Authentic Chinese Food Near NYU

The Lunar New Year is almost over, but these restaurants will be around for a while.

Spicy chili soup from Szechuan Mountain House (Photos by Teresa Zhang)

Spicy chili soup from Szechuan Mountain House (Photos by Teresa Zhang)

By Teresa Zhang, Contributing Writer

Whether you are a food lover looking for authentic Chinese cuisine or a student seeking comfort food from home, these five restaurants near NYU will immediately transport you to China.

South of the Clouds
16 W. Eighth St.

If you’re looking for something to warm you up during one of the coldest months of the year, South of the Clouds is the perfect place. The restaurant’s signature Yunnan Crossing Bridge rice noodles ($18) are a must-try. The chicken broth for the rice noodle is cooked for four hours, and it is served with nine other ingredients, including beef, pork, fish and tofu skin. Its rich ingredients give it a light yet flavorful taste. Together with the smooth rice noodles, the dish warms you up immediately.

“The broth is rich and delicious, and the rice noodles are so chewy,” Steinhardt first-year Amy Peng said. Peng eats at South of Clouds once a week.

Her favorite dish is the Little Pot Rice Noodle ($15), which offers a stronger and richer flavor than the Yunnan Crossing Bridge noodles.

Golden Unicorn
18 E. Broadway

Who doesn’t crave dim sum on a weekend morning? Golden Unicorn, located in Chinatown, offers some of the best dim sum in the city in a traditional Cantonese setting. You get to choose what goes on your plate from the multiple small carts traveling around the restaurant. Featured dim sum includes piglet buns with egg custards, siu mai with shrimps and egg tarts for a reasonable price. This place is packed with people on weekends, so be ready to wait around 40 minutes to get a table. The dishes are definitely worth the time you spend in line.

China Blue
135 Watts St.

The ambiance and decoration of China Blue are reminiscent of a wealthy family’s house in 1930s Shanghai. The tableware is as delicate as the food. The restaurant offers signature Shanghainese dishes like osmanthus lotus root, Yan Du Xian and rice cakes with salted duck egg and shrimp. Yan Du Xian ($19) — a soup with fresh and cured pork, bamboo shoots, bok choy and tofu skin — is a staple for Shanghainese families. It can be a good appetizer or an excellent wrap to the meal.

“I come all the way from Brooklyn just for this,” said William Lin, a Tandon senior originally from Shanghai. “The food is a little bit greasy compared to what I have back home, but I can say that it [is] one of the best in the States.”

LaoMa Spicy
58 E. Eighth St.

Walking on Eighth Street, you can trace an aromatic smell to LaoMa Spicy, a Chinese restaurant that specializes in dry pot. Dry pot is a popular dish in China that is usually served spicy. At LaoMa Spicy, you get to pick what you want in the dry pot, from meat and vegetables to seafood. Some of the most popular options are sliced beef, beef tripe and enokitake mushrooms. You can also select your own spice level ranging from mild to very spicy. The dry pots are all $16 or less.

Szechuan Mountain House
23 St. Marks Place

Szechuan Mountain House is a Chinese restaurant that serves authentic spicy food from Szechuan, China. Most dishes are bright red, covered in dry chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns. They taste just as hot as they look.

“The spice they use here is very authentic,” said Tina Tu, a Steinhardt senior originally from Szechuan. “It’s a full flavor, and it tastes like what I would eat back home.”

The signature dishes include water-boiling fish, blood curd, tripe and ham in spicy soup ($23.95) and braised frog with spicy chili broth ($26.95). Be prepared to stand in line, though; the wait time is about an hour during dinner time and they don’t take reservations.

A version of this article appears in the Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, print edition. Email Teresa Zhang at [email protected]