Massachusetts: Gourmet Dumpling House
> Location: Boston
Tucked away in Boston’s Chinatown, the unassuming Gourmet Dumpling House attracts crowds for its stellar array of dim sum as well as harder-to-find specialties like ginseng chicken soup, Shanghai-style smoked fish, oyster pancake with gravy and eggs, and sautéed eel with yellow chives. Adventurous diners can sample jellyfish, hot & spicy ox tongue and tripe, and sautéed pig’s blood with leeks.
Michigan: Best China
> Location: Canton
Michiganders in search of the best Chinese food in the state will need to drive halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor, to Best China in Canton. This unassuming restaurant boasts a sprawling menu with a huge array of both traditional and Chinese-American classics. Do as the regulars do and ask for the traditional Chinese menu and you’ll be rewarded with a slew of noodle soups, braised meats, stir-fried meats and vegetables, and specialties including shredded pork pan fried noodle, mapo tofu, and an array of Chinese pastries.
Minnesota: Little Szechuan
> Location: St. Paul
St. Paul’s Little Szechuan can claim to be the only restaurant offering a traditional Szechuan-style hot pot experience in the Twin Cities. Using only the freshest ingredients from local markets, they’re turning out customizable hot pots in countless combinations; guests can choose from eight soup bases ranging from tomato-based to “MaLa & Fresh,” four spice levels, 13 meats from sirloin to crispy pork, 11 types of seafood and 17 types of veggies, and 10 types of tofu and noodles. Special add-ons range from quail eggs to snow crab to pork brain. Get some meat and vegetable skewers on the side and a can of White Gourd (a traditional beverage made with winter melon) to drink, and have yourself a classic Szechuan feast you won’t soon forget.
Mississippi: Mr. Chen’s
> Location: Jackson
Mr. Chen’s is Jackson’s one-stop shop for all things Chinese, as one half of the space is a traditional Chinese food market and the other half is a spectacular restaurant. Traditional hot pots brimming with fresh meats & seafood, roast duck, whole steamed fish with black bean sauce, and artfully plated steamed head-on garlic shrimp are specialties of the house, and must-try appetizers include crystal shrimp dumplings, fried oysters with spicy mayo, and Taiwanese wonton soup.
Missouri: Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant
> Location: St. Louis
Chef Ying Jing Ma plied his trade as a hotel chef before opening his first restaurant, Chef Ma’s, inside a former Taco Bell in 2015. While just about every item on his menu was spot-on, regulars knew to look for a whiteboard full of specials, none more famous than his Hainan-style chicken, velvety bone-in poached chicken with a super-flavorful garlicky dip and rice on the side. The restaurant moved locations earlier this year and Chef Ma passed away in August 2021, but his legacy remains as strong as ever.