Unlike San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles, Phoenix doesn’t have a distinct Chinatown. We do, however, have our fair share of authentic Chinese restaurants peppered throughout the Valley that satisfy even the most discerning palates for Chinese cuisine.
From dumplings and pork buns, to hand-pulled noodles and crispy fried egg rolls, these Phoenix restaurants blend culinary traditions of China’s regions, giving us a true taste of this beloved cuisine.
While the central Phoenix dining scene has exploded over the last several years, the tried-and-true, been-there-from-the-beginning restaurants are still going strong. Case in point: China Chili, a long-time favorite with locals thanks to an impressive menu of delicious appetizers, soups, fried rice and noodles.
The main dishes, however, are what make the restaurant shine, particularly the seafood offerings, which are plentiful. Choose from the hot spicy Sichuan prawns; salt and pepper calamari; green mussels in black bean sauce; or the head-turning Seafood in Crispy Nest, featuring prawns, calamari, scallops and greens sautéed in a light wine sauce and served in a crispy nest.
302 E. Flower St., Phoenix
As any Chinese food lover knows, a cuisine staple is Peking duck. Crispy and intensely flavorful with a crackly, golden brown skin, the dish hails from Beijing and has been served since the Imperial Era.
In north Phoenix, Super Dragon pays homage to this beloved dish with its own version that’s roasted until the skin is amber and crispy and the meat is succulent and juicy. It’s served with Chinese crepes, scallions and plum sauce. For chicken lovers, the restaurant also serves a Cantonese crispy chicken, marinated in Chinese spices and deep fried until golden brown.
1212 E. Northern Ave., Phoenix
In west Phoenix, the place to go for authentic Chinese food is Wong’s Chinese Cuisine. Open since 1993, the family-owned restaurant serves all your favorites, along with its fair share of standouts.
Start with the spicy wonton soup, a kicked-up version of the Chinese favorite. Then work your way through the menu with the flounder in black bean sauce, featuring tender pieces of fish in a flavorful sauce stir-fried with bell peppers, onions and scallions; the Mei Li Shrimp, Wong’s version of honey walnut shrimp; and the Ma Po tofu, soft tofu and shredded pork with Chinese spicy bean curd.
10540 W. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Don’t be fooled by its suburban strip mall location. Nee House is the real deal when it comes to Chinese cuisine, especially live seafood. Whole crabs and lobsters are baked or steamed, then finished off with a special sauce such as ginger and green onion, black bean spicy salt and pepper, or XO sauce.
Don’t make the trek to this north Phoenix spot without trying the baked crab in Kowloon style. Chopped pieces of tender crab meat are battered and deep fried, and topped with minced garlic and served with dried chiles and jalapenos.
13843 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
If you’ve traveled along Indian School Road in east Phoenix, you’ve probably driven past the orange and green neon sign that glows “Hong Kong Restaurant” in the night sky.
Owned by chef Jian Yu—who took over the restaurant in 2005 and added “New” to the name—the restaurant specializes in Cantonese cuisine, serving such authentic dishes as clay pots filled with beef flank and daikon; pork congee with preserved duck egg; and Chinese flower mushrooms with vegetables. For those with less adventurous palates, New Hong Kong offers an American-style menu with soups, fried rice, lo mein and main dishes.
2328 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
While heaping plates of noodles, fried rice and egg rolls are a welcome sight when dining at a Chinese restaurant, so, too, are the dim sum carts that snake their way through the dining room, depositing small, yet tasty appetizers to tables of hungry diners.
One of the few restaurants in Phoenix to offer dim sum daily, Great Wall serves a wide variety, from shrimp dumplings and shu mai, to spareribs, pork buns and chicken feet. For soup lovers, the restaurant has two unique and authentic offerings, the house special shark fin soup, and a crabmeat with fish maw soup.
3446 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
If you’ve ever needed an excuse to ride Phoenix’s light rail, a trip to Mekong Plaza in Mesa is it. The closest thing to Chinatown the Valley has, the plaza is home to a variety of markets, restaurants and shops showcasing the rich and diverse Asian community that has grown over the years.
For truly authentic Chinese cuisine, dine at Mekong Palace Restaurant, where you’ll discover everything from dim sum, to live seafood, to whole roasted pig. The restaurant also offers chef specials, which have included braised duck with special taishan sauce hotpot; egg tofu with house abalone sauce; and garlic crispy pork spare rib.
66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa
There’s nothing more satisfying than Chinese takeout. Whether you’re having a few friends over for dinner, or chilling solo in front of the tube on a Friday night, when those little white cartons filled with piping hot comfort food arrives at the door, it’s sheer joy. Taking Chinese takeout to the next level is King Wong, who delivers to a wide swath of east Phoenix.
There’s plenty to choose from, but for the most bang for your buck, order the Wong’s Dinner, complete with your choice of soup, two appetizers and at least two entrees, including Spicy Wong’s Chicken, Wong’s Happy Family, and house lo mein.
2547 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
5219 S. 7th St, Phoenix