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Top 5 Chinese restaurants in America


eatingwitheddie
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Herbacidal, I don't know what Pearl delta flood you are talking about. Didn't it flood annually? :angry: Some explanation here. Taishan was almost a generic name for us immigrants up to the 60s, whether we came from Xinwui, Hoiping, Xin Ning, Guang Hai, Yang Gong, etc. These towns and cities were in a small area roughly 50 miles square and whatever locale they came from, they all speak my dialect (with inflections) which is that earthy, profane, blasphemous, scatalogical, loud, crude, and very expressive language called Taishanese. If you spoke that dialect, you were a Taishan person, regardless of what town you came from. In the fifties and early 60s, people who came with a proper Cantonese dialect and dared to speak it in front of some "lo wah kieu" (oldtimer) soon found that it was beneficial to drop that flowery languge of the sing -song girls, and learned how to speak "Chinese", ie, Taishan. :biggrin: In my youth I literally travelled the width and breadth of Canada and found that the Taishan dialect was very DOMINANT. The Hong Kong dialect could be found in pockets of the Chinatowns of Toronto and Vancouver. Montreal Chinatown was 100% Taishanese, at least out in public.

had forgotten that i wanted to respond to this.

as my father recalls, the pearl didn't flood annually.

(I'm only ABC myself, he was born in 1939 outside of Xinhui.)

according to him, the yellow river is the only chinese river that floods annually.

and i think i've heard of parts of the yangtze flooding randomly in the past.

i didn't know it had ever flooded until that recent PBS series on Chinese immigration to America (superb, enjoyed it immensely).

from what i recall from that, the flooding that year, (somewhere in the 1800s in my memory, although that may be in error) was the reason Cantonese from within the affected areas left in droves for wherever they could eke out a life.

i know that many Chinese came in droves to build the Panama Canal, and jumped from there to various points in the Carribean when the canal was done to work there, accounting for the Chinese populations in Panama, Jamaica, and elsewhere. Have not researched this, this was told to me in an email.

Don't know if the flood and the canal building are related or if the canal building was after the flood.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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i know that many Chinese came in droves to build the Panama Canal, and jumped from there to various points in the Carribean when the canal was done to work there, accounting for the Chinese populations in Panama, Jamaica, and elsewhere. Have not researched this, this was told to me in an email.

Don't know if the flood and the canal building are related or if the canal building was after the flood.

The Panama Canal was built around the turn of the century. The first big wave of Chinese immigrants came to work in the California gold mines, and later on the transcontinental railroad (both well bfore the construction of the Panama Canal). Many of the Chinese in the Caribbean were imported direcly from China to work in sugar cane fields. (I guess that makes this post food-related.)

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according to this sitewith a history of the canal, construction started in 1882 or so and ended in 1914.

there were many obstacles and problems during the building process. not sure exactly when during that period the chinese started leaving china to work on it.

i had briefly forgotten about the chinese coming for the gold rush and transcontinental railroad.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Herbacidal, my question about the Pearl River flooding annually was attached to an emoticon, tongue in cheek :smile:

ah yes, so i see.

given that the emoticon was an angry one, i wasn't sure what to make of it.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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  • 1 year later...

Did you know some of Chinese restaurants in NYC and their sister restaurants are also the most famous in the world?

Tse Yang 正阳楼

34 E51 Street

New York, Paris, Geneva, Madrid, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Munich

Mr. K’s 晏才轩

570 Lexington Ave

Washington DC, New York

TAO 道

42 E58 Street

New York, Las Vegas

Mr. Chow

324 E57 Street

London, New York

Tang’s Pavilion 山王

65 W55 Street

New York, Tokyo

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

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Well, given that I have only eaten at the Washington place, Mr. K, which was OK, you have burdened them all with a reputation which I don't think they can live up to. Funny how none of these "Best in the World" places are in China, HK, Toronto, SF, Taiwan..... :blink: And where the heck is London, New York??

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And how come they're all in Midtown Manhattan?

Edited to add: I just read in the NYT column Food Stuff that Mr. Chow is opening a branch in Tribeca.

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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I am very glad to see people really read my post, and give me some of their reactions. By the way, I found Mr. Chow’s have another brunch in LA.

Why did I say I said they are the “Best” Chinese restaurants in the America or the world?

It was only my idea, and I think they were well managed and be very successful. For example, Tse Yang started in Paris, and between 1970 to1990s expanded its brunches to some of major cities in Europe. Each of them is a shiny star, Paris Tse Yang attached the fish tank onto the roof 30 years ago; Geneva Tse Yang locating in the second floor of Hilton while Madrid Tse Yang finding the place in the Grand Hyatt; Munich Tse Yang was in the Bahnhof Plaza and New York Tse Yang sit in the heart of the city. In Europe, Tse Yang became to the second name for luxury Chinese dinning, and Zagat rated New York Tse Yang the highest score in service among all of the Chinese restaurants in NYC.

You may have been to some of them I mentioned and will argue with me they are not the “Best in Value,” because the price is expensive and maybe the foods are not attractive enough. This is right of my point. The primary goal of a restaurant is not just maximize customer’s satisfaction or distribute Chinese eating Culture. The most important measurement to their success is if they make good money or not. I will explain my theory later, and I can give you my opinion about the most successful restaurants in the world first: MacDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut. Don’t say they just make junk food, but they make money out people’s pockets all over the world.

I would like eliminate most of you guys, for most of you in this forum makes you to the heralds; and also will eliminate the restaurants in Chinatowns, for their major customer recourse in Chinatown are Chinese. All of these are exceptions, because they are not counted as regular Chinese restaurants out of Chinatown to serve local residents. This is to make a comparability study to most of French, Italian, or Japanese restaurants, etc. Did you ever think, the French, Italian, or Japanese restaurants in New York want depended on the people who come from Paris, Rome, or Tokyo? No, they are making money from New Yorkers.

Let’s start to imaging to be an ordinary New Yorker sit down into a typical Chinese restaurant out of Chinatown. Before you open your mouth to say anything, the food server would automaticllu bring you a pot of hot tea, a glass of ice water, a bowl of crispy noodle and some of Duck sauce and mustard on the side. Then, check out the settings, you may find a pair of chopsticks, but in a greater chance you will see the fork, a tea spoon, soy sauce, pepper and salt, sugar and Sweet N’low(may be Equal or something else). Believe or not, chopstiks are not used as popular as soy sauce in rice or sugar in tea. I saw a Chinese lady was taught by her newly married husband how to eat “Chinese foods” in America . First, he blended the sugar into his tea cup, and then showed her how to dip the crispy noodle with the Duck sauce and mustard. I don’t think that lady speak English well, for she only copied her husband’s action and say “Good.. uhmm Good..”

I think that is funny, and I was surprised by American creativities. After I worked as a waiter in Chinese restaurants for a longer time, I heard sometimes people complained the luncheon special is too expensive. Here are some details, in Manhattan, the average Chinese luncheon special is about six dollars, more or less. That is a fresh cooked and served meal, come with soup or egg roll, the choice of rice and half table of free stuffs. It costs like a Big Mac meal or a Double Whooper meal, but I am sure you will get the more and fresher stuff with no longer waiting than in the fast food place. Why those people still complained? I can’t say they are greedy, but I think they thought Chinese food should be cheaper? The answers figured out by my self is pathetic.

I asked some American, Why do you eat Chinese food? They may answer:

1. The food is good.

2. They do every thing I want.

3. The price is cheap.

I think we as Chinese have to rethink about the Chinese restaurants industry. The earliest immigration opened Chinese restaurants a hundred years ago, but we never treat is a really serious business to develop. Open a restaurant does not need much capital, and it will be a quick machine to make money. Chinese immigrants usually have short-term focus, and give all of their hopes to the second generation could find a better job. They invented stuff like Chop-Suey, Chow-Mein, Egg Foo-Yung, etc. Those have a similarity is easy to cook, and contain high profit margin, but their common disadvantage is not “elegant” or hard to find a wine go well with it. Without beverage, the owner must keep high seats turnover. Imaging that, the waiter is always busy to clean the table, what kind of service he could provide. Without good service, the customer will think what kind of restaurants we are. Since 1980s, the new wave of Chinese immigrants coming, the situation was led to a vicious cycle. The owner cut the price, extended hours, and spoiled the customers; on the other hand, the waiter and chefs are facing all kind of raising price except their income. Do you believe they will try to do their job better?

Restaurant industry followed by the US government hires the second largest numbers of employees. Thousands and thousands new immigrants are working in the Chinese restaurants work over 72 hours a week without any benefits and earning the minimum wages or even lower, and not by their choices. Sometimes they must lower their self-esteems to make a small amount of money.

Once I heard a couple was arguing how much the tips should give. The woman was whisper, “Don’t give too much, it’s a Chinese place.” The words just slap on my face. I was so angry, not only by her discrimination, but also feel ashamed. Why can’t Chinese restaurants make money just like a formal business, not begging!

At the end, I should make something clear: those five restaurants I listed do not offer the best Chinese food in the world for sure, but I feel so proud of their success. They are the examples to show how a serious Chinese restaurant owner should be: If you want people recognize you are good, yourselves must think you are the best!

Edited by Qing (log)

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

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Qing,

I would like eliminate most of you guys, for most of you in this forum makes you to the heralds; and also will eliminate the restaurants in Chinatowns, for their major customer recourse in Chinatown are Chinese. All of these are exceptions, because they are not counted as regular Chinese restaurants out of Chinatown to serve local residents. This is to make a comparability study to most of French, Italian, or Japanese restaurants, etc. Did you ever think, the French, Italian, or Japanese restaurants in New York want depended on the people who come from Paris, Rome, or Tokyo? No, they are making money from New Yorkers.

I'd like to argue one point. I don’t think it’s fair to make this comparison. Chinatown is unique in that it is a small area that has consistently been inhabited by Chinese people for over 100 years. It is a city within itself, and becomes a destination for all types of tourists. That can’t be said for other ethnic groups. When, for example, many second-generation Irish and Greek residents moved out of their neighborhoods in Woodside and Astoria, Queens, new ethnic groups come in to take their place. So someone visiting NY from France isn’t going to say “Let’s go to Little Paris” because it doesn’t exist (at least to my knowledge).

At the end, I should make something clear: those five restaurants I listed do not offer the best Chinese food in the world for sure, but I feel so proud of their success. They are the examples to show how a serious Chinese restaurant owner should be: If you want people recognize you are good, yourselves must think you are the best!

But you’re right here. I was thinking of this post last night and thought that I don’t usually go to Chinese restaurants for a “fine dining” experience. Chinese restaurants do have to rethink their approach if they are to consider themselves something other than a cheap meal. For luxury Chinese dining, I’ve only been to Shun Lee in NYC. It was a beautiful place and the service was great. I had a nice time, but foodwise, it was certainly not the best.

I think everybody is just so accustomed to getting a lot for our money. But we can change that, can’t we? :wink:

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Interesting post but I have to disagree. There certainly are cheap places in the US that run on the McDonald's scheme of lots of quick food for a cheap price. But when I lived in San Francisco I thought there was a full range of quality to Chinese restaurants, ranging from $2 meals to some of the best restaurants in San Francisco. I'd often go to special-occasion meals at Chinese restaurant, with either Chinese or non-Chinese people, as some of these restaurants are considered to be the best in town. Sure by percentages the majority of US Chinese food is just passable and is mostly popular because it's cheap, plentiful, and quick, but that doesn't reflect on higher-quality restaurants. Anyway the breakdown is similar to restaurants in China, where I'm now living, and had a cheap rice bowl with pork for dinner. There's no place where everybody eats gourmet food every meal.

If making money was the gauge of a restaurant's success, food would be boring and why bother holding discussions on eGullet? I understand where you're coming from but I strongly disagree with that viewpoint.

And why shouldn't we consider Chinatown restaurants? Anybody can go to them and order food after all. And they're often aiming themselves partly or entirely at a non-Chinese crowd, anyway - take a look at House of Nanking in SF, for example (just don't go inside).

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When one rates restaurants in the "top 5", it is very important to state the criteria of the rating. What are we looking at?

The most successful restaurants, drawing in the best earning, are not necessarily the "best" restaurants in a culinary sense. The fast food industry cited was a perfect example. Even when we look at the ranking other than business revenues, there could be "best in food tastes", "best in food presentations", "best in service", "best in dining environment", "best in value", etc..

Rankings are, of course, subjective. Restaurants are the mercy of the judges. If there is no official ranking in place, you and I - the patrons - are the judges. We all have our person ranking on restaurants, Chinese or other types. I think it would be extremely rare to find someone who has been to most parts of the USA to come up with a comprehensive ranking for the top 5 Chinese restaurants in the "USA". Meanwhile, you have your top 5 in your world and I have mine in my little world.

And to me, I always look at "value". The "best bang for your bucks". I know if I spend US$100 per person for dinner, I can probably have some decent experiences (but not a guarantee). But what I look for, typically, is to spend in the medium price range: US $7 to $20 per Chinese food entree depending on areas and types of food ordered, and get the most tasty dishes. As with many Chinese diners, I pay much less attention to the dining room atmosphere or decoration. On Clement Street in San Francisco, there are some small Chinese restaurants offering US $5.00 an entree which are incredibly tasty. To me, those would be the candidates for my top 5 restaurants (in value).

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 9 months later...
And to me, I always look at "value".  The "best bang for your bucks".
This is a very typical Chinese response. In colloquial Cantonese we would ask for "peng, leng, tseng" - cheap, good quality and tasty. OK, it might be difficult to achieve all 3 but that is the ideal. But then price is a relative thing.

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Phoenix in Chicago's Chinatown

One of the Best Dim Sum places to go

BE mindful, it is a 2 hours wait on Sunday

Early morning is best

We made the effort to go to the Phoenix last summer, and were disappointed. Maybe because it was not on the weekend (not a valid reason), but it was not "peng, leng, tseng". :sad:

The dim sum was so, so, and they charged me $10.99 for a small plate of stringy, basically uncooked gai lan. The Chinese crueller seemed "reheated" and hard. When I asked the server about both items, they just said "really?". The bill was +$40.00 for the two of us before tips. This was upstairs at 12:00 PM.

I was wanting to have xiao long baos, but they only served them on the weekends.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I had dim sum at Phoenix some years back and I thought it was ok. Not mind blowing or anything--the quality seemed ok, but prices were relatively high and selection limited-- but it was probably as good as you could get in the Midwest at that time. I don't know how they are nowadays or if any better places have opened in Chicago recently.

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I had dim sum at Phoenix some years back and I thought it was ok. Not mind blowing or anything--the quality seemed ok, but prices were relatively high and selection limited-- but it was probably as good as you could get in the Midwest at that time. I don't know how they are nowadays or if any better places have opened in Chicago recently.

Dim sum at Phoenix is about as good as you can get in Chicago. I've enjoyed my lunches here but the staff seems very snobby.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here are my recent favorites.

Din Tai Fung in Los Angeles. I don't care what the LA chowhounds say about the dough, or the controversy over the xiaolongbao, this restaurant is a stand-out. And the dough is excellent.

Seafood Cove in OC. Because it's OC and not in LA, you probably have never heard of it. But I find it comparable to even the best restaurants in San Gabriel Valley.

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Tang’s Pavilion 山王

65 W55 Street

New York, Tokyo

My one visit to Tang's Pavilion was excellent. My impression was that it was striving to serve higher-end authentic Chinese (Cantonese?) food.

I would say it's one of the best Chinese restaurant visits I've had in NYC (comparable to an average restaurant in Hong Kong).

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