NYC's 5 top spots for Chinese fare with duck, dumplings and more

In search of a new favorite Chinese spot?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Chinese restaurants around New York City, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to venture when cravings strike.

1. Joe's Shanghai

Photo: Hieu H./Yelp

Topping the list is Joe's Shanghai, an eatery famous for its steamed soup dumplings with five other outposts in NYC and Japan. Located at 9 Pell St. (between Doyers Street and Bowery) in Chinatown, the Shanghainese spot is the most popular Chinese restaurant in New York City, boasting four stars out of 5,072 reviews on Yelp.

Yelp reviewer Amanda L. raves about the large pork soup dumplings, which she says are "fresh, juicy and have the perfect texture inside and out." For a taste of what to expect, other menu standouts include scallion pancakes, fish head casserole and crispy half duck seasoned with pepper. A destination for tourists, Joe's Shanghai often requires a wait for one of its communal tables.

2. Buddakan

Photo: Buddakan/Yelp

Next up is Chelsea's Buddakan, situated at 75 Ninth Ave. (between 15th and 16th streets). With four stars out of 3,386 reviews on Yelp, the stunning Chinese and Asian fusion restaurant has proven to be a local favorite. Marrying "the serenity of Asia with the flamboyance of 16th-century Paris," per its website, Buddakan is ornately decorated with chandeliers providing dim lighting and a grand staircase leading to the second-floor lounge and bar.

House specialties include whole Peking duck, lemon lobster with red chili and white soy lemon butter, sizzling short rib and several dim sum options like the edamame or oxtail dumplings. Buddakan also offers cocktails with an Asian twist like the Tranquility (Belvedere vodka, lemongrass-infused oolong tea and lemon juice) or the nonalcoholic Shine (pineapple, yuzu and coconut).

3. Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

Photo: Lei C./Yelp

Flushing's Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao, located at 38-12 Prince St., is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the eatery four stars out of 2,891 reviews.

The casual soup dumpling destination makes it easy for customers to order, with a laminated menu featuring pictures of each dish. Try the crab and pork dumplings, spicy beef and tripe, or the rice cake with shredded pork and preserved mustard. Yelp reviewer Galaxy C., who says she's traveled across Asia, insists Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao makes "the best soup dumplings I've ever had in my life."

4. Wah Fung No. 1

Photo: Steven S./Yelp

Wah Fung No. 1 in Chinatown is another much-loved go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 949 Yelp reviews. Head over to 79 Chrystie St. (between Grand and Hester streets) to see why there's often a line of local residents waiting outside the takeout joint.

Ordering is simple: select your meat and a freshly carved mound of roasted pork, duck or chicken will come served atop a bed of cabbage with rice or noodles. And the price can't be beat at the cash-only spot, with the surprisingly hefty small going for $4.

5. Vanessa's Dumpling House

Photo: Deanna T./Yelp

Finally, there's Vanessa's Dumpling House, which has earned four stars out of 2,232 reviews on Yelp. You can find the chain's original dumpling spot at 118A Eldridge St. (at Broome Street) in Chinatown, with other locations in Williamsburg and Union Square.

On the menu, options include pan-fried or boiled dumplings, sesame pancake sandwiches stuffed with Peking duck, kimchi or roasted pork, plus several soups and noodle dishes. Wash down your meal with a fruit smoothie or bubble tea. The family-run eatery also sells frozen dumplings for those who want to have the Beijing-style treats on hand at all times.