Chinatown is one of the most colorful and popular neighborhoods within Manhattan. It is packed with loads of street shopping spots, filled with mouthwatering smells and has an interesting mix of people, some of which still do not speak English. It's quite easy to get lost in Chinatown, but if you know the right places, you will be able to see some hidden gems you won't find anywhere in NYC.
Vanessa’s Dumpling House
Vanessa's Dumpling House is one of the most iconic fastfood spots in Chinatown. Getting more and more popular over the years, this old joint has opened new branches in Williamsburg and in Union Square, however it's Chinatown Vanessa's that keeps prices at the lowest. Order some dumplings and a sesame pancake, which will cost you $5 max.
Named in its owner's name, Procell is a small shop where you will find one of the best selections of the 90s vintage clothing: authentic Wu Tang и 2Pac T-shirts, rare Polo Ralph Lauren items as well as old DKNY, Moschino и Versace clothes. The shop is frequented by celebs like Drake, Cara Delevingne and their stylists. Procell himself collaborates with Opening Ceremony, V-files и Supreme.
Hong Kong Supermarket
Hong Kong Supermarket may not seem particularly big on the outside, however, this two-storey building has pretty anything you can imagine: fresh coconuts, exotic fruits, weird Chinese sweets, incence sticks, fresh fish and spices. In fact, all that stuff is sold in large amounts right in the streets of Chinatown, however, the prices are way lower.
Mahayana Temple Buddhist Association
Mahayana Temple is a large Buddhist temple located in Canal St. It is one of the most peaceful places in Chinatown where you can get away from the overall bustle of Chinatown. It is set in the quietest part of the crazy Canal St. The temple is even calmer inside, with a large Buddha statue and some people meditating. By the way, the place has not always been that holy - the building used to house an adult movie theatre till the mid 1990s.
Super Taste is a tiny restaurant that boasts great homemade noodles, with pasta dough made right on the spot. The place's highlights are duck soup and lamp soup. As for the noodle, they are cooked 'al dente' and the meat is chopped in small thin pieces.
Doyers St. is very short, winding and packed with loads of cafes, shops and hair salons that have been here for dozens of years. Drop in Ting's Gift Shop - in the 1950s it was often inspected by the police who suspected its owners of heroin smuggling. Nowadays it's all quiet though the street is still nicknamed "Bloody Corner" for the massacre of criminal gangs in the early 20th century.
Chinatown Fair Arcade
Chinatown Fair Arcade is one of the few NYC gambling halls that has survived throughout the years. The place has undergone some renovations: a couple of years ago the arcade closed for maintenance and many old machines were changed for new ones. It has a Fruit Ninja, a traditional machine with a metal hand you try to get a toy with, races and other funny things - time will pass quickly even with new videogames.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Apart from all time classics like chocolate cookies, pistachio and strawberry, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has some Asian flavors - green tea, sesame&peanut, red bean or black sesame. If it's hard to choose, ask for a spoon to try and listen to your tastebuds.
Unique Hype Collection
Unique Hype Collection offers rare sneakers, Supreme caps, T-Shirtes dearly loved by streetfashion fans and Kawz toys. The prices are way above average: you should be a real aficionado to pay $500 for a pair of Nike shoes. However, you should definitely check it out because of the atmosphere: the half-empty Elizabeth Center, Chinese toys, washing machines, souveniers... You go down the escalator and suddenly see people selling exclusive clothes.