Okay, so we don't have a Chinatown in this city. But that doesn't mean you can't find delicious and authentic Chinese food in Phoenix. You just have to know where to look. Some of the city's best Cantonese restaurants might be hiding right in plain sight and if you're on the hunt for some harder to find cuisines (Dongbei cai, anyone?), we might have some of those for you, too.
Good fortune is shining. Here are the best Chinese restaurants in Phoenix.
Chengdu Delight Cuisine
One of the latest additions to our small but swelling Chinese food scene is a Sichuan-style spot called Chengdu Delight Chinese Cuisine. In hindsight, it seems a shame that it took this long for a restaurant with “Chengdu” in its name to make its way to the Valley. The capital city of Sichuan province, Chengdu is pretty much synonymous with the region’s polyglot, peppercorn-laced cuisine, a regional style that has lately conquered the food world — eaters from around the world fly to southwest China expressly to study and savor the complex, palate-tingling flavors of Sichuan-style cooking. There is no wrong way to order, but the essential dish at Chengdu Delight may well be the hot pot, which, like Japanese shabu-shabu or fondue, is communal and generally a crowd-pleaser. This is a Sichuan staple, a dish that revolves around a scarlet-colored chile broth that bubbles and froths from a chafing dish like liquid-hot magma.
Asian Fusion Cafe
The Hong Kong-style diner holds a dear place in the hearts of those who have lived or eaten extensively in that city. These fast, cheap restaurants serve a blend of Cantonese and Western dishes, which can be somewhat surprising to those who haven't dined in this type of restaurant before. You'll find traditional Cantonese rice and noodle dishes next to interpretations of Western classics, including spaghetti with meat sauce and rice or a club sandwich served with a side of fries. Asian Fusion Cafe offers all of that plus a selection of Sichuan dishes. And while not everything on the more than 100-dish-long menu is worth a try, this is definitely a destination for a few hard-to-find items. We suggest you begin with the scallion pancakes.
If you know where to look it's not hard to find good Chinese food in the Valley. But finding another place that serves northeastern Chinese cuisine like Chou's Kitchen in Chandler? Well, good luck — unless you're talking about Chou's newer location in Tempe. This humble restaurant has plenty to offer on its menu of unique Dongbei Cai delights and specializes in doughy dumplings. We like to start with an order of the xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings. Chou's version offer a delicate wrapper that holds in a flavorful meat filling and a mouthful of precious juices. Continue your meal with a bubbling hot pot or an order of the cold noodles, an spicy dish that's actually served at room temperature.
China Magic Noodle House
It's true, many people come to China Magic Noodle House for the show. But that doesn't mean that the food — noodles and non-noodle dishes included — isn't top-notch. At this Chandler restaurant, you'll watch as the talented chefs stretch and sling and toss and chop fresh dough into noodle form before it arrives at your table. You can choose from five types of noodles to be served in soups, fried, or smothered in sauces. We particularly enjoy the shaved noodles, which are hand-cut from a piece of noodle dough. The thick, short noodles make for a perfect foundation for the saucy dishes.
New Hong Kong
If you drive down Indian School Road, it's hard to miss the giant neon sign that reads, "Hong Kong Restaurant," and advertises an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. But don't let the old-school appearance fool you: this Central Phoenix spot is a go-to spot for top-quality Cantonese cuisine. The family-run New Hong Kong comes courtesy of Chinese chef Jian Yu and has both an American menu and a Chinese one. Smart diners will make sure they order off the latter. That's where you'll find authentic options like flavor-packed hot pots, pigs' feet, and more. Less adventurous diners can opt for knockout dishes including the black pepper beef, salt and pepper pork, and West Lake soup.
There's arguably no sweeter family in the Chinese takeout game than the one that runs King Wong. While we love supporting their family business, the restaurant's absolutely gigantic delivery area, cheap deals, and monster portions don't hurt either. Twice-cooked pork, which just means double the tasty breading, is a favorite for lazy nights in, and one entrée-size order once made three filling meals for us. Call in your order and pick it up, or, if you live pretty much anywhere in East Phoenix, including parts of downtown and Arcadia, you can just have them bring it to your door.
For those who live in the north Phoenix neighborhood around Nee House, this restaurant is a blessing. Amid chains and fast food, this spot offers a solid menu of Chinese cuisine with a few remarkably good and authentic dishes blended in. You can definitely get your fix of Americanized dishes here, but skip them if you're feeling adventurous and go for something from the sea. The restaurant offers everything from sea cucumber to whole lobsters, which will be plucked from the tanks at the back of the dining room and prepared however you wish. Talk about fresh.
Asian Cafe Express
Asian Café Express is an institution of legit Hong Kong-style cuisine in Phoenix. If you're one of those naysayers that say you can't find it in the Valley, just simmer down and go to this restaurant off Main Street and Dobson in Mesa. There you'll find a bible-like menu of different dishes and dinner combo options, but don't be scared. Just crack open the big old menu and point at pretty much anything, you're sure to get the best of the best. For soup lovers, though, you absolutely have to try the preserved pickle and shredded pork soup with ho fun noodles. The fatty, decadent broth, hunks of pork, and thin noodles are pretty much the key to happiness.
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Great Wall Cuisine
Do you know how we know Great Wall Cuisine has authentic dim sum? They have chicken feet. And even better yet, they're delicious. The rest of the dim sum spread is also impressive, with towering piles of noodles, crispy egg rolls, and dumplings of all varieties. The restaurant attracts a pretty large Sunday morning crowd, so definitely be prepared to wait — or go on Saturday when there are fewer people. The restaurant's regular dinner and lunch services are worthwhile too, with a giant menu of a la carte dishes from Americanized favorites to more authentic fare.
House of Egg Roll
Since a change of ownership, House of Egg Roll in Chandler has gone from being just another neighborhood Chinese restaurant to being a don't-miss destination for Chinese food lovers. The restaurant specializes in food from northwestern China, drawing from the spicy flavors of the Sichuan province, but throwing in more meat and more vinegar for flavors unlike those found at any other Chinese restaurant in town. Start with the dumplings in sour soup for a dish that's bright with cilantro but also rich with seaweed and tiny shrimp. The Biang Biang are also easy to like and feature long ribbons of fresh noodles served with bean sprouts, green beans, and succulent shredded pork.