New Mexico: Ming Dynasty
> Location: Albuquerque
The long-running Ming Dynasty claims to be “Albuquerque’s only Authentic Chinese Dim Sum, Szechwan & Cantonese Cuisine Restaurant,” and it’s also the best Chinese restaurant in the entire state. Don’t miss dim sum staples like crystal shrimp har gao, steamed BBQ pork buns, and egg custard tarts, but be sure to save room for hot & spicy fried chicken wings, generous bowls of noodle soups, ma po tofu, and seafood specialties including salt & pepper crab or lobster.
New York: Grand Sichuan
> Location: New York City
New Yorkers in search of real-deal Szechuan cuisine flock to Grand Sichuan, a no-frills restaurant hiding in plain sight in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. All the Szechuan classics are here, from sliced fish with boiling oil soup to double cooked pork, ma po tofu, and spicy cumin beef and lamb. There are also plenty of options for those looking to step outside of their comfort zone, including crispy pig’s intestines and spicy & aromatic pig’s blood. Don’t forget to explore the dessert menu, which includes three varieties of sweet rice balls.
North Carolina: Sister Liu’s Kitchen
> Location: Durham
Looking for dumplings in Durham? Look no further than Sister Liu’s, which is turning out more than a dozen different handmade dumplings, with fillings including pork belly with pickled cabbage, beef with cilantro, shrimp with egg and vegetables, and tofu with mushroom and cabbage. Plenty of Chinese-style “burgers” are on offer too, filled with everything from spicy cumin lamb to honey chicken, and other specialties include a braised pork belly rice bowl, spicy beef shank, and buns filled with spicy pork and mushrooms. Frozen dumplings are available to take home as well.
North Dakota: Shang Hai
> Location: Fargo
Tucked away inside a Fargo strip mall, Shang Hai is keeping the locals happy with a massive variety of dishes both Chinese-American and traditional Chinese. All the classics are represented on the Main Menu, from pu pu platters to Kung Pao chicken to generous combo and lunch platters, but don’t order before asking to look at the Authentic Chinese menu. It’s here you’ll find regional favorites from all over China, including ma po tofu, Szechuan braised fish, beef brisket casserole, and tomato & eggs. Shang Hai is the real deal.
Ohio: Sichuan Bistro
> Location: Mason
The inviting Sichuan Bistro is located in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, and just like its name suggests, there’s an astonishing array of traditional Szechuan dishes on the menu. From Chongqing mala beef and chicken to cumin lamb to red dry chili fish filets mapo tofu to dan dan noodles to stir-fried pork kidneys and livers, there’s no shortage of options for those looking to eschew the sesame chicken and sample the cuisine of China’s Szechuan province. On the other hand, the sesame chicken here is great, too.
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