When you think “Chinese food,” the first image that pops into your head is probably chicken — perhaps sticky brown lumps of General Tso’s; however,these foods aren’t actually very Chinese at all.
General Tso’s chicken, for example, is one of the most commonly eaten "Hunan" dishes in America, but is virtually unknown in Hunan itself. It was first served in the 1950s by Taiwanese chef Peng Chang-kuei, who replaced Hunan flavors with sugar for an American palate. The dish was wildly popular and earned chef Peng enough money at his famous New York restaurant to move back to his native Taipei.
But while many dishes we’ve come to love aren’t traditionally Chinese, you can bet that in any city with a sizeable Chinatown, you’ll be able to find some delicious Chinese food. We’ve ranked the top 10 restaurants for Chinese food outside of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. You may be hard-pressed to find any General Tso’s chicken on this list, many of the chefs at these exceptional restaurants have put their own spins on Chinese favorites, such as portabella-stuffed steamed buns and Cantonese-inspired French creations complete with a cheese course.
To rank these restaurants, we used critical acclaim, like Michelin stars and rave reviews from top food critics, along with feedback from ordinary travelers looking for a delicious Chinese bite in all corners of the world. Check out our slideshow, but don’t blame us if you suddenly find yourself digging for the take out menus.
#10 Yum Bun, London
While chef Lisa Meyer was more inspired by David Chang’s American eatery Momofuku than she was traditional Chinese cuisine, her steamed buns are making a big splash in London. Since 2010, she’s been serving up traditional street fare, like pork belly in hoisin sauce, along with more modern spins on the steamed bun, such as portabello mushrooms with a miso glaze. Londoners can’t get enough, naming Yum Bun both People’s Choice and Best Snack at the British Street Food Awards.
#9 Kirin Restaurant, Vancouver
If you don’t think of Canada when you think of Chinese cuisine, think again. Nearly one-fifth of Canada’s population is now of Chinese descent, and cities like Vancouver are booming with delicious, affordable Chinese cuisine. Kirin is a real crowd-pleaser, having recently taken home three of Huffington Post’s Critic’s Choice Awards for their crispy fried chicken with minced prawn, two preparations of geoduck, and smoked lobster with mushrooms.