Thursday, February 17, 2011

Neighborhood Eats: Chinatown

One of the greatest food neighborhoods you can visit in Philly is Chinatown. As its name suggests it is the city's mecca of Chinese food but what the name doesn't tell you is all the other Asian cuisines that Chinatown has to offer. You can also find some of the most delicious Japanese,Vietnamese, and Thai food in the city. So if you're looking for an Asian adventure just head on over to Chinatown, with so many tasty restaurants you almost can't go wrong.

Here are some of my suggestions, if you're feeling overwhelmed:

Q. T. Vietnamese Sandwich

If you've never tried a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich then this is definitely the place for you to go. What is Banh Mi? It's basically a Vietnamese take on a hoagie (Yes, in Philly we call them hoagies, not subs). Q. T.'s is a very small, unassuming little restaurant but it is definitely not one to ignore. Anyone who has tried one of their sandwiches will tell you that it's the place to go for some awesome banh mi. At Q. T.'s there are a variety of different choices in terms of meat or vegetarian options, you can choose anything from Vietnamese ham to lemongrass tofu. After you choose that all you have to do is wait for the delicious sandwich to come to you. The first sandwich I ever got from Q. T.'s was the BBQ pork banh mi (the second time I had the lemongrass chicken which was delicious as well), it was perfectly marinated and cooked pork on a soft yet crunchy roll topped with pickled carrots, crunchy cucumber, spicy jalapenos, and it is finished off with a sprig of refreshing cilantro. The flavors mix together perfectly in your mouth giving you a taste of Vietnam meets Philadelphia hoagie shop. You will not be disappointed and once you try one of their delicious options you will definitely want to go back and try them all, even if you aren't quite sure what "Vietnamese ham" is.

48 N 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Lee How Fook

Lee How Fook is good eats. Go once and you'll definitely want to go back for more. I've been going to Lee How Fook ever since I was a kid and I will keep going for years to come. The restaurant has come a long way since its earlier days when it was a "hole-in-the-wall" kind of place; today it is a flourishing business with loyal customers and newcomers flocking in for a taste. Some of the best dishes there (in my humble opinion) are the wonton soup, General Tso's chicken, ginger scallion fish, and the Peking duck. The wonton soup is different from many others you will find in Chinatown; the wonton wrappers aren't thick and doughy, they are light and tender as is the inner filling of pork and shrimp. The broth is flavorful and the perfect complement to the wontons. The General Tso's is a bit different as well; here it is served perfectly crispy and hot with a sweet and spicy sauce with an unexpected accompaniment of pineapple. If you want to go for a special occasion dish you can't go wrong with either the ginger scallion fish or the Peking duck. The ginger scallion fish is a whole fish cooked perfectly until the meat is moist and flavored with the ginger and scallions, and you can't beat the table-side filleting presentation. The Peking duck is another show stopper, you can order a half or a whole depending on the size of your party, but either way people will be wanting more. The meat is tender and cooked just right. It is served with steamed buns, scallions, and hoisin sauce. You can make a sandwich with the meat or dive right in and go for the drumstick. If you try any of these dishes, you will be hooked on Lee How Fook.

219 North 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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