Steamed Dumplings, Gang Wars & the Pursuit of the American Dream in Chinatown NYC

New York City

  • The view up Pell St.
  • The staff behind the counter.
  • Black Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls.
  • Mulberry St in 1890. The buildings to the left are where Columbus Park stands now.  From the Museum of the City of New York.
  • Two men play Chinese Chess.
  • Inside these jars are the cures to all of life's ailments.
  • This goddess statue greets you on the way into the store.
  • Ornate chopsticks carved from mahogany and other precious woods.
  • The Quong Yuen Shing store in 1917 (from the National Museum of American History).
  • Samples of Fried Cuttle Fish and Thai's Squid.
  • A view down Doyer Street.
  • The Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
  • The Pelham Cafe.
  • Mock Duck.
  • Durian fruit hanging outside. Most places ban it because it "tastes like heaven, smells like hell."
  • The black truffle xiao long bao.
  • The fu lions guarding the entry to the Mahayana Buddhist Temple.
  • A bite from the dan tat reveals layers of crust and a consistent custard.
  • Behind the counter at Tai Pan Bakery.
  • Pick a bag, any bag. Images of knock-off bags for your choosing.  Photograph by Andrea Morales for The New York Times.

1 hour and 30 minutes
0.8 mi
Guided by Jason
Jason Donahue


Clocking in at over 107,000 residents, dozens of newspapers and hundreds of restaurants, Chinatown is practically its own city within Manhattan. Come discover the best of the hidden alleys, delicious food, exotic markets, cultural shops and sometimes-violent history that has shaped this ever-changing neighborhood.

About Your Guide

I am all about exploring local history, architecture, food and art to learn about how places came to be. You can find me in search of hidden places, tasty dim sum, high-design speakeasies, skyline vistas and other ingredients to build the perfect day.

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Guide Points

  1. Ten Ren Tea Time

    Chinatown started on Mott Street, so it is only fitting that our neighborhood exploration starts here too.

  2. Columbus Park

    Columbus Park serves as the nexus of social life in today's Chinatown.

  3. Sun's Organic Garden

    Lorna Lai's no-frills emporium offers a lot more than just tea. Walls of glass jars feature all sorts of leaves, herbs, dried barks and oth…

  4. Yunhong Chopsticks Shop

    As we walk down Mott St, we'll cross Bayard and find the Yunhong Chopsticks Shop on the east side of the road. As the name implies, this t…

  5. Aji Ichiban

    From 1891 to 2003, this was the site of the Quong Yuen Shing general store. Not just a place to buy Asian groceries, it was also one of th…

  6. The Bloody Angle of Doyers St

    A little red store sits at the eastern intersection with Doyer St at 18 Pell Street. This is Ting's Gift Shop, which is a relic in its own…

  7. Pell St Vice

    Pell St had its own fair share of history and vice. Let's investigate a few of the highlights.

  8. Bayard Meat Market

    A visit to Chinatown would not be complete without visiting a market. Prepare your senses; there can be some pungent odors in the meat dep…

  9. Shanghai Asian Cuisine

    The cooking style that developed in Shanghai starting in the 14th century aimed to celebrate color, aroma and taste.

  10. Mahayana Buddhist Temple

    Why are we crossing all these busy streets? The Mahayana Buddhist Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in Chinatown and also features the…

  11. Tai Pan Bakery

    We near the end our guide with something sweet from one of the busiest bakeries in Chinatown. In a challenge of 43 Chinatown bakeries cond…

  12. TBD Mysterious Secret Handbag Store on Canal Street

    We're not necessarily advocating for this, but since we are in the area, you might just want to take advantage of a certain opportunity if …

About Sidewalk

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The app navigates people through a neighborhood walk using GPS turn-by-turn directions, rich imagery and storytelling.