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Is "New York Chinese Food" any different than other Chinese food in the US?

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Several months ago I had a discussion on XBL with a friend who lives in New York. I asked him what he liked about living there and he said the food was amazing. He said the Chinese food in NY was great.

So I replied: "Isn't Chinese food the same everywhere?"

I mean I've been to many Chinese restaurants and they are all basically the same. Some a little bit different than others but basically identical.

He said I haven't had NY Chinese. He said it is much different. Is this true? How so?


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Is he talking about eating in Chinatown, or just any place in NYC? I've been told that the food in Chinatown, Boston is authentic, and I think it's good. I can't see why it would be very different from food from Chinatown, NY. But yes, it is very different from the Americanized Chinese food you get elsewhere.

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You'll probably get good Chinese food anywhere there are first/second generation Chinese immigrants.

I once had a conversation with a New Yorker about how amazing the dim sum was in Alhambra, which is about 10 miles east of downtown LA with a huge population of fairly recent Chinese arrivals. Having lived in Hong Kong I think I'm a pretty good judge of whether it was good. He insisted it "wasn't as good" as the Chinese food in NYC, even though he had never been to China or Alhambra, because of course everything is better in NYC including the quality of Chinese immigrant cooks.


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You'll probably get good Chinese food anywhere there are first/second generation Chinese immigrants.

I once had a conversation with a New Yorker about how amazing the dim sum was in Alhambra, which is about 10 miles east of downtown LA with a huge population of fairly recent Chinese arrivals. Having lived in Hong Kong I think I'm a pretty good judge of whether it was good. He insisted it "wasn't as good" as the Chinese food in NYC, even though he had never been to China or Alhambra, because of course everything is better in NYC including the quality of Chinese immigrant cooks.

Seriously, check out Elite in Monterey Park. Their dim sum is INSANE, and better than the stuff I had in London, which was pretty awesome.

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I see this in reviews I read all the time- people will say, oh this place gets 4 stars in Portland, but when compared to what's available in San Francisco or Vancouver bc it'd only be 2 or 3 stars.

I get annoyed listening to California transplants in portland whining that none of the Mexican places are "authentic" enough for them either. Like the mexicans who prepare this food are somehow less Mexican because they live further.

north? I've ate at plenty of places in Mexico, which would seem to be as authentic as hell since it's actually like, in

Mexico, that tasted a whole lot crappier than plenty of places I've ate at here, so there's clearly more to the equation than authenticity.


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My chinese wife can hardly find any good chinese food in this country.Too americanized. That said a friend was in a chinese chain wokery and in the kitchen a few asian cooks worked and all the rest were hispanics.


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I've only tried a couple Chinese places in NYC (none in Chinatown) but they were categorically more expensive, had smaller portions, and the food was worse than in any other place I have eaten Chinese food (except for one really bad Chinese place in Macedon, NY that had cool furniture and bad food). And I'm not sure if the style of Chinese food that permeates is "Americanized" but the food that is served in Russia as Chinese is more or less the same. The best Chinese food I have had was in Seattle.

As far as "good" Chinese food, I feel the need to make the distinction that it need not be "authentic." I can understand why an immigrant from China might look for food similar to that served in China. But I just look for food that tastes good in its own right. Further, I find the whole notion of one type of "authentic" Chinese food actually existing as ignorant. China is a big place with lots of cooks and presumably lots of food preparation styles. There isn't one type of "authentic" Chinese.

Also, it's been my experience that most "Chinese" restaurants (at least in the US and Russia) that isn't a chain is owned and operated by first generation Chinese immigrants (basing this completely on accents).

Edited by SMR

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