Philadelphia's 5 best spots to score inexpensive Chinese food

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House. | Photo: Rachel O./Yelp

Looking for a yummy Chinese meal near you?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best affordable Chinese restaurants around Philadelphia, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to meet your needs.

1. Dim Sum Garden

Photo: Michael S./Yelp

Topping the list is Dim Sum Garden. Located at 1020 Race St. in Chinatown, it is the most popular inexpensive Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia, boasting four stars out of 1,884 reviews on Yelp.

Led by a chef that is a descendant of the creator of the first xiao long bao (soup dumpling) in China, according to the eatery's website, it's one of the specialties here. On the menu, dim sum offerings include potstickers, scallion pancakes, red bean cakes, Shanghai pan-fried pork soup dumplings and shrimp dumplings.

Yelper Kaitlin M., who visited the restaurant on Sept. 3, wrote, "By far one of the best spots in Chinatown. We try to go every weekend. This place has us always craving soup dumplings and scallion pancakes. The service is fast and the prices are fair. You will never leave here unsatisfied."

2. Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

Photo: Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House/Yelp

Next up, and also in Chinatown, is Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, situated at 1022 Race St. (It has moved from a previous location not far away.) The restaurant specializes in the pulled noodles that were popularized in the Chinese town of Nan Zhou. You decide whether broad or narrow, thick or thin, and have the noodles served in soups with meat and spices, or as a stir-fry.

Standout menu offerings include the house special meatball noodle soup, the oxtail soup and the Sichuan cold noodles. There are also rice dishes and appetizers like fried fish tofu and pork and chive dumplings. With four stars out of 1,757 reviews on Yelp, it has proven to be a local favorite for those looking for a cheap option.

3. Heung Fa Chun Sweet House

Photo: Mindy H./Yelp

Next, another Chinatown favorite is Heung Fa Chun Sweet House, located at 112 N. 10th St. Yelpers give it 4.5 stars out of 185 reviews.

The small shop offers numerous sweet dishes, from sweet soups to sweet tofu. There are also some typical savory options, like lo mein and steamed buns, plus zongzi, a traditional dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves.

"Cheap prices, great food, fast service," wrote Yelper Jess F. "I would highly recommend the salty tofu. FYI: this place is cash only. It does have two tables and counter seating for eating in."

4. I Tea

Photo: Nataly N./Yelp

I Tea, a tea room and Chinese and Japanese spot in Spring Garden, is another much-loved go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 125 Yelp reviews.

Japanese edamame and gyoza sit aside shumai and scallion pancakes on the appetizer menu. More substantial Chinese dishes include fried rice, Mongolian beef and a black bean stir-fry, while dishes from Thailand, Singapore and Korea also make appearances. Tea comes in many styles, including fruit and bubble teas. Head over to 1537 Spring Garden St. to see for yourself.

5. Ting Wong Restaurant

Photo: Elva L./Yelp

Finally, back in Chinatown, check out Ting Wong Restaurant, which has earned four stars out of 352 reviews on Yelp.

The extensive menu covers Cantonese classics like congee, fried rice, lo mein, noodle soup dishes and more. Especially well-represented are noodles from Hong Kong, including the pan-fried style. Dig in by heading over to 138 N. 10th St. Note that payment is cash only.
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