Chinatown, New York is Holiday Goddess Editor Karen Moline’s $5.50 lunch location of choice.  And her young son loves the cool, cut-price shopping too. Story: Holiday Goddess Editors.

Chinatown Bargains

You go to New York for the bagels and the Manhattan madness, right? Actually, a lot of New York locals would disagree with your choice. For them, Chinatown is the real New York, in a funky, downtown way. And if your travel budget just dipped below $50 a day, then this is the place for you. The slippers are a great alternative to your white, terry-towelling hotel room freebies (and you’ll have money left over for lunch).

If you really love Chinese food then head to the home of the cult $1 dumpling takeaway – Prosperity Dumpling. It may be a hole-in-the-wall but there is a reason why so many women queue up to buy five chive and pork dumplings for a dollar.

Prosperity Dumpling has no website, like most Chinatown eateries, but it does have a solid fan base on the cult travel website Yelp. Read the (nearly) 900 glowing reviews here.


The legendary Tings

Not keen on dumplings? Even the delicate, tiny, fried kind? Chinatown is still a wonderful place to wander, in the morning, then settle in for lunch. Don’t miss the Fuleen Restaurant. It’s hard to think of any other restaurant in New York that could have won rave reviews in a Michelin guide, Zagat or Time Out, with a fixed-price $5.50 lunch menu.

Some of the dishes on the menu at the Fuleen Restaurant not make much sense to you – it might even have you pulling a face – but try, try, try. Fillet Seabass with Loofah is not some new delight from The Body Shop. It is apparently rather delicious. If you are with small children, though, they may want to try the jellyfish. Just for fun. Fuleen Seafood Restaurant is at 11 Division Street.

If you are one of those women who love their own bowl of fresh fruit in a hotel room, come to Chinatown for the biggest, freshest, most fascinating range of fruit in New York. Everything is plump and shiny, laid out for your perusal.

How to begin your morning wander in Chinatown? Take the subway to either Grand Street or Canal Street and just follow the crowds.


Remember landmarks as you go, to find your way back. The shop with the smiling golden pig in the window. The statue of Confucius. The extraordinary green Chinese slippers (the kind you know you’d like to put on a shelf somewhere, even if you don’t wear them).

Chinatown is full of alternative enticements. Foot rubs and shoulder massages. Pretty paper lanterns which squash flat in your suitcase – perfect for a summer garden party on your return. And best of all, if you have children with you, the white plastic buckets full of frogs and miniature turtles. To be purchased, then eaten, by the locals.

It’s all enough to make you long for a good cup of tea. And in New York (so deprived of tea) this is the place to come.

It might seem ironic that the Chinese should be selling the best teabags in America, but Ten Ren is the place to come. While you are here, take a tiny china cup to sample the more unusual teas, free. The black teabags sold at Ten Ren are great for your hotel room, or nice to take back. Ten Ren is at 75 Mott Street between Bayard Street and Canal Street.

Finally, if you have never been to a Buddhist Temple, try the Mahayana Temple Buddhist Association at 133 Canal Street, between Chrystie Street and Forsyth Street. The glittering gold Buddhist statues inside are remarkable. And for a $1 donation in the slot, you can take home a tiny rolled-up scroll of parchment, with a Buddhist blessing.

Read more about Chinatown, New York in The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to Paris, London, New York and Rome.

Holiday Goddess Editors

About Holiday Goddess Editors

Holiday Goddess. Travel for Less.