A mix of affordable, high-end, hole-in-the-wall, and trendy, Chinatown is a myriad of shopping, cultural highlights, and delicious eating and drinking. Here’s our guide to discovering this colorful New York neighborhood.
A Look at The Past: Tenement Building Museum
Learn about immigrants that lived on the Lower East Side between the 19th and 21st century at the Tenement Building Museum, located in a string of historic tenements. Originally built in 1863, the brick apartments have been recreated to show the living and working conditions of actual families that resided there. Photo courtesy of @thetenementmuseum on Instagram.
Coffee You’ve Never Had Before: Kopitiam
Teeny Kopitiam is modeled after traditional cafés Malaysia (Kopi> is Malay for “coffee,” and tiam is Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) for “shop.”) that serve both black and white coffees. The white variety comes rom beans roasted in olive oil and brewed with condensed milk. (Note: Kopitiam is under renovation, but we can’t wait for it to reopen April 2018!). Photo courtesy of @melissa_hom on Instagram.
Expert Hair Cuts: Mian Tian Sing
Mian Tian Sing is a secret (okay, not-so-secret) 2nd-floor hair salon that delivers the sleekest and cheapest blowouts in Manhattan. Regulars of this bustling no-frills hair cuttery return for the generous head massages and shiny head of hair.
Artisinal Cocktails: Apotheke
A tricked-out pharmacy with a nod to old European style apothecaries, Apotheke’s stylish digs (marble bar, gold leaf ceiling) come second to the insane cocktail concoctions its lab coat wearing bartenders are mixing. Photo courtesy of @apothekenyc on Instagram.
Soothing Massages: Relax Foot Spa
An hour of full-on foot rub for just $30? Nothing beats Relax Foot Spa. While privacy is scarce, you can get reflexology, shoulder rubs, neck massage and a good foot soak amongst a variety of services.
Steamed Buns: Golden Steamer
Golden Steamer (143A Mott Street), is popular Chinese bakery in NYC’s Chinatown dedicated to bao, the soft, oh-so-comforting steamed buns. It’s famous for its pumpkin bao, sweet salted egg, and pork bao. Bao are rarely over a buck, so definitely stock up. You can even takeaway frozen bao to snack on later or as a a delicious souvenir. Photo courtesy of @theminiloft on Instagram.
Flea Market Revamped: Canal Street Market
A former flea market in the heart of Chinatown, Canal Street Market reimagines the neighborhood’s distinct Chinese roots with a sleek and modern spin. The market’s vendors offer a variety of Asian-influenced grab-and-go foods and design-centric items. You can find colorful smoothie bowls at LuLu’s, Izakaya/Samurice (famous for their pour over style miso soup), countless artisans and designers selling jewelry, beauty products, hand drawn postcards, trendy clothing and much more. New vendors are added regularly—just another reason to go often. Photo courtesy of @jlbroccoli on Instagram.
Epic Dim Sum: Jing Fong
Grab a ticket and take a ride up the escalator to Jing Fong, one of Chinatown’s top dim sum destinations. Pick off shumai, dumplings, bao, and beef chow fun from the endless carts that pass by large shared tables in an opulent dining room decorated by a giant crystal chandelier. Photo courtesy of @jenner8r on Instagram.
As you prep for your NYC explorations, you’ll want the right playlist. Here’s our latest: New Year, Who Dis?, which is giving us a fresh start to 2018.