5 Places to Visit in Chinatown

Chinatown is one of my favorite places to visit in Manhattan. It’s cheap, there’s so many cool things to do, and the food is delicious. After numerous visits to the neighborhood, here’s some places to check out next time you head down.

Aji Ichiban

The first time I ever visited New York, my friends and I (on a high school band trip at that time) wandered into Aji Ichiban just to browse what types of goods it had. We were amazed by the amount of Asian candies that were packed into the small store space. Since that moment, Aji Ichiban has remained a place of nostalgia for me. I’ll stroll in from time to time to buy some hard candies or chocolate that I’ve never tried before. If you’re looking for some Asian candy, snacks, or other goodies, this is the place to go for cheap, good treats.

Keki’s Modern Cakes

Jumping onto the Internet craze, Keki’s is serving up wiggly Japanese style cheesecakes in a variety of flavors. From the Original cheesecake flavor to Green Tea and Ube (my personal favorite), these cakes are so light and fluffy for a perfect after dinner treat. They also sell other pastries like creme puffs and cheese tarts for those who don’t want to buy a whole cheesecake. Grab a box (or two) to go!

Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center

Try saying that name three times fast. The Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center is an arcade full of retro and modern video games for anyone to play. From the outside, the place looks unassuming, but when you walk in, you’re greeted with various flashing lights and flooded with a cacophony of different video game sounds. There’s almost always a wait for DDR or it’s Korean counterpart Pump It Up, but there’s tons of other video games such as Mario Kart, air hockey, and a console with retro favorites like Mortal Kombat and Pacman.

Joe’s Shanghai

Perhaps the most iconic restaurant in Chinatown is Joe’s Shanghai. While there’s often a wait (they don’t take reservations) this restaurant is definitely worth baring the line for. Their famous soup dumplings are brought to you piping hot and gushing with flavor, literally. They also serve up many different dishes family style and with extremely generous portions. Be sure to go with a group and get there a little before you actually want to eat. The wait can sometimes be up to an hour or longer.

Canal Street Market

A foodie’s dream, Canal Street Market houses multiple vendors serving up a variety of different food such as on the go dim sum, ramen, kakigori (Japanese shaved ice), and bubble tea. Next to the food hall is a room housing local vendors selling crafts such as clothing, artwork, and other assorted goods. For all heavy Instagrammers, this is also a great place to take pictures. Head to this space for the aesthetic, food, homemade knick-knacks, or all of the above.

Now that the weather is getting nicer, be sure to hop on the train down to Chinatown and check out these places if you haven’t been to any of them!

Images: 2 and 3 taken by author. 1/4/5