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 Lao Sze Chuan’s twice-cooked pork on the run in Chicago, 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, two are in New York City.
With several no-frills locations in New York, including Flushing, Chinatown, and the East Village, Xi’An Famous Foods is one of the only places in the country to get your fix of the traditional foods of the Chinese city Xi’An, and you’ll be glad you did: go for any of the hand-pulled noodle dishes, like the spicy cumin lamb, or try the $2 lamb ‘burgers,’ which are more like spiced meat patties. The flavors you’ll try will be unlike any you’ve ever had, and we suggest getting your order to go so you can experience them in the comfort of your own home.
Their takeout is so delicious, they took the #4 spot on our compilation of America’s best, narrowly topping the only other restaurant from the city to place Corner 28 Peking Duck Stall—which came in at #5. This means that, according to our panel of experts, San Tung is the home to the fourth-best Chinese takeout in America, and serves the very best found in New York City.