Chinatown has long been the frequent for many New Yorkers and tourists. Today, let us venture forth into Chinatown’s off beaten paths. Alleyways, bakeries, backstreets and yes, a store that only sells chopsticks.
1. Yunhoung’s Chopsticks (50 Mott Street, Chinatown)
Chopsticks, chopsticks everywhere! If you love eating with chopsticks (as I do) you’ll find Yunhoung’s to be a peculiar delight. These are not your average chopsticks, but beautiful, hand crafted, decorative gift items. The chopsticks range from around $2- $600 and are made with various materials from bamboo to ox-bone and even seashells. Each chopstick set carries its own captivating design and story, for example “The Four Flowers” chopstick set portrays the different temperaments of a man. For $1.99 you can get a cute plastic bunny or monkey designed chopstick and for $600 you can acquire an ebony mahogany set with German tips. I went to the store expecting to just observe the pieces and ended up purchasing two adorable chopsticks for a friend (she loved them!)
2.Fay Da Bakery (83 Mott St, New York, NY 10013)
Am I cheating by posting this one? Probably. You can find other Fay Da Bakeries outside of Chinatown, but Fay Da is my go to bakery for cheap and delicious Asian sweets and pastries. Tiramisu, mango mousse, Japanese cheesecake -yum! Might I add that Fay Da sells the best coconut bubble tea hands down.
3. Tings Gift shop/Blood Angle (18 Doyers Street, Chinatown)
Tings gift shop is one of the smaller and more obscure stores in Chinatown. Nonetheless, it is a hidden gem indeed. The owner of the store does not sell many items. What makes the store unique is that is the only gift shop in New York City that carries ancient, authentic and antique Chinese souvenirs. If you’re a collector of ancient or traditional Chinese items, check it out.
A few steps away from Tings Gift shop is : dadada – Blood Angle. This cute little section of Chinatown looks like a regular angle, but is it? In the 1930s this angle was the scene of numerous murders stemming from Tong Gang activity. The angle now houses hot pot restaurants and gift shops.
4. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard Street, Chinatown)
Left: Lychee Ice Cream Right: Oreo Chocolate
Well it may not be such a secret, but if you love ice cream then the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a must visit! Black Sesame, Coconut fudge, Zen butter and exotic ice-cream flavors for days!
5. Cortlandt Alley/Mmuseumm (4 Cortlandt Alley, Chinatown)
Like Blood Angle, Cortlandt Alley looks like your run of the mill, creepy, should I really travel down here alley, but it has a significant history. Cortlandt alley was featured in numerous movies such as Gotham, Men in Black 3, and Crocodile Dundee. The alleyway additionally houses a small and unusual museum called Mmuseumm, which operates out of a freight elevator (we keep running into those). It is New York’s tiniest and might I add most unique museum. Mmuseumm does not showcase grand works of art, such as Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” but it displays pieces that have been overlooked or ignored such as the chronology of cornflakes, a chicken egg incubator, and a series of objects from peoples stomachs – their missions statement is posted on the door, “A smart man’s garbage is a foolish man’s fortune & vice versa.” (Mmuseumm is now being remodeled to fit new pieces, they will be reopening in Spring 2017)
6. Fried Dumplings (106 Mosco St, New York, NY 10013)
Five fried dumplings for $1.25 – it really doesn’t get better than that!
What off the beaten spots do you frequent in Chinatown?