Chinatown, the mecca of food and culture in any major city. In Philadelphia, the stately red Friendship Gate on Arch and 10th Streets marks the entrance to a community of bakeries, boba shops, restaurants, curio shops, and more. Stepping into Chinatown is an immersion into the vibrant, bustling epicenter of Chinese culture, and all of this is located right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
To walk into Asia Crafts is to walk into Saniro heaven. This cozy shop is tucked near a smattering of bakeries and bistros on 10th Street, and the inside is covered in tangy shades of pastels reminiscent to the milky bubble tea you can get nearby. A wall of Hello Kitty plushies greets you when you first walk in, and further back you can find Rilakkuma, Doraemon, and Pikkachu as well, but your selection isn’t limited to the warm and fuzzy. Despite the compact storefront, Asia Crafts carries an impressive selection of stationary, clothing, and foodstuffs, from Hi–Chews to pocky sticks. Whether you’re interested in finding a sweet gift for a friend or you’re hoping to rediscover that delicious candy you tried a long time ago, head to Asia Crafts to satisfy all your Saniro needs.
TL;DR: Hello Kitty and friends are just one reason to visit this store.
Location: 124 N 10th St.
Mon–Sun: 10: 30 a.m.–9 p.m.
Price Range: $$
Chinatown has no shortage of eateries, but Ting Wong is the underrated option when you’re looking for cheap, delicious Chinese food—as long as you’re okay with the no-frills interior and the roast ducks hanging in the windows. Service here is fast, which also means they’ll expect you to order fast, but when your giant (and the servings here are very generous), steaming plate of Cantonese food comes streaming out of the kitchen, you’ll be thankful. The menu here features dishes for almost every palate, but the carb dishes here are a real standout, from toasty noodle soups to gossamer rice noodles. Meat–lovers, try the pepper beef Hong Kong style noodles for a crispy twist to your usual lo–mein. Vegetarians, make sure to order the snow pea leaves with garlic for a fresh, yet filling, entree. And the best part? You’ll probably spend less than $20, with tip.
TL;DR: Come here for fast service and carb–loading.
Location: 138 N 10th St.
Mon–Sun: 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
Price Range: $
After dinner—even if you’re stuffed—make sure to check out KC’s Pastries, where you can gorge yourself on a variety of savory and sweet options. The scent of freshly baked bread immediately greets you when you walk inside, where two rows of baked delicacies wink out at you behind plastic display cases. Tray in hand, you can meander through the store and curate a variety of goods to take home, from fluffy egg tarts with flaky crusts to beef buns with slightly spicy meat fillings—you’ll be salivating by the time you finally reach the counter to pay.
TL;DR: Sugar, spice, and everything nice at this Chinatown bakery.
Location: 109 N 10th St.
Mon–Sun: 8 a.m.–6: 30 p.m.
Price Range: $
Inside Mr. Wish, everywhere you look is bright green. Green counters, green walls, green aprons, green everything. Mr. Wish prides itself on being fresh, specializing in both bubble tea and fruit tea. In fact, it is the #1 fruit tea franchise in Taiwan and has its USA headquarters located here in Philly. For the fruit lovers out there, go for the Wish Special Fruit Tea. It combines four kinds of fruits and juices for a refreshing blend of tropical flavor. If you want to customize your tea, Mr. Wish offers traditional Taiwanese toppings like aiyu jelly, aloe, and coconut jelly that can be difficult to find elsewhere. For your boba fix, get the Pearl Milk Tea. The tapioca balls were fresh and the tea definitely overpowered the milk. Although they don’t have the popping boba, they do have matcha and oolong milk teas that are next on my list of things to try here.
TL;DR: Get all your boba wishes granted at this bright green storefront.
Location: 216 N 10th St.
Mon–Fri: 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Price Range: $