So I moved (close) to NYC half a year ago and although during college I’ve been to the Big Apple quite a few times, I haven’t got a change to hunt down places with decent Asian food (I said decent cause, u know, it’s the States, not Asia). I pretty much take my friends to the places listed below and they’ve been pretty satisfied so far with the list. This was gather through various friends’ recommendations along with my own personal experience. I normally talk about those as “best <something> in NY”:
1. Poomes Frites (near St Mark Pl and 2nd Ave): This place is crowded most of the time and it’s at a really good location (St Mark – NYU, right close to Baoguette). It’s actually not French Fries but Belgian Fries and serves up to 25 different kinds of sauces, 1 of which I always order (that’s right, Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo cause… u know why)
2. Baoguette Cafe (St Mark & 2nd Ave): Also pretty popular although the sandwiches are just a lil over priced but they’re actually good. I normally grab the Classic and Sloppy Bao. They’re also cool w/ u bringing outside food in so get some Pommes Frites close by!!!
3. Oh! Taisho (also St Mark between 2nd and 3rd Ave): They got plum wine. Actually all the Jpnese restaurants close by have plum wine but this is the 1st place I get plum wine from so credit to that. They have the Party Set (packed w/ meat, my favorite) and decent Takoyaki
4.Saint Alps Dessert (9th Street and 3rd Ave): This place has my favorite bubble-tea-but-tastes-like-sugar-cane-juice. Lol their green tea toast is also decent and it’s in the same area as the other 3.
Moving up to KTown:
5. H-Mart (32nd Street and Broadway, near Herald Square): Not a restaurant but u can get almost any type of Korean food here (Kimchi, Jajjangmyun, Galbi…). I normally take a sweep here every weekend to restock my fridge. My friend from DC goes nuts every time she comes here lol
6. Kunjip (32nd Street KTown): This place is ridiculously crowded most of the time. It has really good Korean BBQ but keep in mind, your clothes will smell. If u don’t wanna get Korean BBQ (Bibimbap or sth like that), don’t waste ur time lining up, u can get those anywhere else.
7. Pocha (same street): This place looks kinda sketchy on the outside cause it’s a tiny staircase up. The inside is also kinda tiny but this reminds of Korean street bars I saw in those dramas. They have really good watermelon Soju, casserole and the stuffed squid thingy…
The portions are HUGE!!! Unfortunately it’s not very cheap (still average in KTown) so…
Down to Chinatown! Keep in mind that you definitely need cash down here!!!
8. Jing Fong (Elizabeth Str & Canal Str): Best dim sum in NY, always crowded and winds down at around 1pm or so. They only serve dim sum from like 11am – 3:30pm but by 1pm everything is almost gone so come early!! Speaking Cantonese is a huge plus here.
9. Thai Son (Baxter Str & Canal Str): This is a typical Vietnamese restaurant with pho and everything, also very reasonably priced. I always got pho Xe Lua cause it’s easy and decent here. For some reasons my friends said Pho Co Ba is better and I honestly think that place is tiny, overpriced and the portion is too small. It got a better atmosphere but hell, I come to eat.
10. Pho Bang (Mott Str & Grand Str): Everything here is pretty much on par with Thai Son/Nam Son except for their Bun Cha Hanoi. Its actually decent!! However the waiters have the habit of slapping the receipt right after they deliver your food which annoys me a lil bit.
11. Cong Ly Restaurant (Hester Str & Chrystie Str): This place got CHAO LONG!!! I was impressed, really!! I just tried it today and it’s actually gooood!!! Also, chao long and bubble tea don’t mix… Learned it the hard way >.<
12. X.O Kitchen (Elizabeth Str & Hester Str): If you’re here, get the Congee and Fried Dough (quay) ONLY!!! The fried dough and congee portion are pretty big (2 is enuf for like 4 ppl) so don’t underestimate those.
13. Banh My Saigon (Mott Str & Grand Str): This place has the best Banh My IMO but it’s like in the back of a jewelry store so it gets a bit tricky to find. Also very cheap for its value!!
14. Tao pho (Grand Str & Bowery Str): I always get tao pho (tofu fa) from this one old woman’s shop at the corner of Grand Str & Bowery cause it’s like super cheap for a huge portion ($2.5). The thing is the shop closes pretty early so by the time I get out of my office to get there, she already closes >.<
Scattered around NY:
15. Shakeshack (23rd Str & Madison Ave): Don’t even try to come here during lunchtime, it’s impossible. The line is ALWAYS ridiculously long, even in the winter. Best burger in NY!!
16. Menkui tei (56th Str & 5th): Really good and cheap ramen!! They got alcohol from the store next door though which is kinda weird. I haven’t tried Ippudo cause the line is always damn long but my Japanese friend recommended this place!
17. Kyotofu (48th Str & 9th Ave): This place has really good dessert although a bit overpriced and the service is slow. Their signature sweet tofu is the best. The atmosphere is also very suitable to bring a date (which I have none T_T)
Jump over Hudson River to New Jersey:
18. Pho Thanh Hoai (Newark Ave, JC): This place is right close by so I come here for my Vietnamese food craze for a while. Things here are decent and cheap enough that I’d soooo rather get this than Chinese food.
19. Mitsuwa (Edgewater): Not a restaurant but a huge Japanese marketplace that has a bunch of ramen shops and dessert inside, along with grocery shopping. They have, guess what, PLUM WINE and LYCHEE SAKE here. Def my 2 favorite alcoholic drinks 🙂 They also got grilled eel and sushi and bento and a bunch of other really good Asian stuff!!