South Dakota: Golden Dragon
> Location: Spearfish
When the residents of Spearfish, a small city located just up the road from Deadwood, are in the mood for well-made Chinese-American classics, they order from Golden Dragon. Regulars rave about the kung pao beef, shrimp and pea pods, fried wontons, and cashew chicken.
Tennessee: Lucky Bamboo China Bistro
> Location: Nashville
Nashville’s elegant and spacious Lucky Bamboo is dishing up authentic dim sum and Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine in the heart of Nashville. Regulars start their meal with appetizers including thin-sliced pork belly with spicy garlic sauce, wontons in chili oil, and xiao long bao (“soup dumplings”), then flip over to the “Chef Recommended” section and dig into crispy Chongqing spicy chicken, honey walnut shrimp, and Hong Kong-style BBQ roast pork and duck. Arrive at lunchtime on the weekends and you can indulge in an array of dim sum, including steamed BBQ pork buns, shrimp rice crêpes, sticky rice in lotus leaf, and chicken feet with black bean sauce.
Texas: Shanghai Restaurant
> Location: Houston
Shanghainese and Cantonese specialties are the stars of the show at Shanghai, located in Houston’s Chinatown. Salted toasted spare ribs, stir-fried chicken with ginger and scallion, salt & pepper duck tongue, pan-fried noodles, brisket stew, congee, and clay pot specials are all worth seeking out. Be sure to get some hot chrysanthemum tea to drink.
Utah: Red Maple Chinese Restaurant
> Location: Salt Lake City
With its traditional red and gold color scheme, high ceilings, and exposed wood beams, Red Maple is a perfect spot for a traditional Chinese meal or banquet. Dim sum standards like steamed BBQ pork buns, siu mai, and turnip cakes are available at any time day or night, and special four-course dinners for two are available for less than 40 bucks (pre-set family dinners for up to 10 people are also available). Take a dive into the “Authentic Chinese Food” section of the menu and you’ll be rewarded with dishes like beef stew in Macau-style curry, deep-fried seafood in spicy XO sauce, deep-fried crispy chicken, and sizzling pork chops in black pepper sauce.
Vermont: A Single Pebble
> Location: Burlington
A Single Pebble isn’t just Burlington’s best Chinese restaurant; it’s one of its best restaurants, period. Taipei-born chef/owner Chiuho Sampson’s menu is full of dishes that have become local legends, including her mock eel (made with crispy shiitake mushrooms and hailed by Alton Brown on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”), BBQ hanging pork, crispy beef wontons, and Ants Climbing a Tree (cellophane noodles tossed with a minced pork and mushroom sauce). Can’t decide? Opt for the nine-course family-style tasting menu.
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