Whenever I read a best-of list in the national media, I wince internally. They're usually either cobbled together by looking at the Internet and seeing which ones are mentioned most often--which results in a kind of small-scale Zagat guide, prone to the hype machine--or they're put together by people who have not visited very many cities in the United States, which makes the comments section explode with people pissed off that their favorite little place in Minneapolis or Memphis didn't make it.
This is why I was surprised when I read CNNGo's list of the fifty best Chinese restaurants in the United States, which covered a lot of ground and a lot of different genres of Chinese cooking. The list is devoid of places dishing up cornstarchy stir-fries with annoying, inaccurate names; it's heavy on Sichuanese fare, but that's because in many cities, the only Chinese cuisine recognizable to Chinese customers is often Sichuanese.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Los Angeles area has more recommendations than any other city, which makes me wonder how long Clarissa Wei, the New York-based author, has been lurking in the San Gabriel Valley. It runs the gamut from Beijing to Shanghai to Taiwan, reflecting the diversity along the 10 and 60 freeways. I am surprised that there aren't more places along the #7 train in Queens, but I haven't been out there in enough time that it could have turned into LA Chinatown.
If you're looking for our recommendations on great Chinese in OC, just wait a week or two; it's coming soon in our "Best of Best of Best Of!" column--or drop hints in the comments.