YOUR GUIDE TO THE 2022 ARMY-NAVY GAME

Chef Joseph Poon’s Tour of Chinatown

October 7, 2022

For over 40 years, Chef Joseph Poon has been an integral part of Chinatown’s culinary scene. During any given trip, the lively and energic Poon can be seen running around the streets on his Wok ‘N Walk Tours of Philadelphia Chinatown showing locals and visitors the best spots in the neighborhood to eat. His enthusiasm and expertise earned him the opportunity to cook at James Beard House and appear on The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the Food Network.

We asked Chef Poon to take us around Chinatown and share his picks for authentic, quick, best bets in Chinatown. Here are his seven picks for the best restaurants in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

1. Yummy Yummy

Yummy - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

A small hidden treasure of Chinatown, Yummy Yummy is known for its Bubble Waffle, a common street food of Hong Kong, voted Best Waffle by Philadelphia Magazine. The stuffed waffle resembles bubble wrap and comes in different flavors from floss pork with seaweed to sweet varieties like toasted coconut with sesame, and chocolate Oreo. Yummy Yummy also offers a variety of hot dishes like noodle rolls with mixed sauces, five spice marinated beef stuffed scallion pancakes, and curry fish balls on a stick.

Address: 52 N. 10th Street  Signature dish: In addition to the Bubble Waffle, another popular dish is the soft tofu with ginger syrup, a common on the go dish with the flavor of warm oatmeal.  

2. Heung Fa Chun Sweet House

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

A small takeout shop, Heung Fa Chun Sweet House has a large selection of Chinese dishes for an affordable price. This Chinatown gem offers stuffed steamed buns, soft warm tofu pudding with ginger or spicy sauce, sweet and savory soups, and a large selection of stuffed sticky rice wrapped in a flat leaf, warm sesame balls with a red bean filling.  

Address: 112 N. 10th Street  Signature dish: For a sweet treat try their Pearl Drink (commonly known in America as Bubble Tea) in either their red bean or Mung bean flavor.

3. Mayflower Bakery

Mayflower Bakery - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

A longstanding staple of Chinatown, Mayflower Bakery is where you will find some of the best pastries in Chinatown for an incredibly affordable price. Head here for a nice selection of buns and cakes, along with Vietnamese Iced Coffee, milk drinks, and bubble teas. Try the moist and flakey coconut bun with coconut filling. The Scallion bun is soft and buttery with ample pieces of green scallion. The pork bun has lightly browned egg wash on top, with rich and flavorful roasted pork on the inside. Visitors should know the seating is very limited and the bakery only takes payments in cash and through Venmo.

Address: 1008 Race Street Signature dish: One of Mayflower Bakery’s most popular pastries is their Egg Tart, a crumbly buttery shell filled with creamy egg custard.

4. Canto House

Canto House - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

Cantonese BBQ, or siu mei, is a method of roasting meats on spits or over an open wood fire.  One of the best Cantonese BBQ spots in Chinatown, Canto House, is known for its selection of BBQ and roasted meats along with a wide selection of soups and noodle dishes. Try the Three Treasures over rice, three meats over rice, typically the roasted duck, roasted pork, and the soy chicken served over white rice with some Chinese greens. Canto House also offers noodle dishes from Beef Lo Mein, Roast Pork Pan Fried Noodles, to Singapore Style Rice Vermicelli. 

Address: 941 Race Street Signature dish: The roasted duck is a must have for anyone with an appetite for flavor. Chef Poon always tells his American friends to make sure they eat the crispy skin — it’s the best part of the meal.

5. Heng Fa Food Market

Heng Fa Food Market - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

A perfect place to pick up a wide selection of low-priced produce, seafood, meats, and dry goods, Heng Fa Food Market is a community staple. The outside of the market has many Asian fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, rambutans, longans, and persimmons (when in season). Inside you will see a case running down the wall filled with many different types of seafood. The meat section includes Black “Silk” chickens, organ meat like liver and tripe, spring chickens, Chinese sausage, and a wide variety of thin sliced meat for making hot pot at home.

Address: 130 N. 10th Street  Signature dish: The basement level of the market has all the nonperishable goods like sauces, packaged snacks, dried noodles, and sweets that are hard to find in America.

6. Asianfresh Food Market

Asianfresh - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

Asianfresh Food Market is a two-story Asian food market started in late 2019 that offers a wide variety of fruits outside including oranges, durian, melons, and leche fruits. Inside is where you can find greens and vegetables. There are tanks full of live seafood and a wide selection of meats to choose from, along with a good supply of hot pot ingredients and cooking tools. 

Address: 142-144 N. 10th Street Signature dish: Asianfresh is one of the best spots in Philadelphia to pick up a fresh variety of seafood. Often the fish you’re buying was caught that morning.

7. Sang Kee Peking Duck House

Sang Kee Peking Duck House - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

Sang Kee Owner and Executive Chef Michael Chow has been perfecting the art of roast duck since the early eighties. Their menu features half and whole options for Sang Kee Style Peking Duck, served with an in-house sauce and other duck fusion foods such as duck rolls and a shredded duck stir fry with green beans.

Address: 238 N. 9th Street Signature dish: Sang Kee Peking Duck House was the first to bring their famous Peking Duck to Philadelphia in 1980. They roast their ducks every day, so you’re always getting a fresh meal.

Other great options in Chinatown include:

Moon Flower House

Moon Flower House - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

One of Chinatowns newest eateries (the other location is in North Philadelphia), Moon Flower House has a chic, modern look to it. The menu features spicy chicken sandwiches, with a choice of white or dark meat, served on a sesame seed bun with shredded lettuce, tomato, and a nice amount of mayo to cool you down if you choose the spicy option. Also on the menu are burgers and fries, along with an extensive menu of snacks from mozzarella sticks and popcorn chicken to Tokoyati Balls, and salt and pepper squid rings for a great price. 

Address: 225 N. 11th Street Signature dish: An American classic with an Asian twist, the Chicken Rice burger is a juicy and fresh chicken patty served on a rice bun.

QT Vietnamese Sandwich

QT Vietnamese Sandwich - Chinatown Tour. Photo by J. Ryan for the PHLCVB.

QT Vietnamese Sandwich is a small Vietnamese sandwich shop that offers Bun Rieu, a rice noodle soup with a tomato broth and ground pork, dried shrimp, crab, onions, cilantro, and egg. The Banh Mi sandwiches come in many varieties from the QT special (BBQ pork and ham), fishball Banh Mi, and lemongrass pork. Unable to get to Chinatown? Stop by their food truck in West Philadelphia to order a taste on the go.

Address: 48 N. 10th Street Signature dish: Bun Rieu is Pho soup’s rebellious cousin. The hidden gem dish is noodled in a tomato broth, made with ground pork, dried shrimp, onions, eggs, crab meat, and cilantro.

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