Behind the Scenes

Culinary Field Notes: Food Meets Culture in Chinatown

This month the culinary team visited NYC’s Chinatown, a densely packed neighborhood known for its intersection of food and culture.

Below, Jennifer En shares the latest from the culinary team’s many food adventures…

Eating is one of the official duties of my job as Plated’s recipe editor, and I happily oblige. Every month I join the Culinary team on a field trip to different NYC enclaves to sample various cuisines—after which, we tour local markets to walk off the inevitable food lethargy. It’s true! We eat copious amounts of food because it’s always on our minds to bring inspiration and ingenuity to the weekly dishes you select. During our most recent adventure, we tasted a smorgasbord of the best Chinese food in the city.

LOCATION

Situated in Lower Manhattan, densely packed Chinatown epitomizes the famously interesting —and awesome—intersection of food and culture in NYC. With an estimated population of roughly 100,000 people, the neighborhood is one of the largest and oldest ethnic Chinese communities outside of Asia. It is cinematically characterized by crowded sidewalks lined with food vendors, sprawling family restaurants, tucked away noodle shops, specialty grocers, quaint bakeries, and streetside calligraphy artists. A tourist epicenter chock-full of colorful souvenirs and affordable eateries, Chinatown perfectly encapsulates the vibrancy of NYC—festively bustling, charmingly diverse, and always delicious.

MUST-ORDER ITEMS

Wo Hop, a cheerily decorated eatery beloved for its unapologetically Americanized Chinese classics (served with spoons and forks). Think generous plates of all the heavy hitters: beef and broccoli, chow fun, sesame chicken, and shrimp fried rice. Duck sauce, please!

Fueled by the deeply flavorful dishes enjoyed along our tasting tour, we’re ready to hunker down to create recipes for warm, fragrant meals that reflect the richness of different culinary traditions. Wherever you live, you can experience the meeting point of food and culture along with us through your menu selections each week. You can certainly look forward to some exciting Chinatown-inspired dinners to come.

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