We’re on Grand Street, on the northern edge of Chinatown, and our first stop is going to be this Malaysian beef jerky place that’s right around the corner from me. We’re walking east toward The Bowery. My brother really likes this place. He’s always reading about new cultural things, articles about new restaurants in the area. I get a lot of my recommendations from him.
Malaysian Beef Jerky: 95A Elizabeth Street
Parisi: 198 Mott Street
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: 65 Bayard Street
Haagen-Dazs: 77 Bayard Street
Williamsburg Pizza: 277 Broome Street
Round K: 99 Allen Street
Chinatown YMCA: 273 Bowery
Di Palo’s: 200 Grand Street
So the Malaysian Beef Jerky place has ovens right in their storefront, so you can see them grilling the meats all day. Its kinda a little sweet. My brother gets the spicy beef turkey. My one thing about this as a snack is that its sticky, so I can’t sit at my computer or read while I’m eating it. To me non-stickiness is a really important quality to snack food (laughs). It’s the same reason why I don’t like potato chips. Anyway, but this place grills all the essential meats: pork, chicken, and beef.
I’ve lived in Chinatown a little over four years, which is hard to believe. Time flies. It’s a very convenient neighborhood. There are three or four train lines just a five minute walk from my apartment. I can get on the subway get most anywhere I want to be within 30 minutes.
FOOD FOR CHEAP
There are tons of cheap options in Chinatown for good Chinese food, but I think I ate so much of it when I first moved in that I got sick of it (laughs). If you want other cheap options, there really aren’t many. We’re only a couple of blocks away from SoHo where restaurants can be overpriced. But there is a good Italian place on Mott called Parisi that has great sandwiches. You just have to be careful to not eat them too slowly, else they’ll get soggy.
I really like walking around the Lower East Side and The Bowery. Sometime about this place is just cool. There’s a lot of graffiti, good looking people, and speakeasies. That’s very much the vibe. It’s a visually interesting place.
ON THE BEST ICE CREAM
A lot of people like the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. But down the block from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a local establishment (laughs) called Haagen-Dazs. I think it is a local establishment because it’s run by people from the neighborhood. And if you consider them a global brand that’s fine because they deserve to be a global brand (laughs). They’re just that good. But here’s the thing, if you want interesting flavors like durian, go to the Ice Cream Factory. But for me, my favorite flavors are coffee and vanilla, and that is what Haagen Dazs is for. Besides, I used to come here a lot of when I was kid with my parents. My parents would always take us here for ice cream whenever we’d come into the city for dim sum.
GEMS ON ALLEN STREET
We’re now approaching Allen Street, there’s a lot of good stuff on Allen. This pizza place is really good. It’s called Williamsburg Pizza which used to confuse me, but now I assume it’s a branch of a place that started in Williamsburg. Otherwise its a peculiar name. It’s a little expensive but their pizza is good.
There’s also this coffee shop I really like, called Round K. It has a little black flag on the outside. It used to be empty when I first started going, and I liked that about it. But now its very popular. I saw Aziz Ansari here once. Inside it’s pretty dim, which I like. The coffee is good, the tea is good. You can spend a lot of time here and be left alone. It looks pretty small, but there’s a space hidden behind a curtain that has more tables. The owner is a really nice guy, who I sometimes see at the bars around here. I guess he lives here too.
THE LOCAL Y
I go to the Chinatown YMCA, they have really good yoga classes there. I recently started doing yoga. I used to play tennis a lot, but that’s difficult to do in New York unless you go to Roosevelt Island. Yoga is a much easier exercise, and it’s good for your posture. And I’m glad its near my apartment, otherwise I’d never go.
THE CITY’S BEST CHEESE
This place is amazing: Di Palo’s. Everything about is just good, I don’t know how to describe it. They’re the best for cheese, and salami, things like that. Every time I tell people I live across the street from it, they tell me it’s their go to place for cheese, no matter where in the city they live.
DISCOVERING NEW PLACES
I really like Yelp, especially if I’m in a new neighborhood. Of course, recommendations from other people supercede Yelp, if I have them. If I’m in your neighborhood and I need a lunch spot I’ll text you first. What I really like about Yelp is that its condensed. I can scroll past twenty things in a minute that fit my search, but I can’t walk by those same twenty places in a minute.
The LES is full of restaurants that are mostly good. I think New Yorkers in general have good food taste. So bad places, or places that are not as good, usually don’t last. Restaurants are so competitive that the decisions about which restaurants stay or go is pretty democratic. Longevity of a restaurant is a pretty good predictor of quality.
Have a #blockshot you'd like to share? DM us on Instagram @theblock.blog or leave a comment below. Talk soon!