Squeezed in between Little Italy and the Lower East Side, New York's Chinatown truly is a world of its own. If you meander the downtown streets long enough you will certainly end up here, in this neighborhood that is ever expanding in every way. Here, expect to find NYC's largest Asian community coupled with those kinds of super-seasoned New Yorkers who never leave Manhattan. The near-blinding variety of cuisines, stores and markets matches Chinatown's vibrant cultural spirit. At night, the neighborhood becomes a hub for New Yorkers in the know who populate its bars and trendy restaurants without having to worry about tourists. Here's what to do while you're there.

Eat

Les Enfants de Bohème via Facebook


Kiki's 

Surprisingly, some of the best restaurants in Chinatown are not Chinese. Kiki's, downtown’s most authentic Greek eatery, is located in the center of Chinatown and will be hard to find unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Even the sign outside is in Chinese, so keep your eyes open. Once you walk inside, you'll notice right away that Kiki’s is warm, welcoming and plain delicious. Try the Greek egg toast and the branzino. 

130 Division St., Chinatown. 646-882-7052


 

Les Enfants de Boheme

This neighborhood staple is a go-to for locals who love the cozy feel of a Parisian bistro. Owned by Stefan Jonot, who operated Les Enfants Terribles on Canal Street before it closed three years ago, Les Enfants de Boheme is more low-key but still captures the creative spirit of the area. Swing by on Mondays for $1 oysters.

177 Henry St., Lower East Side/Chinatown. 646-476-4843; lesenfantesdeboheme.com

 

Drink

169 Bar. Photo by *Bitch Cakes* via Flickr


169 Bar

One of the oldest, most quintessential NYC bars also happens to be in one of the last remaining original neighborhoods in the city. Sometimes things don’t change and that’s good for the traveler who searches for real, authentic experiences. This weird, funky spot is oddly decorated, plays a great blend of jazz, soul and hip hop, and stays open very late. It's where to go to meet friends, play pool and chow down on some mac 'n' cheese. 

169 E. Broadway, Chinatown. 212-641-0357 (text only); 169barnyc.com

 

Mr. Fong’s

Tucked away on the corner of Market and Madison Streets, between Asian grocery stores and Chinese takeout joints, Mr. Fong's is a real New York dive bar. While everyone else is focused on craft cocktails and mixology, Mr Fong’s just wants to maintain the feel of old-school New York, which you rarely see in nightlife anymore. The neighborhood’s Asian flavor is still present in some of the menu items, but what makes Mr. Fong’s such a hotspot is its unassuming nature. 

40 Market St., Chinatown. 646-964-4540

 

See

Photo by Mo Riza via Flickr


Doyers Street 

Chinatown’s most iconic street has a bloody past. Once the site for one too many street battles and murder, today this short and sharply curved street is the playground of many movie directors. Here you can find the most authentic Chinese shops and restaurants.


By Jade Moyano

Jade is a Brazilian-born, New York-based writer, traveler and yogi. She writes mainly about culture and travel trends as the Managing Editor of Travel Dose and Culture Correspondent at A Hotel Life. When she's not traveling or writing, she's either scoping global trends, doing sun salutations or actually enjoying Brooklyn. Life is good. Follow her on Instagram.