Alabama: Mr. Chen Chinese Restaurant
> Location: Birmingham
Mr. Chen has all the Chinese-American classics like General Tso’s chicken and egg foo young down pat, but its real specialty is authentic Chinese dishes like beef stew in hot pot, whole fish in black bean sauce, and mapo tofu; the adventurous can even order crispy intestines and basil pig feet. (There are also a few traditional Korean dishes on offer.)
Alaska: Charlie’s Bakery and Chinese Cuisine
> Location: Anchorage
Charlie’s isn’t just a great Chinese restaurant; it’s also one of Anchorage’s best bakeries. This frequent “Best of Alaska” winner in the Anchorage Daily News is beloved for its wide variety of dim sum, including jewel-like har gao and several varieties of housemade shu mai, but their cakes, breads, and traditional Chinese pastries like egg tarts are worthy of renown all their own.
Arizona: China Magic Noodle House
> Location: Chandler
Guests at this unassuming Chandler restaurant are in for a show, as five varieties of Lanzhou-style noodles are hand-pulled in full view. They’re put to good use in dishes like noodles with roast pork sauce and braised noodles with sesame paste. Appetizers like Hong Kong-style deep fried buns and Fuzhou-style fish ball soup are a great way to start the meal.
Arkansas: Szechuan House
> Location: Springdale
The warm and welcoming Szechuan House in Springdale covers all the bases, from a generous weekday lunch special to specialties like smoked duck, noodles with spicy minced pork sauce, and even sautéed pig kidneys. Those looking for a true taste of regional Chinese cooking can opt for a variety of hot pots and pickled pepper dishes.
California: Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Rosemead
Tucked away in Rosemead, an L.A. County city with a growing Asian population, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant is a sprawling gem that commands long waits on the weekends for its stellar array of dim sum; the regulars rave about their truffle shu mai, salted egg yolk buns, turnip cakes, and BBQ pork buns, with salted caramel sponge cake for dessert. There is also, not surprisingly, an array of fresh seafood dishes.