Fast food taste tests, waitresses getting massive tips, the best restaurants across America — these are just a few of the topics Yahoo Food readers loved the most. In a tribute to you, our reader, we are revisiting some of our most popular stories of 2015.
Mosa Asian Bistro’s lo mein is just one example of the creative approach some of the best Chinese restaurants take on classic and original dishes. Photo: Mosa Asian Bistro
Chinese food is an American obsession. Almost everyone has a favorite dish they can find on just about any menu at any Chinese restaurant in the country. Some restaurants,however, are just better than others.
In our attempt to pinpoint the best Chinese restaurants in each state and Washington, D.C., we reached out to Yelp data scientists. They compiled a list based on the number of stars and amount of reviews each restaurant received from Yelpers. The higher the combined number, the better the ranking. Some of the restaurants serve a variety of Asian cuisine – such as Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese – but devote a large portion of their menu to Chinese food, according to the reviews and menus.
Compiling any “best of” restaurant list is a dangerous mission and risks offending at least a few of the faithful. People have their favorite go-to spot and not much can be done to break their devotion. While we salute their loyalty, we also embrace discovery, adventure, and sharing. This list represents that spirit.
If you’re looking for a change, a proven winner while traveling, or a dish your local favorite just doesn’t serve, these restaurants are all worth visiting. They received mostly high marks (overall four to five stars out of five) for quality food; full, well-balanced flavors; decent portions; reasonable prices; and generally good service.
After reading through hundreds of Yelp reviews, a few other trends and highlights emerged:
— Location doesn’t matter. There’s always a strong concentration of great Asian restaurants in any big city, but you’re likely to a find a rival to many of them in tertiary cities, small towns, and the middle of nowhere. Pleasant surprises lurk where you’ll least expect them.
— While most of these restaurants serve a full variety of Americanized favorites, many delve deep into authentic dishes. Sometimes they’re on the menu, sometimes they aren’t. Always ask.
— Odds are you’ll find the restaurant owner, or a close family member, working the floor or stove at many of these restaurants. They appreciate the business, like to chat, and will do what they can to accommodate.
— “Fusion” is no longer a dirty word. More restaurants are serving multiple types of Asian food and doing it well. The sushi is often as good and fresh as the Chinese food.
— Many of these restaurants are small and hard to find. If you happen to miss one on the first pass, keep trying. Chances are you’ll be glad you did.
Red Pearl Restaurant’s beef noodle soup. Photo: Ee Vonn Y, Yelp
1. Alabama: Super Oriental Market and Red Pearl Restaurant, 243 W. Valley Avenue, Birmingham.
4.5 stars, 101 reviews
Thankfully, the dining room, not the quality of the food, was the only thing Red Pearl owners changed during a remodeling a few years back. From the soups to the rice dishes to the seafood, Yelpers say you can’t go wrong with whatever you order at this Birmingham favorite. Fried fish in sweet-and-sour sauce, sautéed pork belly, hot pots, double spicy chicken, and roast duck are just a few Yelp faves. And the Red Pearl chefs aren’t afraid of adding a little heat. “You ask for spicy and they will give you spicy,” writes Charlotte N., Houston, Texas. Swing through the well-stocked market on your way out and pick up a few things for home. “This is an authentic Chinese experience from the get go,” says local Gene S.
Charlie’s egg tarts are worth the trip to Anchorage. Photo: Charlie’s Bakery
2. Alaska: Charlie’s Bakery, 2729 C Street, Anchorage.
4 stars, 77 reviews
Yelpers applaud Charlie’s for the authenticity of its entrees and quality of its baked goods. Yu-Shiang eggplant, roasted duck, steamed buns, scallion pancakes, shrimp wonton, and ginger chicken are just a few main-course standouts from Charlie’s, which local Mike M. calls “an Anchorage gem … reminds us of Taipei.” Best leave room for something from the bakery: puff pastry with chicken curry, egg tarts, custard buns, and the cakes all get high marks. Take it from M.B. of Chugiak, a Charlie’s regular for more than 10 years: “An Anchorage institution. Mouth is watering just thinking of the next visit.”
The orange chicken at Simi’s Cafe. Photo: Simi’s Cafe
3. Arizona: Simi’s Café, 2401 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert.
4.5 stars, 168 reviews
Simi’s specializes in Vietnamese, Thai, and Cantonese food, and does it all very well, report Yelpers from the front lines. But there’s something about the orange chicken (and friendly service) that puts reviewers in rapture. “It is so ridiculously good that I have turned my back on my beloved pho a few times to order it,” writes a guilty Sarah R. of Phoenix. Red or green curry chicken, chow fun, pho, and the BBQ pork fried rice are a few other dishes Yelpers praise. And did we mention the customer service? “You can tell they love their customers because they remember their regulars by name,” says Elaine B. of Chandler. Always a good sign.
4. Arkansas: Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking, 3901 S. University Avenue, Little Rock.
4.5 stars, 40 reviews
Yelpers traveling from Asian food hotspots such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York praise this “amazing” Little Rock “diamond in the rough” for its authenticity, large portions and reasonable prices. “This is some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in years,” writes Paula S. of Dallas, Texas. Standouts include mapo tofu, basil squid, sesame shrimp, seafood hot-and-sour soup, and Taiwanese braised pork. “Our Chinese stomach felt very comfortable,” reassures Ke X. of Clemson, S.C. “Five stars.”
The Chairman delivers baked and steamed pork belly buns. Photo: The Chairman
5. California: The Chairman food truck, various locations in San Francisco.
4 stars, 1,264 reviews
Thirty-minute wait? No problem. Yelpers gladly stand in line to get their hands on two or four (never just one) of the Chairman’s steamed or baked buns. Plus, the line moves quickly. “I dream about this truck’s steamed buns. I could eat these everyday and not think about other food,” admits Alisa R., Glasgow, U.K. The Chairman carries only a few items – pork belly with pickled daikon, Coca-Cola braised pork, spicy chicken, crispy miso-cured tofu, and Muscovy duck confit – but Yelpers say they’re all the right ones. Check the web site for locations.
Star Kitchen’s salt and pepper squid. Photo: Star Kitchen
6. Colorado: Star Kitchen Seafood Restaurant, 2917 W. Mississippi Avenue, Denver.
4 stars, 350 reviews
Based on the Yelp reviews, Star Kitchen not only has the best dim sum in Denver, it also serves up some of the best overall Chinese food around. Forget about ordering dim sum (served until 3 p.m. daily) from the menu; just pick whatever looks good from the rolling carts. Yelpers say you can’t go wrong. But make sure to snag a few BBQ pork buns, which are “so good it hurts,” writes Jenn W. Littleton. Combine the dim sum with a few dishes from the kitchen. They’re as good as whatever is rolling by on the cart. “Everything they bring is excellent,” writes Michael C. of Denver.
Black Bamboo’s crispy duck special. Photo: Black Bamboo
7. Connecticut: Black Bamboo Chinese Restaurant, 844 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford.
4 stars, 208 reviews
Black Bamboo is popular, busy, and very small, so takeout might be the best option. That certainly doesn’t bother Yelpers. “Some of the best Chinese food I’ve had. Period! The food here is flavorful, fresh,” writes C M. of Middletown. A large vegetarian menu featuring a handful of vegan options – meatless orange chicken, boneless ribs, Kung Po chicken – scores big with Connecticut Yelpers, as do the other “higher-end” “non-greasy” Chinese dishes, such as chicken or pork with garlic sauce, General Tso’s dinner, and the Szechuan triple crown.
Flat noodles and beef at Confucius. Photo: Confucius
8. Delaware: Confucius, 57 Wilmington Avenue, Rehoboth Beach.
4 stars, 35 reviews
Confucius says: If the food is really good, unleash the superlatives. Yelpers don’t hold back when reviewing this Rehoboth Beach hotspot. “Best,” “out of this world,” “unfailingly delectable,” and “awesome” are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the hot pepper pork, scallion pancakes with smoked salmon, and black pepper beef. “Amazing flavor, delicious fare, great service and the owner always greets you with a smile,” writes Azzmeiah W. of Beverly, N.J., in her five-star review.
Like many Asian fusion restaurants on this list, the Japanese is as good as the Chinese food at Asian Garden. Photo: Asian Garden
9. Florida: Asian Garden, 2451 W. 68 Street, Hialeah.
4.5 stars, 82 reviews
Yelpers rave about Asian Garden’s sushi and its “reasonably priced” Chinese food. “Best Chinese food I’ve had in a while!” writes Lissette C. of Miami Beach. On the sushi front, the Miami Heat, Pink Lady and Caribbean rolls are definite winners with reviewers. Yelpers also recommend the Mongolian beef, General Tso’s chicken, ham fried rice, and any of the family dinner specials. Gracious owners and a “cozy” atmosphere seal the deal. “They also have great soups and fried rice,” writes local Danays S.
Ready for the hot broth at J’s Mini Hot Pot. Photo: J’s Mini Hot Pot
10. Georgia: J’s Mini Hot Pot, 2174 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth.
4.5 stars, 119 reviews
J’s Mini Hot Pot has been building up a fan base for years, luring Georgians with its beef bone, miso, chicken, vegetarian, herbal, tom yum and beauty booster broths, and variety of meat, seafood, and combo entrees. “Hot pots are awesome, great for a first or a fifteenth date. Delicious and interesting,” writes RP H. of Lawrenceville, who, we assume is referring to the hot pots. Yelpers especially appreciate the sauce bar, where they can create custom combinations. “The key to a tasty experience is the dipping sauce … just take a little of all your favorites and stir,” writes Addy C. of Atlanta.
11. Hawaii: Char Hung Sut, 64 N. Pauahi Street, Honolulu.
4.5 stars, 219 reviews
For nearly 70 years, Char Hung Sut has been serving up its manapua (pork bun) and dim sum to hungry locals and visitors of Honolulu. Make sure not to blink if you’re on a first-time quest for this small mom-and-pop shop. You could miss it. “The steamed bun of Char Hung Suts … can’t be beat! The bread so soft and warm in your mouth, with a slight sweetness and that delicious shredded char siu inside is hard to not love!” writes local Reid O. oh so convincingly. Pork hash, rice cakes, and chow fun or gon lo mein noodles also have Yelpers swooning.
Chan’s famous ginger chicken. Photo: Wok-Inn Noodle
12. Idaho: Wok-Inn Noodle, 4912 Emerald St., Boise.
4 stars, 43 reviews
This nondescript restaurant in a strip mall is considered one of the area’s best Chinese restaurants, with the credit going to Chef Chan, who pulls his own noodles and does all the cooking. “The food was surprisingly amazing. The noodles were well cooked and the meat was of much higher quality than you would get from your ordinary Mongolian BBQ,” writes local Alan Y. Check out Chan’s big collection of vinyl records while you’re there and don’t forget to order the House Noodles.
Chef Ping’s Chinese New Year spread. Photo: Chef Ping
13. Illinois: Chef Ping, 1755 Algonquin Road, Rolling Meadows.
4 stars, 424 reviews
By way of Yelp reviews, Chef Ping could be considered the King of Chinese food in the greater-Chicago area. His seafood combo, Mongolian beef, anything from the salt-and-pepper family, walnut shrimp, chicken wings, fried rice dishes, and mochi ice cream come highly recommended. “Everything we ordered was excellent,” writes David W. of St. Louis, Mo., who recently went to Ping’s with 10 people who shared 10 different dishes. That’s the way to do it at a place like Ping.
14. Indiana: Naisa Pan-Asian Café, 1025 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis.
4.5 stars, 113 reviews
This small restaurant is big on flavors and portions. Depending on your appetite, an entrée can satisfy two people. But why risk it; you can always take the leftovers home. Yelpers note that most everything is homemade and all ingredients are fresh. Garlic chili chicken, tangerine beef or chicken, and a variety of vegetarian dishes shine. “When I’m on the hunt for fresh/non-greasy Asian eats ranging from veggie pot stickers to basil curry fried tofu rice, Naisa is my go-to!” writes Britany S., of Indianapolis.
Sam’s sesame balls filled with sweet, yellow mung bean. Photo: Sam’s Fine Egg Rolls
15. Iowa: Sam’s Fine Food Egg Rolls, 3300 S.W. 9th St., Des Moines.
4.5 stars, 23 reviews
Ever since Mint Asian Bistro in Arnolds Park closed its doors late last year, Sam’s has taken the throne as Yelp’s top-rated Chinese restaurant in Iowa. It wears the crown well. “Hole-in-the-wall food at its best,” writes Dallas G. of Manhattan, Kansas. “Great egg rolls (order more than you think you can eat). Huge, homemade pot stickers.” Crab rangoon and Mongolian beef also score high marks. There are only a few tables in the place so plan to order takeout. Everything travels well. “The food was impressive for Chinese take out,” writes Trina W. of Reno, Nev.
16. Kansas: ABC Café, 10001 W. 87th Street, Overland Park.
4 stars 114 reviews
With a menu featuring such dishes as spicy chicken feet, deep-fried intestines, shredded dough with water chestnut jello, braised sea cucumber, and turnip cake, it’s no surprise that adjectives like “authentic” and “exotic” appear on Yelp reviews. “This place is the real deal,” writes Joseph P., a Chinese native living in Kansas City, Mo., who didn’t bother with the menu and just asked for the chef’s specialty. Turned out to be a good decision based on the vegetable, duck and fish dishes that arrived at the table. “If you’re expecting sweet and sour shrimp, General Tso’s or moo shu pork pancakes, maybe they’ll have it, but you’d be missing the best part of the menu,” says BM of Bentonville, Ark.
Amerasia’s Chef Chu combines kung fu and fast food to create a knockout Chinese food menu. Photo: Amerasia
17. Kentucky: Amerasia, 521 Madison Avenue, Covington.
4 stars, 210 reviews
Don’t be surprised to see Amerasia’s chef Rich Chu touring the dining room with a glass of beer and drinking a toast to each diner until his glass is empty. You’ll toast him right back after scarfing down his “Kung Food.” You’ll also want to keep that glass full throughout the meal. Amerasia’s broad, “eclectic” mix of craft beers and rotating taps separate it from most other Chinese restaurants in the country. Kung fu posters on the walls and classic martial arts and monster movies on the TV add to the fun and funky atmosphere. Oh yes, there’s also the food. Dragon Breath Wontons, “great” egg rolls, How Fun Noodles, Mongolian beef, Pork Get in Mah Belly, General’s Sesame Street Chicken, Brocco-Lee and Big Bird’s Nest get strong Yelp shout outs. Chef Chu also respects spice levels. If you ask for heat, you’ll get heat.
18. Louisiana: Hoa Hong Nine Roses, 1100 Stephens Street, Gretna.
4 stars, 96 reviews
Nine Roses primarily serves Vietnamese food, with only a few Chinese-style dishes sprinkled on the menu. Whatever Yelpers order, though, most want to go back for more. “I go here probably 3 times a month. No kidding,” writes local Leena T. Vietnamese crepe filled with shrimp and pork, chicken salad, and catfish steaks simmered in fish sauce are just a few call outs that hit the spot. “This continues to be my happy place and where I seek the comfort food of my motherland,” confides Felicia H. of New Orleans.
Empire Chinese Kitchen‘s Szechuan ramen bowl. Photo: Empire Chinese Kitchen
19. Maine: Empire Chinese Kitchen, 575 Congress Street, Portland.
4 stars, 79 reviews
Despite its ranking as a solid food destination, Portland for years has lacked a quality, higher-end Chinese restaurant. That is, Yelpers say, until Empire Chinese Kitchen took over the space once occupied by Portland’s first “deluxe” Chinese restaurant, the Empire Restaurant, which closed in 1953. This dim sum hotspot also serves authentic Cantonese entrees made from locally sourced ingredients. “In the past year, I’ve probably visited Empire at least once a week. This is Portland dining at its best,” writes local Nathan K. Small plate standouts include the Empire eggroll made with local pastrami, spicy pork belly buns, and honey walnut shrimp with citrus Japanese mayo. For dim sum, try the Shanghai soup dumplings; spinach dumplings with carrot, ginger and sweet corn; and, of course, the lobster dumplings. This is Maine, after all.
20. Maryland: Yuan Fu Vegetarian, 798 Rockville Pike, Rockville.
4 stars, 250 reviews
Yuan Fu Vegetarian is one of the few vegetarian-only restaurants to land on this list. Chef Tai makes all the imitation meats and seafood from vegetable products: beef and pork from gluten; chicken from soybean protein; duck from layers of tofu skin; fish from soybean protein and seaweed; and baby shrimp and squid from Japanese style white yam. “I was a little skeptical at first. But after trying the food, it was all awesome! No one believes from the picture that it is vegetarian food … it does have the texture of what it claims to be,” writes Emma W. of Montgomery Village. Not in the mood for mock meat? The eggplant dishes get strong reviews, while everything under the “non-fat” menu is oil free.
Ready for the full experience at Shabu-Zen. Photo: Shabu-Zen
21. Massachusetts: Shabu-Zen, 16 Tyler St., Boston.
4 stars, 543 reviews
High-quality meats and seafood, fresh vegetables, addictive broths, a huge variety of entrees and sides, and large portions for the price? No wonder Yelpers rank Shabu-Zen one of the best shabu shabu restaurants in New England. And don’t worry if you’ve never eaten shabu shabu. The friendly servers will gladly show you the way. “The meat’s (beef and lamb) marbling was rich, weaving together fat and lean to create a sumptuous texture and flavor,” writes Lawrence H., a New Yorker. Try to hit Shabu Zen for an early lunch. Expect long waits most other times. “So delectable, so delicious,” writes Tin P. of Kent, Wash., who obviously got over the long wait.
22. Michigan: Trizest Restaurant, 33170 Dequindre Road, Sterling Heights.
4 stars, 93 reviews
A round of applause to Trizest for offering two full in-house and online menus: one featuring all of the standard Chinese favorites and the other packed with traditional specialties, such as spicy pig stomach, fried duck in spicy fire pot with beer sauce, and Chengdu style spicy shrimp. “My Chinese wife tells me this is the most authentic Sichuan restaurant in the area,“ writes Albert K. of Troy, Mich. Other Yelpers gladly note how spicy the food is “even by Asian standards.” Whatever Trizest is doing, Michigan resident Jeff H. hopes it doesn’t stop: “I just had the best Chinese meal I think I’ve eaten in my life.”
23. Minnesota: Weng’s Kitchen, 115 Elm Street, Farmington.
5 stars, 29 reviews
Since opening in 2010, Weng’s Kitchen has quickly become a Yelp favorite around the Twin Cities. What do you expect? Not only is owner Tony Weng known to be super friendly, he also has a secret weapon manning the stoves: his mom, Chef Juan. A fresh, well-stocked buffet anchors the lunch trade, while entrées such as Mongolian beef, salt-and-pepper squid, and a variety of seafood fuel strong reviews. Oh, and the moo shu pork gets “a perfect 10” from Karl of Burnsville. Weng’s is also trying some new items on the menu, including filet mignon with pea pods, onions, bell peppers, and mushroom in a black pepper sauce; fried or sweet-and-tangy walleye; mango chicken; and lobster with ginger.
24. Mississippi: Ichiban Buffet, 359 Ridge Way, Flowood.
4 stars, 35 reviews
With its extensive Chinese and sushi offerings, as well as a bunch of American extras for picky kids, many Yelpers say Ichiban has one of the best buffets they’ve been to. “I took my dad here a few months ago (he is critical of almost everything) and he loved it,” reports Rose K. of Flowood. Chefs prepare sushi by the rotating sushi bar and other Japanese favorites on hibachi grills. Most of the Chinese food is standard fare, but it’s all well-prepared and flavorful, Yelpers write. Keep your eyes on the crab legs, though. Diners tend to grab as many as they can whenever a fresh batch hits the buffet.
Just one example of Lona’s ethereal rolls. Photo: Lona’s Lil Eats
25. Missouri: Lona’s Lil Eats, 2199 California Ave., St. Louis.
5 stars, 44 reviews
Best known for running a spring roll stand (still open on Saturdays and serving a variety of other items) at the Soulard market, Lona Luo moved into this small storefront where she sells build-your-own “giant” rice paper wraps and other types of Thai-inspired “healthy” cuisine with a soul-food flare. “Lona’s is characterized by exciting and fresh flavors and a bright, lively storefront,” writes Mark S. of St. Louis. An expanded menu includes a variety of carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo dishes. “The food tastes so authentic, the place is adorable, the staff and service are excellent and the prices reasonable. I wish I had discovered this place sooner,” writes Muja B. of Valley Park.
26. Montana: China Garden Restaurant, 2100 Stephens Avenue, Missoula.
4 stars, 19 reviews
China Garden is still going strong after 30 years. Yelpers consistently praise the service and give the variety of classic Chinese fare strong marks. Sautéed vegetables and chicken, almond chicken chow mein, and the shrimp anullnd BBQ pork wrapped in bacon are just a few Yelp favorites. Reviewers suggest ordering one of the combo dinners if you’re dining with a family. “This way you get to sample a little bit of everything,” writes Jennifer T. of Billings. Just leave a bit of room for the last course. “The new desserts are must-have endings to these perfect meals!” writes Dave V. of Champlin, a China Garden regular for nearly 25 years.
27. Nebraska: Golden Palace, 4040 N. 132nd Street, Omaha.
4.5 stars, 34 reviews
While the Golden Palace’s calm and peaceful atmosphere lulls some Yelpers into a state of serenity, it doesn’t have that effect on the “fast” and “efficient” staff. Reviewers are usually surprised how quickly their food arrives. The same applies to takeout. Expect orders to be ready five minutes before the given time. Golden Palace’s food is as solid as its service. “Really, we have never been disappointed with anything we’re order here,” writes Melissa W. of Omaha. The restaurant serves mainly Americanized Chinese favorites, but turns the quality “up a couple notches,” writes Mailman Dan M. of Omaha. Peanut butter chicken, Kung Pao beef, moo shu pork, and plum chicken grab kudos. “I’ve eaten most of the menu and it is all good,” promises Paul H. of Temple Terrace, Fla.
28. Nevada: Veggie House, 5115 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas.
4.5 stars, 343 reviews
If you’re a vegetarian but have the urge to eat meat (without really eating it) then Veggie House probably has what you’re looking for: chicken, beef, goose, shrimp, fish, scallops. You name it. It’s all veggie, all the time. “Their meat, it’s not real, but … it’s a good thing,” says River H. of Las Vegas. Chef Kenny uses his veggie meats and seafood to create all of the popular dishes you’d find at a full-menu Chinese restaurant. “The Cantonese pan-fried ‘fish’ really almost tasted like fish. It was pretty creative how they wrapped the faux fish loaf with nori to give it a seaweed flavor,” reports Rosanne P. of East Bay, Calif. The “meat” entrees also get pretty good reviews. “The taste and texture (of the crispy beef) reminded me of beef,” writes Dennis D. of Henderson, Nev. The vegetarian and vegan dishes, by the way, are made with real veggies and garner high marks from the Yelp faithful.
Yang Ming’s sesame chicken brights up the menu. Photo: Yang Ming
29. New Hampshire: Yang Ming, 341 S. Broadway, Salem.
4 stars, 39 reviews
Yang Ming owner Shirley C. often replies to Yelp comments, thanking customers for their positive reviews or addressing a complaint — a good indication of an attentive owner. The same type of attention is given to the preparation and presentation of Yang Ming’s Chinese food and highly regarded sushi. “The competition should be very weary of this place; Yang Ming puts many of them to shame,” warns Leo Z. of Salem. Plump crab Rangoon, house shredded beef with scallion pancakes, light vegetable pad Thai, spicy kung pao chicken, moo shu, and anything from the sushi menu sit well with Yelpers. Make sure to wash it down with one of Yang Ming’s classic Asian cocktails. “I will definitely be coming back,” writes Ashleigh H. of North Andover, Mass.
Photo: Han Dynasty
30. New Jersey: Han Dynasty, 404 Route 70 E., Cherry Hill.
4 stars, 150 reviews
Some Asian restaurant chains get a bad rap. Not Han Dynasty and its Cherry Hill spot. “The food quality is phenomenal; a solid 5 stars,” writes Brittany F. of Oaklyn. Owner Han Chiang started Han Dynasty in Exton, Pa., and has since opened five more in and around Philadelphia, and one in New York City. He has spoken of plans to open dozens more of the Szechuan restaurants across the country next few years. Based on the mostly positive Yelp reviews, that’s probably not a bad idea. “This is high quality, freshly made Szechuan cooking, with a big emphasis on lots of spice and flavor,” says Abraham T. of Collingswood. Yelpers especially love the spicy crispy cucumber, fried Taiwanese sausage, and dumplings in chili oil appetizers; dan dan noodle, dry pot-, dry pepper-, cumin- and hot sauce-style entrees (choose your protein); and just about everything else. Pick your level of heat, from one to 10. Choose wisely, though. This place doesn’t fool around.
Dive into the red curry at Fareast Fuzion. Photo: Fareast Fuzion
31. New Mexico: Fareast Fuzion, 5901 Central Ave N.E., Albuquerque.
4.5 stars, 61 reviews
Sushi, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese: Fareast Fuzion does it all and does most of it well, Yelpers report. “Usually a joint trying to throw down too many styles loses; this one wins,” says Nat S. of Denver, Colo. If all of the different styles seem confusing, just ask one of the servers for help. Yelpers say they know the menus inside out. Monkey balls (mushrooms stuffed with tuna and deep fried), tom yum, drunken noodles, pad thai, yellow curry, and most of the sushi rev up the Yelp crowd. It has a nice Japanese craft beer menu, too. “Every dish I have had here is flavorful and exceptionally delicious,” writes Lauren S. of Albuquerque.
Prosperity Dumpling offers up one of New York’s best deals. You won’t mind having to eat them on the road. Photo: snowpea&bokchoi, Flickr
32. New York: Prosperity Dumpling, 46 Eldridge Street, in Manhattan.
4.5 stars, 2,470 reviews
Prosperity Dumpling is an unheated, grimy, hole-in-the-wall. It also happens to serve the most delicious dumplings in Manhattan, Yelpers say. The sesame pancake sandwiches and noodles soups are also really good. And everything is super cheap. Four pork and chive dumplings will set you back a $1. Pancakes start at .50 cents and top out at $1.25. Beef noodle soup goes for $3. “The cost value here is laughable (in a good way) … the food is rock solid,” Jeff S. of San Francisco writes. Believe the hyperbole: “legendary street food,” “as good as it gets,” “greatest bargain in Manhattan.” Or, as Shannon L. of Oakland, Calif., says: “EVERYTHING was delicious!!”
33. North Carolina: C&T Wok, 130 Morrisville Square Way, Morrisville.
4.5 stars, 185 reviews
C&T Wok specializes in Chinese and Thai food (hence the title), both of which nicely satisfy Yelper cravings. Those in the know, however, head straight to the Szechuan listings for authentic and unusual dishes. “Very interesting menu selections outside of the normal fares,” writes Roy K. of Lone Tree, Colo. Spicy daikon winter melon meatball soup, beef tendon with chili and peppercorn oils, pickled chicken feet, pork intestine fried with pickle mustard, and roasted duck stir-fried with yum cake are probably a few of the dishes Roy had in mind. C&T typically gets crowded around lunchtime, but the attentive staff and fast service moves things along. “It’s very rare that I have absolutely no complaints with a Chinese restaurant, and this place definitely hit the jackpot,” writes Sheila D. of Chapel Hill.
34. North Dakota: Jade Dragon, 1015 Main Avenue, Fargo.
4 stars, 45 reviews
Out-of-town Yelpers are usually surprised when they find this Vietnamese (also serving Chinese food) restaurant in Fargo. They’re even more surprised when they discover how good it is. Jade Dragon’s pho gets especially strong marks, with many Yelpers saying it’s among the best they’ve ever had. “A big bowl of Pho is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly North Dakota day,” writes Marc B. of Fargo. With its flavorful Chinese food, large portions, good prices and friendly service, Jade Dragon easily makes up for the lack of Asian dining options in the Fargo area, Yelpers say. “Jade Dragon has been the lone saving grace,” according to Peter B. of West Fargo.
Sesame Sea Asian Bistro’s fresh take on shiitake sea bass. Photo: Sesame Sea Asian Bistro
35. Ohio: Sesame Sea Asian Bistro, 7106 Muirfield Drive, Dublin.
4.5 stars, 85 reviews
Sesame Sea Asian Bistro serves many classic American-Chinese dishes, but most have a twist that sets them apart. There are also some truly unique dishes – Grand Marnier chicken or shrimp, shitake flounder, mala pork, and firecracker shrimp – that make things interesting. “Totally unique and tasty … extremely reasonable prices,” writes Mike C. of Upper Arlington. The simple, refined décor keeps things relaxed, while Sesame Sea’s food adds the excitement. “Every dish I’ve had here so far has been … excellent,” says Kaoru M. of Northwest Columbus.
36. Oklahoma: Chow’s Chinese Restaurant, 3033 N. May Avenue, Oklahoma City.
4 stars, 43 reviews
There’s no reason to fly 18 hours for real Hong Kong-style food. Just head to Chow’s in Oklahoma City. “Chow’s has the most authentic Chinese food I’ve had since I was a kid,” says local Nigel P. Sure, there are plenty of standards on the extensive menu but Chow’s is not your ordinary Chinese restaurant. Dishes like twice-cooked pork belly, crabmeat and fish maw soup, walnut shrimp, green chili steak, cold jellyfish, fried quail, and the freshest fish around set this place apart. Even the fried rice is more flavorful than most others, with big chunks of pork, Yelpers say. Make sure to bring your own beer or wine. Kimberly H., a regular, tells us why: “It’s BYOB because this place is not about booze, it’s about seafood and classic Chinese dishes that Chinese people actually eat.” We’ll drink to that.
Presentation matters at Red Robe. Photo: Red Robe Tea House & Café
37. Oregon: Red Robe Tea House & Café, 310 N.W. Davis Street, Portland.
4.5 stars, 76 reviews
Portland is well known for its craft beers and fine coffees. If Red Robe has its way, exotic teas will soon enter that list. Since opening in 2011, this tea house and restaurant has been introducing Portland to new varieties of oolong, green, herbal, black and pu’er teas. The food also shines. “This is the best Chinese restaurant I have experienced in Portland!” writes Jon T. of Gresham. Yelpers have good things to say about most dishes. Curry meatballs, marinated beef shank, black mushrooms with greens, and mapo tofu are just a few of them. The authentic Chef’s Menu, available to large groups, is also worth exploring. “Highly, highly recommended!!!” Portland’s Tara P. says of Red Robe’s entire menu.
Easy to see why Nan Zhou is one of Philly’s favorites. Photo: Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, Facebook
38. Pennsylvania: Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, 1022 Race Street, Philadelphia.
4 stars, 931 reviews
Yelpers like to point out that Nan Zhou is cash only. Good advice, but you certainly won’t need a lot of it to eat like a king at this Philly favorite. “The food is cheap and you can leave the place satisfied for under ten bucks,” writes Nivedita B. of Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, the whole menu is under $10, with the signature hand-drawn (round, like a thick spaghetti) or shaved (flat) noodle soups running from about $4.50 to $6 a bowl. Add fresh cilantro and pickled cabbage to the crystal clear broth and firm, chewy noodles to create your own bowl of heaven. The sliced beef and beef brisket soups (“the stuff dreams are made of,” promises Chery S. of Washington, D.C.), as well as the dry noodle with pork soy sauce, are clear Yelp favorites. But don’t stop with the soups. The spicy pig ears, crispy scallion pancakes and the stir-fries are also highly rated. And if you happen to need cash, Nan Zhou has an ATM.
Ye’s signature Fire Star Roll. Photo: Ye Express
39. Rhode Island: Ye Express, 1117 Main St., West Warwick.
4.5 stars, 33 reviews
The Warwick area has its fair share of Chinese restaurants, but Yelpers say few compare to Ye Express. The bright, clean dining room; friendly staff; great food; and sushi home delivery add up to consistently high ratings. “Since we found this incredible place we go once a week,” writes W. Warwick local Anna G. Her favorite dish – General Tao’s Cod (fried filets) – is one we haven’t seen on any other menu from this list. “Try it, you will be amazed.” Nime Chow (Vietnamese fresh rolls), beef teriyaki, kung pao chicken, spicy Thai basil dishes, and all of the sushi are just a few Yelp favorites that rule this eclectic menu. “Everything was delicious,” says Mily P. of Johnston.
Lieu’s spicy chicken, a Greenville favorite. Photo: Lieu’s Chinese Bistro
40. South Carolina: Lieu’s Chinese Bistro, 1149 Woodruff Road, Greenville.
4 stars, 85 reviews
This is the place a lot of Greenville Yelpers make sure to hit at least once a month, more if they have the chance or are just plain lucky. Lieu’s also inspires a lot of local pride, with Yelpers consistently saying how much better it is than the big Chinese chain that pitched its tent in town. “Still the best, forget the rest! Best food in town. Best service in town,” writes Johnathon S., of Taylors. Owner Peter Lieu can take a lot of credit for that. When he’s not responding to comments on Yelp, he’s on the floor “working as hard or harder than the employees,” writes Greenville local Thor I. That work ethic shows up in the food: mainly Americanized Chinese, but with special attention to flavors and presentation. “Consistency and quality EVERY time!!!” says local Lindsay S. That applies to the lettuce wraps, hand-wrapped spring rolls, salt-and-pepper calamari, orange peel shrimp, Cantonese crispy duck and, what seems like Lieu’s signature dish based on the Yelp raves, kung pao chicken.
41. South Dakota: China Luck, 740 Mountain View Road, Rapid City, S.D.
4 stars, 27 reviews
Yelpers from out of town say they’re surprised to find such good Chinese food at the foot of the Black Hills. The locals know better, voting China Luck the area’s best Asian restaurant in the Rapid City Journal’s 2014 “Best of the Black Hills” reader poll. An incredibly friendly owner and those extraordinary egg rolls (“they can be a meal unto themselves,” writes Rapid City resident Michael W.) probably helped tip the scales. Or maybe it was the orange chicken, Mongolian beef, lo mein or yu shang broccoli. Yelpers also give high grades to the well-stocked lunch buffet. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, make sure to ask for the “authentic” menu, which has a heavy Korean influence. “In short, a real find,” writes Wes N. of Seattle, Wash.
And now it’s time for one or two or three of Mrs. Pao’s cupcakes. Photo: Mosa Asian Bistro
42. Tennessee: Mosa Asian Bistro, 850 S. White Station, Memphis.
4 stars, 65 reviews
For the last 20 years, brothers Eddie (Mr. Eddie to regulars) and Alfred Pao have been serving up their take on traditional American-Chinese food at the popular Formosa. They recently expanded into Japanese, Thai and Korean flavors (while staying close to their Chinese roots) at Mosa Asian Bistro. Memphis Yelpers are glad they did. “You can’t beat good, quality food prepared by Mr. Eddie,” says Andrew B. of Southaven, who has eaten at Mosa about 30 times. You can’t go wrong with the Mosa wraps, rainbow Panang coconut curry, Korean BBQ, and the lineup of rice plates. Don’t forget to top it all off with one of Mrs. Pao’s homemade cupcakes.
Chicken lollipops and fried rice at, you guessed it, Chicken Lollipop. Photo: Chicken Lollipop
43. Texas: Chicken Lollypop, 1005 E. Braker Lane, Austin.
4.5 stars, 208 reviews
The sign might say “Chicken Lollypop” but when you walk through the front door you’ll find yourself in a convenient store. Don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. Keep walking toward the back of the East Braker Lane Food Mart and you’ll find Chef Immie’s shrine to Mumbai-style Indian Chinese food. Whatever confusion you may have suffered will be worth it after digging into the signature chicken legs, any of the Shezwan naan wraps, the triple Shezwan or chili fried rice, spinach or Bombay potatoes house specialties, and the Chicken 65. “I want to eat this food every day for the rest of my life,” says Callie B. of Austin. She’s not the only one. Let’s raise our chicken lollypops to a very long life.
44. Utah: Boba World, 750 South 512 W. Woods Cross.
4.5 stars, 132 reviews
The name is misleading and the restaurant is practically hidden in a strip mall off the beaten track. But the good word apparently spreads when you have a friendly staff serving up a variety of flavorful, unique, and authentic dishes. “Such amazing broad flavor and the sweetest people. We ordered 10 different dishes and all were amazing,” writes D.H. of American Fork, Utah. Yelpers say the chewing drinks (hence the restaurant’s name) are also good but secondary to the pot stickers, juicy dumplings, stir-fried fat noodles, mapo tofu, Shanghai baby ribs with plum sauce, and the sticky rice balls in sweet wine. “If this place was in L.A. there would be a line around the block,” writes Zach S. of Salt Lake City. The multitude of Boba World fans can rejoice that it isn’t.
45. Vermont: Zen Gardens, 7 Fayette Drive, South Burlington.
4 stars, 41 reviews
Zen Gardens once again proves that Yelpers find great Chinese food where they’d least expect it. “I was especially skeptical of Chinese food in Vermont … I was blown away by Zen Garden’s selection of authentic Chinese food,” writes Mary T. of Philadelphia, Pa. Zen has plenty of Americanized Chinese dishes for the less adventurous, but that’s not the focus of the menu. Think spicy, peppery Szechuan flavors from a “sophisticated, upscale, interesting menu” and “traditional” offerings that get the attention, and high marks, from Yelpers. “If I closed my eyes, I would have sworn I was back in Taipei!” writes Joe V. of Middleton, Mass. Favorites include dumplings in hot sesame sauce, Szechuan-style shredded beef, black-pepper Mala sauce dishes, pineapple double wonder, roasted pork belly with pepper garlic, and Peking duck. Zen Garden serves up plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a “healthy food selection” of steamed vegetable dishes.
Photo: Judy’s Sichuan
46. Virginia: Judy’s Sichuan Cuisine, 328 Constitution Drive, Virginia Beach.
4.5 stars, 229 reviews
The “spicy,” “flavorful,” and “unique” food at Judy’s Sichuan makes up for the plain and simple décor, Yelpers say, with many adding that Judy’s is their new go-to in the area. Unique dishes mingle with classic fare on the menu. If you have a question, just ask Judy. She’ll be glad to answer it. “She loves her cuisine and really wants to share it,” says Maximo L. of Newport News. Yelpers, in turn, love that she’s willing to share her take on soup dumplings, twice cooked pork, braised pork belly, salted prawns, Westlake-style beef soup, Dan-Dan noodles, and sweet-and-sour fish.
47. Washington: Facing East, 1075 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue.
4 stars, 1,032 reviews
Facing East brings the authentic flavors of Taiwan to Bellevue, say Yelpers, who compare many of the dishes to Taipei street food, in the best sense of the description. “Authentic Taiwanese cuisine that served my craving for food from home!” writes Yuchi C. of San Francisco, Calif. Facing East’s hands-down star attraction is its Taiwanese pork burger: pork belly with pickled mustard greens, cilantro and sweet/salty peanuts on a steamed bun. Fans say these should be sold at the door by the sack (a big sack!) to help move the crowds along. “I could eat an entire plate of these!” writes Daniel C. of Danville, Calif. Facing East, though, is more than just pork burgers: fried yearling oysters, spiced pork stew over rice or noodles, lamb with Taiwanese BBQ sauce, and stir-fried clams with basil round out a menu that’s “dripping with flavor,” says Evan W. of Los Angeles, Calif.
48. Washington, D.C.: ching ching CHA, 1063 Wisconsin Avenue, Georgetown.
4 stars, 163 reviews
This teahouse/restaurant, with its “calming,” “relaxing,” and “peaceful” atmosphere, serves more than 70 kinds of tea. “Once the tea arrives, you forget about everything else,” writes Marcela C. of Arlington, Va. Yelper faves on the luncheon menu include Mongolian dumplings (with lamb), curry rolls (both the chicken and the beef), and the mustard miso salmon. “Very tasty,” writes local Cherelle H. To continue the experience, pick up some of the teas for sale on your way out.
49. West Virginia: Asian Bistro, 3006 Northpointe Plaza, Morgantown.
4 stars, 23 reviews
Lack of focus can be a major problem when a restaurant serves multiple styles of food, especially when they’re as different from each other as Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Korean. The upside is that if done well, you have the chance to indulge in several of your favorite cuisines in one sitting. Asian Bistro does a good job tackling all five styles, based on Yelp reviews. “Each dish is incredibly flavorful with a fresh flair! The chef obviously knows what he’s doing,” writes Omalizuma B. of Proctorville, Ohio. Beef bulgogi, chicken katsu, tom yum, hibachi dishes, sushi, red curry fried rice, Thai duck, and beef pho keep the reviewers happy.
One of VIP’s special shellfish dishes. Photo: VIP
50. Wisconsin: VIP, 6718-6722 Odana Road, Madison.
4 stars, 68 reviews
You can’t blame anyone for being a bit suspicious of restaurants that cram multiple styles of Asian food on one menu. The sushi/Chinese combo seems to inspire the most skepticism. VIP puts those fears to rest, at least for Madison foodsters. “Have had both the sushi and the Chinese food, top notch on both sides of the menu,” Yelped Madison local Mark M. He’s not alone. Yelpers say VIP’s sushi ranks among the best in the area, while its “progressive” takes on traditional and unique Chinese always impress. Order the beef heel in chili sauce, stir-fried beef or lamb with cumin, steamed whole striped bass with salted chili, crispy duck, beef brisket noodles, or the beef maw and boudin in spicy sauce, all of which standout from an extensive and somewhat intimidating menu. Don’t get nervous. The friendly staff will guide you. Finish things off with the fried ice cream, which Yelpers say is better than most they’ve had.
51. Wyoming: Chopstix Asian Bistro, 1313 Dewar Drive, Rock Springs.
4 stars, 30 reviews
Chopstix offers something for just about anyone with an Asian food hankering living in this small city. “Outstanding food and amazing sushi!!!,” says Erica S. of Loveland, Colo., who used to eat there once a week when she lived in the area and recently drove 300 miles to get her Chopstix fix. Maybe it’s the Szechuan beef, sesame chicken, shrimp and broccoli, Thai dishes, sushi bar, and award-winning jalapeno poppers and Vietnamese shrimp egg rolls that inspire crazy loyalty among Yelpers. “Hard to believe this small town in the middle of nowhere possesses an excellent Asian/Chinese cafe with an extensive menu,” Tim G. of Chicago, Ill. Hard to believe, but true.
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