Ideal for an escapist trip to look forward to when we’re allowed out again.

Depending on who you believe, it might be 15 days, 3 weeks, 12 months or any other number plucked from the sky rather than scientists, before we see the outside world again. When we are finally freed, we’ll be seeing the world with newly appreciative, grateful (and responsible) eyes. New York’s Chinatown has everything you want from a fantasy foray; culture, energy, fascinating history and a great cuisine…with that in mind, here are 7 IDEAL things to do in Chinatown, New York.

HAVE A BUN FOR BREAKFAST 

What rhymes with Bao? Wow – and that’s what you’ll be declaring when you take a bite of a pork bun from Mei Li Wah Bakery. Offering arguably the best, freshest baked roast pork buns (otherwise known as char sui bao) in the area, these guys are fluffy, golden and filled with tender pieces of marinated pork; a bite of this sweet yet savoury treat is the perfect way to start your day in Chinatown.

ATTEND A SHEN YU PERFORMANCE 

To explore the heritage of this great country, we’d highly recommend attending a Shen Yun performance at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. This classical Chinese music company is established in New York, and the center offers a dazzling artistic revival and celebration of China’s vibrant cultural heritage going through 5,000 years of history. Each performance explores folk dances, legends, dynasties, and philosophical works. 

MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA 

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a non-profit collection of items, artifacts and exhibits celebrating the history and cultural legacy of the Chinese in America. It’s a fascinating insight into the positive impact of each community on the other and well worth a visit.

Sadly, a fire in early 2020 devastated the museum, but recent good news has declared fewer pieces were lost than originally feared. Once the museum (and international borders) have reopened, this place deserves your support.

VISIT THE MAHAYANA TEMPLE 

The Mahayana Temple is the largest Chinese Buddhist temple in the city and the oldest on the eastern coast of the United States. Here you can attend services entirely in Mandarin or simply enjoy the serenity of the place. And we could all do with a little soothing right now, hey?

It’s an extraordinary chance to broaden your knowledge of Chinese culture and architecture and a vital part of the community, too. When the world is once again open for business, we’ll be heading here to realign our perspective of what’s important. 

DIG INTO SOME DIM SUM AT JIM FONGS 

It’s probably time for lunch, right? Well, you’ve come to the right place; this third generation Chinese restaurant has been dishing out dim sum since 1978, and continue to do so with the same no-nonsense, flavour focused approach that earned Jim Fong’s their reputation over the decades. Fashioned with great care, their dim sum is delicate and light, and as such, queues start forming here in the morning. The restaurant uses numbered tickets; get yours.

SNACK ON SWEETS AT AJI ICHIBAN & THE CHINATOWN ICE CREAM FACTORY

If you’re still hungry, then firstly, fear not; you’re in the right place. Secondly, Chinese desserts are gorgeous, and abundant here. Head to Aji Ichiban (found in Hong Kong and now found all over the world) for a vast selection of Asian snacks. Their sweets section is particularly exciting.

And if your sweet tooth still isn’t satiated, then the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory will have you covered. One of the oldest businesses in the district, the flavours are exotic and intriguing; we can’t get enough of their lychee number. Just so refreshing. 

BUY SOME KNOCK OFFS & KNICK-KNACKS FROM CANAL STREET

Watches, handbags, jewellery…if you’re after a bargain, it’s to Canal Street you should head. Though much of the stuff being sold here is knock off or counterfeit, if you have confidence in your bartering skills, you’re bound to find some superb deals here. And anyway, when the dust settles on this crisis, capitalism, brands and all that BS needs a rethink anyway, right? Who cares if it’s genuine or not? 

SLURP ON SOME SOUP DUMPLINGS 

That haggling can be an exhausting business, and you’ve earned your dinner. End your day out in New York’s Chinatown at Joe’s Shanghai, an absolute institution in the city. Their soup dumplings, in particular, are legendary and we can confirm also absolutely goddamn lovelu. Just mind your tongue; it’s hot inside those delicious, doughy parcels.