Asian Food Uptown
BREAKING NEWS: I’m an Asian woman! And if that’s shocking, get this: I love Asian food! I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in before I get into my favorite places to get Asian food in Washington Heights.
I’m not saying that being Taiwanese makes me the authority on Asian cuisine, but let’s be real. That place you call Chinatown? To me it’s just town (unless you’re also Asian, in which case: hayyyy) and that should count for something.
For thoses who are in the Heights and crave to switch up your menu, here’s my I-can’t-help-but-always-go-to-Asian-restaurants restaurant guide.
MY GO-TO THAI PLACE
Tung-Thong is great for both eat-in and delivery. They offer quality Thai-style dishes at reasonable prices (the $8 lunch special with soup and salad is simply bomb). Their Pad See Ew and Short Ribs Massaman have a special place in my heart, and the Drunken Noodle, Green Curry, and Spicy Thai Fried Rice pack the heat I need to break a good sweat without working out.
One thing I insist you to try is the dish that the restaurant is named after. “Tung Thong” is a dish of crispy golden bags filled with ground chicken and shrimp. They are basically mini bankers bags with contents that are tastier than cash. I know because my roommate gets three orders and calls that dinner. Try it now and you can thank me later.
Drop by or check out their menu online. This cozy place is no secret to locals and packs up quickly during prime lunch and dinner hours. Hurry up and get there or get square!
MY GO-TO JAPANESE PLACE
Japanese Ramen Shop
I’m in the mood for something soupy but also chewy but also Japanese! Has this ever happened to you? If that’s a real struggle for you, get to know Tampopo, bro bro. Tampopo is the new(ish) spot in the neighborhood serving Tokyo wavy-style noodles. Their open kitchen pairs dinner with a show - fresh ingredients sizzle and steam into a feast for your eyes, then your stomach and your soul.
Pictured above: The reason you’ll never be able to eat microwave-ramen again.
I’m not here to simply talk about their classic and perfected shio, miso, and shoyu ramen. For those who live on the edge, enter the Dragon Ramen! If you are a spice buff who loves a sweaty-forehead, another glass of water please, why-do-I-love-the-burn type burns then you need to try this liquid fire. It’s habanero spicy miso ramen topped with heaven spice chili blend and jalapeño. It won’t matter whether you choose pork, chicken, or shiitake mushroom, you will end the meal questioning what has gotten into you. You say you won’t get it again, but you, me, and your taste buds know better ;)
MY GO-TO KOREAN PLACE
Gogo-Gi’s tiny storefront doesn’t mean you should miss out on its Korean-style cooking, it just makes this place best for take-out and delivery. On a tight but deal-packed menu, it’s the Korean-Style fried chicken that’s most important. Take one bite and you’ll be asking yourself -how can something be so saucy yet so crispy? Despite a generous amount of soy garlic or spicy sauce (and everything I know about physics) it’s the chicken’s ability to maintain its crisp that keeps this Korean-style eatery unreplicated in the Heights.
You like lightly seasoned, airy confections? This place ain’t it, pal. However, if you like your pork spicy and full of flavor – absolutely perfect in texture and served piping hot – Gogo-Gi might be up your alley.
When Gogo-Gi’s menu marks its item as spicy you best believe it. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I am definitely a spice fanatic. My mom always says when I cried as a baby the only thing that would get me quiet was a warmed up bottle of sriracha. What are you waiting for? Have your chocolate milk ready and dig in!
MY GO-TO AMERICAN-CHINESE PLACE
Hua Yung Kitchen
I’m not going to lie. I can easily crank out a whole new blog dedicated to Washington Heights’ (American) Chinese food. However, I want to highlight Hua Yung Kitchen because this little gem gets overlooked amongst other nearby storefronts.
The place only has two tables but their delivery is always cheap and made right. They are such pros I’ve been able to order for my whole apartment in under sixty seconds. That’s what I call a hotline! Based on how quickly the deliveries arrive (in torrential downpour or snow storm), there’s a good chance they strictly hire Olympic sprinters to handle the task.
The portions are always generous and the menu is so ridiculously large it reminds you that sky's the limit. If you want to be bad and have some fried wings and French fries, go crazy. Freshly sliced eggplants and shrimps stir fried with garlic sauce? Go crazy. My favorite chicken lo mein with extra vegetables? Go crazy. Not for nothing, my real name is actually Wendy Lo Mein. If you’re looking for American Chinese food that fulfills a good-type of bad (or sometimes bad-type of good), look no further than Hua Yung. If the owners likesyou, they may gift you a Chinese pageant calendar in addition to a free can of soda!
Now that you’ve read all about my favorite Asian restaurants in Washington Heights, it’s time to eat something! At least that’s what I’m doing next, and I hope you do too!