey walnut shrimp, and salt and pepper pork chops exit the kitchen at breakneck speed. Rather than trying to intercept a startled waiter, get your six-pound lobster to go and stage your twisted version of "Under the Sea" in the privacy of your own home (no one needs to see that).
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Crowds flock to this Manchester gem for its well-made Americanized Chinese fare and weekend dim sum brunch. Homemade pork dumpling soup, pu pu platters, crispy sesame beef, Szechuan chicken, and beef teriyaki are favorites; and as for the dim sum, you can’t go wrong with barbecue pork buns, custard buns, and turnip cakes.
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This upscale Chinese restaurant is ornately decorated and a great place for a night out, and has been pulling in the crowds since it was first opened by the Hsiung family in 1986. Popular favorites include soup dumplings, steamed or fried whole fish, Peking duck, Mandarin pork chop, and sizzling filet mignon. There’s also a separate section of the menu devoted to traditional Chinese dishes including beef tendon and tripe in hot Szechuan pepper sauce; bang bang chicken (shredded in hot peanut sesame sauce — a must-order); Szechuan beef, chicken, or fish in fiery hot oil; and the Emperor’s Special Seafood Pot, filled with shrimp, scallops, abalone, tripe, quail eggs, and sea cucumber.
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Fresh, perfect interpretations of Chinese street food is the name of the game at this dumpling house (which, despite the name, is permanent). It’s located inside the Albuquerque location of New Mexico’s largest international grocer, Talin Market, and, unfortunately for you, it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays. A visit will be rewarded, though: Dumplings are made by hand to order (pork, USDA Choice rib-eye, lamb, shrimp, wild Coho salmon, and vegetarian dumplings are available); beef noodle soup starts with broth that’s been simmering for more than 12 hours; steamed buns are filled with slow-simmered pork belly and shredded Peking duck; and spicy pickled cucumbers and steamed eggplant make for perfect sides. This place is the real deal, and you’ll be glad you found it.
With eight no-frills locations in New York, including outposts in Flushing, Chinatown, Greenpoint, Midtown Manhattan, and the East Village, Xi’an is one of the only places in the country where you can get your fix of the traditional foods of the western Chinese city of the same name. You’ll be glad you did: Go for any of the hand-pulled noodle dishes, like the spicy and tingly beef, or try the spicy cumin lamb or stewed pork “burgers,” which are more like chopped spiced meat on buns. Other intensely flavorful options include a soup with diced pork belly and hand-stretched and ripped noodles in a sour and spicy broth; lamb face salad with lamb face meat and tendons, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro with a spicy dressing; homemade soft tofu in a spicy sauce; and lamb offal soup (with liver, stomach, and heart). If you’re feeling adventurous, Xi’an is for you.
The flavors will be unlike any you’ve had. We suggest you heed their warning and don’t take your order to go; those fresh noodles demand to be eaten immediately, before they begin to stick together.
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Going strong since 1987, this classy and upscale restaurant has cooks in the kitchen who have been there since day one, and they’re turning out some spectacular Chinese food. Roast pork, hot shredded beef, Peking duck, and family-style multi-course dinners are all popular, as is outdoor seating, a rarity at a Chinese restaurant. Crowds also flock to its popular Sunday lunch buffet.
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We can’t promise that you’ll find any truly wonderful Chinese restaurants in North Dakota, but Great Wall in Fargo is about as close as you’re going to get. Ingredients are fresh and dishes are made with care, and popular menu items include garlic chicken, kung pao chicken, Mongolian beef, and General Cho’s chicken. Party trays are also available, as is a gluten-free menu.
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This unassuming restaurant on the outskirts of Cleveland is a major find for those on the hunt for great Chinese fare from the Hunan, Canton, and Szechuan provinces. Since 1973, it’s been packing in crowds who have flocked to its lychee duck, pan-fried noodles, ginger flounder, honey walnut chicken, Mongolian beef, and Chinese-style steak, and its full bar is also popular.
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This modest storefront is hiding a showstopper of a Chinese restaurant, serving a pleasing mix of Americanized favorites as well as traditional Chinese fare. If you’re in the mood for takeout staples like General Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour pork, pepper steak, barbecue pork, and Hunan shrimp, you can depend on its renditions being fresh and flavorful, but if you venture outside of your comfort zone and sample the fried quail, salt and pepper squid, pork belly with preserved vegetables, ma po tofu, or beef stew hot pot, you’ll be amply rewarded. If you’re looking to get really adventurous, there’s pork stomach and intestines, duck feet, cold jellyfish, and tripe. It’s BYOB, so be sure you bring something along.
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As with most of the best food in Portland, its best Chinese restaurant is actually a food cart. In business since early 2014, that attractive cedar-lined food cart is the brainchild of chef Jeff Chow, and his offerings are based on the family recipes of his mother, Lalie. Wonton soup is the specialty, made with a paper-thin wrapper and a super-flavorful filling of either chicken or pork and shrimp; lollipop wings with honey soy garlic glaze, kalua pork, chicken dumplings, and fresh garlic noodles keep the crowds lining up on a daily basis.
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Han Dynasty is a Philadelphia legend, and it’s spawned five additional locations in the Philly area and three more in New York City. The reason for its success? It serves some of the finest Szechuan fare this side of Chengdu. Fiery chili oil bathes chicken, beef, tripe, dumplings, cold noodles, and wontons; other spot-on Szechuan specialties include dan dan noodles, tea smoked duck, ma po tofu, and your choice of protein in styles including dry pot, dry pepper, dry fry, cumin, double cooked, and kung pao. If you’re looking for an education in Szechuan cuisine, your first stop should be Han Dynasty.
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Hidden in a quiet residential neighborhood of Providence, New Wing Kee is the place for real-deal Chinese-style roast meat. Duck, chicken, pork, boneless ribs, and turkeys are roasted throughout the day, and one glimpse of them hanging on display will let you know you’ve come to the right place. They also sell stewed pork and beef as well as dumplings, pork and beef meatballs, and even duck tongues.
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Charlestonians flock to this inviting West Ashley gem for its unique spins on traditional Chinese classics. You’ll find well-prepared dumplings, lo mein, fried rice, and kung pao chicken here, but the real stars of the menu are the house specialties, which include fried red snapper, mapo tofu, five spiced lamb chops, and tea smoked duck. For dessert, don’t miss the banana spring rolls with homemade ice cream.
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Straight ahead, well-made Chinese-American fare was tough to find in South Dakota before China Luck opened several years ago. You’ll find all the classics here: sesame chicken, fried rice, lo mein, Mongolian beef, sweet and sour pork, all prepared with skill and at very reasonable prices. There’s also a lunch buffet that’s a big hit with the locals.
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This spacious and welcoming restaurant is the destination for authentic Chinese cuisine in Nashville. You’ll find a wide variety of Szechuan cold appetizers including dan dan noodles, Mala beef tendon, and pork belly in garlic sauce; and on weekend afternoons nearly 20 dim sum options are available, including pork buns, rice crepes, spare ribs, and dumplings. Other specialties include five spice whole roast duck, cumin spare ribs, dry pot chicken, and braised pork belly with pickled mustard greens.
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Asia Café was made for takeout (the space isn’t exactly super-welcoming), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not slammed most nights. Austinites flock to Asia Café for its steamy bowls of ground beef and cilantro soup, spicy honeycomb tripe, and pan-fried shrimp with crushed peppers.
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A Salt lake City institution, the unassuming Mom’s Kitchen is actually run by two moms, and they’re serving a menu of classic Chinese home-style dishes. There are plenty of surprising offerings — luffa and bamboo fungus soup, Beijing meat pie, hot and sour shredded potato, griddle cooked pig intestines, dry-fried yellow-croaker — that you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of America’s biggest Chinatowns, so don’t come here if you’re looking for egg foo young. Szechuan specialties like spicy lamb with cumin and ma po tofu are definitely worth seeking out, as is the variety of Taiwanese options.
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This family-style Burlington institution is the brainchild of chef/owner Chiuho Duval, who grew up in Taipei and left a career in photojournalism to chase her dream of running a restaurant. And by all accounts, she’s succeeded with flying colors. (Just ask Alton Brown, who called her shiitake-based mock eel his “all-time favorite chopstick food” on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate.) The menu is wide-ranging and expansive, but must-orders include daily special dumplings, barbecue hanging pork, steamed fish of the day, salt and pepper tofu, and steel pot sha cha beef. If you can’t make up your mind, the chef’s tasting menu is always a good option.
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A banquet hall in the style of Beijing’s grand eateries, this paean to Peking duck roasts one killer bird — and certainly the best in the D.C. area. Granted, it will run you $40, but it easily feeds three hungry diners so the end cost isn’t absurd even by takeout standards. Another standout item is the Szechuan Beef Proper with crispy shredded meat glazed, glistening, and covered in sesame seeds.
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Handheld Taiwanese pork bao — featuring fatty porcine nuggets stuffed into tender buns — are well worth the trip to Facing East, but you’d be selling yourself short not to try the rest of the animal, available in dishes like pig diaphragm or a dumpling made with sweet potato flour and filled with porky goodness. For a fun race against time, try getting home before your order of shaved ice melts.
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Located in the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown, China Boy is a tiny hole in the wall that’s attracted droves of loyal devotees thanks to one thing: its authentic Chinese noodles. Chow foon (wide rice noodles), crepes, and noodle soups with chicken, beef, shrimp, roast pork, or beef tripe is all you’ll find on the menu, but it’s made with such care and attention to detail that you’ll find yourself returning again and again, and turning everyone you know on to your new lunchtime destination.
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This small Charleston mainstay serves a huge menu chock full of all the Chinese-American classics: fried rice, lo mein, General Tso’s, and the like. It also happens to do it very well. You’re not going to be blown away by a visit to this recently expanded restaurant, and you’re not going to find anything too outside-the-box, but you are going to be treated to spot-in renditions of all the familiar standbys.
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The best Chinese food in Wisconsin can be found at Sze Chuan, which opened recently in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. Only fresh ingredients go into the dizzying selection of authentic Szechuan dishes, including stone pots and dry hot pots, braised pork belly, fatty beef in sour chile broth, sizzling fish fillets, cumin lamb, dan dan noodles, and mapo tofu. If you're not feeling especially adventurous, plenty of Americanized favorites like lo mein and sesame chicken are available, but if you want to get into some advanced territory look no further than dishes like homestyle sea cucumber, pork kidney in chili sauce, and pork intestine with blood cake.
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Good Friends is a low-key, straight ahead standard-bearer of classic Chinese-American cuisine in Wyoming, the kind of place we all wish we had as a standby. Portions are large and prices are low, and regulars swear by the orange chicken, egg rolls, hot and spicy crispy beef, mu shu pork, and Szechuan shrimp. There are also a handful of Thai offerings for those looking for something a little different.