22 Top Restaurants in Philadelphia's Chinatown Neighborhood
Tastes of Cantonese, Sichuan, Burmese, Taiwanese and more Asian cultures...
Food is at the heart of the community in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood . The tempting smells wafting onto the street and savory meats hanging in store windows have drawn hungry patrons into restaurants since the neighborhood was founded in the mid-19th century.
Inside Chinatown’s many eateries, family cooks and acclaimed chefs pile on the flavor for a multisensory experience at tiny takeout-only operations and spacious family-style restaurants.
In the small, highly walkable Chinatown area — located between Eighth and 11th streets and Vine and Arch streets — the menus offer tastes of Hong Kong, Cantonese, Fujianese, Sichuan and Taiwanese, as well as Korean, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Indonesian, Malaysian and Burmese cultures.
Check out our guide below to 22 fantastic restaurants in Chinatown, compiled with help from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation , a non-profit group devoted to promoting and protecting the unique cultural treasure that is Philadelphia’s Chinatown.
Try the soup dumplings at BAI WEI (formerly Sakura Mandarin), where the staff specializes in Szechuan and Hunan cuisines and dim sum. Pan-fried or steamed, the dumplings come filled with pork, chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Also on the menu: stir-fry and smelly pots, dry pots, and plenty of spicy dishes.
Where: BAI WEI, 1038 Race Street
The name says it all at this modern Arch Street restaurant . More than 60 tea varieties (mint chocolate milk tea, honeydew green tea, taro milk tea, guava oolong tea … ) come hot and cold, while milkshakes, smoothies and fresh juices round out the robust drink menu. To eat? Tuna tacos, shrimp tempura and a seemingly endless list of sushi.
Where: Bubblefish, 909 Arch Street
Drop into Canto House , where the menu is extensive and there’s always something on special. Meat, meatless, noodle-based and barbecue dishes are on rotation, as is a variety of congee. The chef recommends goose feet with mushrooms, the lamb clay pot and clams with black bean sauce.
Singapore rice noodles, curry chicken with onions, salt & pepper squid and mapo tofu are among the fiery offerings at Chu Shang Spicy , which certainly lives up to its name. More reserved palates can find just as many delicious options, starting with egg drop soup at the top of the menu all the way down to green tea ice cream. In between: pad thai, stir-fried eggplant and egg foo young.
Refrigerated Mongolian food served via a conveyor belt makes for a fun dining experience at Chubby Cattle . Start with a broth-based pot and watch as the options pass you by. Shrimp, mushroom and other skewers come first, followed by a choice of sauces. Heat it up according to the restaurant’s instructions and enjoy! Pro tip: Have the phone ready for those Instagram snaps.
Modern decor and pop art greet patrons at Cily Chicken Rice & Thai Food , where it’s all about Thai street food. Fill up on appetizers like tom yum soup, veggie spring rolls, fish cakes and the potato-pumpkin golden bag, or save room for a platter of chicken over ginger rice and an iced green tea.
A well-known spot for Philly’s post-shift restaurant workers for years, David’s Mai Lai Wah offers budget-friendly eats. While the experience is no-frills, the salt and pepper chicken wings, roast pork noodle bowls and walnut shrimp provide tasty sustenance.
Fifth-generation chef Shizhou Da brought her Xiao Long Bao recipe to Philadelphia in 2013 when she opened Dim Sum Garden . Now the steamed dumplings fill customers every day, and come stuffed with crab meat, pork, chicken, vegetables and more. DIYers can even order batches of frozen dumplings to cook up at home.
Spicy Szechuan is served family-style at EMei Restaurant , where the large round tables have plenty of room for passing and sharing. You won’t find Americanized cuisine here — chef Zhao pledges to keep things authentic with fiery flavors from chili oils and peppercorns familiar to those with roots in Western China.
Opened in 2021, this modern Cantonese restaurant serves up a traditional menu of small plates, pot rice and steamed bun sandwiches. Hungry for a little more? The five beast board is an Instagrammable family-style feast that feeds 4-6 people and features five rotating main dishes highlighting ingredients like beef rib, dragon steak, pork belly, shrimp and seasonal vegetables. Heads up: The board must be ordered 48 hours in advance. In warmer months, the restaurant’s second-floor dining room opens up to an outdoor rooftop patio that is perfect for post-work cocktails.
Popular among lunchtime visitors, this no-frills spot features made-from-scratch noodles, hand-drawn or shaved, swirled in a rich broth. What happens next is up to each guest. Diners can choose to add different ingredients to their bowl — from vegetarian options like tofu to meaty choices like oxtail, lamb and roast duck.
This spacious restaurant located half a block from Chinatown’s iconic Friendship Gate specializes in dishes from the northwest coast of the Peninsular Malaysia. The best way to enjoy the offerings is to ask your server for advice, as the menu indicates on many dishes. Start with chicken, beef or vegetarian satay (skewers) before moving onto heartier noodle-, meat- and tofu-based entrees.
Where: Penang, 117 N. 10th Street
Find yourself craving a hoagie in Chinatown? Head to QT Vietnamese Sandwich to grab a bahn mi for a delicious take on Philly’s second-most famous sandwich . Made with mayo, pâté, cucumber, pickled carrots cilantro, jalapeño and your choice of protein, these satisfying sandwiches go great with a boba tea or one of many canned Asian drinks on offer. QT also has a food truck in University City.
Coffee might not be in the name, but it’s a big part of the business at Ray’ s. An elaborate slow-drip setup on the counter serves customers in house and to-go. The strong, smooth blend is the perfect cap to any meal here, and is often served with a diner-style cookie.
Sang Kee has been a Philadelphia staple since 1980 and, as the name suggests, Peking duck is the star of the menu. Served half or whole, the boneless duck is also available for takeout or delivery with hoisin sauce and pancakes or buns, and also comes with helpful reheating instructions.
Dim sum, noodles and casseroles round out the offerings at ShangHai-1 , which focuses on Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines. The paneer casseroles are served with beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, frog and other proteins that complement the cheesy base.
Rice noodle soups from Shimiaodao are a great all-weather treat and the platters are both filling and affordable. At the top of the menu, the original crossing bridge rice noodle — served with lamb or sliced beef — is a pork-and-chicken-bone soup with quail egg, ham, marinated chicken wing, ground pork, corn, black fungus, pickled cabbage, chives, scallions, cilantro, tofu skin and lettuce. Whew!
Tai Lake has been filling customers up with Hong Kong-style Cantonese seafood since 1988. Fish tanks greet patrons in the spacious dining room, hinting at what to expect on the menu. Though there are plenty of land-based dishes to enjoy, skipping seafood here would be a mistake. Squid, shark, flounder, lobster, grouper and more are among the offerings.
Where: Tai Lake, 134 N. 10th Street
The hand-drawn noodles at Terakawa fill bowls of Kyushu-style broth at this Japanese restaurant, where the servers are happy to advise on the flavor profile of the broth, which simmers for two days before making its way to your bowl. The signature dish comes with roast pork, bamboo shoots, kikurage mushrooms, red ginger, scallions and a boiled egg. Terakawa’s other Philly location is in University City.
Chef Benny Lai continues the legacy his family established at Vietnam Restaurant in 1984 — a companion to West Philadelphia’s Fu Wah Market and Vietnam Cafe . The restaurant dishes out 10 varieties of vermicelli noodle bowls, protein-based entrees and claypots, and drinks from the upstairs bar, including a selection of Polynesian cocktails.
Come for the sushi, stay for the karaoke. Or vice versa. Whichever order you choose, both are an integral part of the experience at Yakitori Boy . Before or after you belt out your favorite tune (or three), order japas (Japanese tapas) of tempura, teriyaki and sushi dishes, and one of the bar’s specialty cocktails. Feeling adventurous? A sake bomb is sure to loosen up the vocal cords before your performance.