Food Tour of Chinatown NYC

chatham sqaure statue

This is definitely my last NYC post, promise.  I just had to share details of our three hour food tour of NYC Chinatown, the most exciting culinary adventure we had stateside.

Foods of New York Tours operate a number of walking tours around specialised foodie areas of the city.  @jenlucy had brought the company to my attention before  our holliers, and on perusal of the website, the Chinatown Tour caught my eye.  Sure, it was the most expensive tour at $65 per person, but it looked like the most fun.  And, if I’m totally honest, it looked like the one with the most grub so…you see where my priorities lie.

Our meeting point was at noon outside Dim Sum Go Go, a Hong Kong Dim Sum house on 5 East Broadway where Broadway meets Chatham Square or Kimlau Square as it’s known locally.  We were ushered upstairs by our guide Rahim and seated at a table with other members of our 17 strong tour group.

dim sum go go exterior

Rahim gave us an introduction into Chinatown, as well as a very thorough and insightful history of Dim Sum.

Then came the food.  It was the first time I’ve ever had Dim Sum for breakfast but funnily enough, Rahim explained that Dim Sum for brunch is actually a bit of a thing in NYC, and Dim Sum Go Go is one of the top spots in the city to get it.

jasmine flower uulong tea

As is integral to the tradition of eating Dim Sum, we were served with some delicious Jasmine Flower Oolong Tea, and were talked through our three condiments.


From left to right we had a vinegar based chilli sauce which had a sweetness to it that counteracted the chilli.  Our middle sauce was a meat based concoction with a hint of ginger and sweet chilli.  It was AMAZING.  The third little pot was full of a scallop, shrimp, ginger and scallion based dip, which was delicious.

Soon, it was time for our Dim Sum breakfast.  Each person in the group was presented with a little steam box with five little beauties inside.  It was honestly like opening up a Christmas present.  Off came the lid and there were the five beautifully packaged parcels of yumminess.

dimsum selection



I got a little excited and starting munching away at our first clutch-shaped dim sum before remembering to grab a close-up of it.  As we chewed away on our delicious, light, fresh-like-I’ve-never-tasted-before bundles of joy, Rahim talked us through the inside flavours and the methods of making them.

duck dimsum

Next was the beautiful Crabmeat Dumpling – the colour green comes from making the dimsum wrapping with spinach.

spinach wrapped dimsum

We were directed towards the Vegetarian Dumpling next.  This was full of asparagus and other lovely veggie stuff.  Ay carumba.

crabmeat dimsum

Our last little delicate dim sum was the deliciously pink Organic Chicken Dumpling.  The pink comes from beetroot, don’t ya know.

pink dimsum

Last, but most certainly not least, was the surprisingly flavoursome Shrimp and Chive Dumpling.  This one packed such a perfectly balanced flavour combination of the shrimp and chive, each complimenting the other so well without over-powering or fighting for taste-bud time.  Gorgeous.

chive dimsum

As if all that wasn’t completely gorgeous enough, we were treated to the most spectacular Pork Buns EVER.  Not that horrible glutinous rubbish that you usually get – these little flour puffs of wonderfulness melted in the mouth and made one swoon with mouth-watering happiness. *sigh….!*

pork buns uneatedpork bun eaten

After a bit of a breather enabled us to return back down to earth aided by sweet tea and a loo break, our group moved on to the next joint.

We were headed to Mott Street, taking a little detour down Doyers Street passed the old Chinese Theatre, now a federal post office.  Lots of crazy-opium-fuelled-antics went down at that place before it was closed down I think sometime in the early 1900s.

chinatown streetchinatown street two
chinatown street threechinatown street four

We arrived at our next destination, The Peking Duck House at 28 Mott Street, renowned for its genuine Peking Duck pancakes.  OMG.

peking house sign

We were sat at a giant table in the downstairs part of the restaurant, and while Rahim gave us the history of Peking Duck in America, as well as the special methods used to prepare it just so, the chef came out with four massive ducks (heads and all – sorry Daffy) and carved up the most delicious, tender,  non-greasy, just-the-right-amount-of-fatty, crispy-skinned duck I’ve ever had the pleasure of popping into my gob.  Lovely.

Here are the pancakes, of which we each had two.

pancake with sauce
duck on pancake
panckae with celery
duck pancake rolled
pancake with sauce and celery

I want to go to there right now!  So good.

After our delicious duck, we popped into the heartily stocked herbalist shop next door – I believe it was called Chung Chou City.  Here are some of the delights we found inside.

asian shop weird stuff
abaloneginseng in bucket
lots of ginseng in bucketsmore weird  stuff on shelf
weird stuff on shelfshark fin

I picked up some Bubble Tea to drink along the way.  The little black yokes at the bottom of the drink are these bizarre little toffee thingies – quite hard to describe – which are big enough that you need an especially large straw to drink them through.  A strange little drink, although not entirely unpleasant.

bubble tea

It was a kick hop around the corner, past stalls full of bizarre talking toys, lovely scarfs (of which I bought 6 – only one for myself, mind) and I *heart* NY shirts, to our next tasting destination.

We stopped outside of the Nice Green Bo Restaurant on 66 Bayard Street, which Rahim explained was one the original and best Shanghai restaurant in Chinatown.  The original owner closed it as a protest at all the other Shanghai Pretenders who opened up around him on the same street, taking away a lot of his business.

Soon after, his wife re-opened it, most likely in a wifey fit of “that fecking eejit, sure I’ll just have to go on and do it myself, flippin’ ego on him like Bono”.  That’s what the story made me think of anyway.

We were treated to the most gorgeous scallion egg pancake which we munched on just outside of the restaurant.  Deep fried.  Oily.  Unhealthy.  Unutterably scrumptious.  My mouth is watering just typing about it.

nice green bo restaurant with tour groupscallion and egg deep fried pancake

We were all pretty stuffed at this stage, but, like the true food troopers that we were, battled on to face more delicious morsels to stuff into our gobs.

We didn’t have far to walk, as our next snack was in the neighbouring Hsin Wong Restaurant, where we were treated to the most luscious barbequed loin of pork.  Bloody gorgeous.

hsin wong restaurantbbq pork loin small

I was so full I only had one piece.  Delicious.

Dessert was next and Rahim ran into the Hon Cafe Bakery on 70 Mott Street to pick up our box of pre-ordered delights.  We enjoyed these little tiger swiss roll type lovelies.

hon cafe desserthon cafe cake

There was only one thing to do but to have some Iced Plum Tea at the famous Ten Ren’s Tea Shop across the road from The Hon Cafe.

ten ren's tea shopiced plum tea

And so ended our fantastic Food Tour of Chinatown.  Absolutely worth every penny, I would strongly urge you to check it our for yourself.

The only downside to it is that you’ll probably never be able to eat in your local Chinese Restaurant again, without feeling msg-fuelled sinking disappointment, as you wistfully think back on the delights you enjoyed on this tour.  Unless, of course, you actually live in China.

Do it.  And check out all the other tours available to see which one catches your eye.

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  1. I hate being poor.

  2. Oh Ben! Sorry. It wasn’t my intention to make you or anyone feel bad and skint! There’ll come a day when we’re both rolling in the monies and we can eat sushi and dimsum for ever and ever and ever. Yay!

  3. wow, it’s a different world there, the dim sum looks absolutely delicious!

  4. These are some really nice photos. And Jasmine Oolong is what you drank? That sounds just wonderful. I’m partial to dim sum myself, as long as it’s vegetarian.

  5. You didn’t make me feel that way! I just kept thinking about Anna and me not being able to eat dim sum four times a day and felt incredibly sorry for myself!

  6. Hi Adel – seriously, the most delicious dim sum I’ve ever had, it was totally amazing. *sighhhhh…!*

    Hi Jason – indeed, the Jasmine Flower Oolong Tea was really lovely, very refreshing and had little tiny flowers floating in the cup, which I don’t think I managed to capture in the pic. Thanks for visiting the blog!

    Hey Ben – awwwww, sorry that you felt sorry for yourself! Wouldn’t it be great to eat dim sum four times a day….*day dreams about being surrounded by mountains of dim sum in a room with a trampoline for a floor*

  7. Finally catching up on your NY adventures – what a cracking tour. Can you even imagine an equivalent here?

  8. Hey Spud! It was totally amazing. There’s definitely no equivalent in the city centre within walking distance, I don’t think. The problem is the quality isn’t as high in Dublin – there are one or two great places, like The HopHouse on Parnell Street, and our local Hilan on Capel Street stands up to it, but that’s about all I know. And their both Korean places. The only good Chinese I know of in town is The Good World on Georges Street.

    But if you had a car and wanted to do an Irish food tour, I’m sure a lovely trip to Denis Healy’s farm for example would really wow visitors. I really missed Irish butter when I was away, American butter is rather bland. So it was nice to see that we at least had ONE food item that was better than what’s available stateside!!

  9. mmmm I’e never had dim-sum – looks nice – oh and pink! Those pictures of the spices are very pretty. I am wearing a lovely chinatown scarf right now – wish I’d bought 20 now for xmas pressies

  10. Oh Lu, you gotta try some Dim Sum in Chinatown next time you’re in NYC. I also got scarves in Chinatown! – one for myself, my Mum, my sister, and Niall got one for every lady in his family too! They’re lovely.