- Cantonese House - a great spot to go on the weekend for dim sum. In Rochester, this is the best dim sum joint and usually gets just crowded enough to take on the exciting and magnetic spirit of a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown. The venue is also great for large banquets and parties if you're looking for a place to hold a traditional Chinese banquet. Try the deep fried cuttlefish at dim sum and the Hong Kong style pan-fried noodles with seafood. Delicious!
- SEA Restaurant - my favorite pho joint. This used to be a hidden gem a few years ago, but has recently gained popularity as more people realize how amazing it is! But don't worry, it hasn't lost anything in taste or quality as its popularity increases. I love this place because their pho is really well made and authentic. In addition, service is always great and it is very well priced. My favorite thing to order here is the brisket and rare steak pho.
- Yummy Garden Hot Pot - I love hot pot and I was absolutely overjoyed when a hot pot restaurant opened up in Rochester. Hot pot here is always a hit with any crowd and the flavor profile of the broth here is incredibly deep. The only word I can think of to describe the taste of the chicken broth is "umami" and I think that speaks louder than any other description. Try the Herbal Chicken Pot with the Seafood Combo.
Although I grew up on the East Coast, all of my extended family lives on the West Coast, so I spent much of my childhood vacationing in Los Angeles and San Diego to visit with my relatives. Los Angeles has been dubbed the world's first "ethnoburb" which is a relatively new geographical concept, so allow me to explain. In it's most simple form, an ethnoburb is a suburb that has both residential and business areas mixed within it and that features the large presence of a particular ethnic minority. In Los Angeles, many large suburbs within the San Gabriel Valley like Arcadia, Pasadena and Monterey Park, fit perfectly into the "ethnoburb" model where the residential and business areas are dominated by many Chinese immigrants. My family lives within this area, so I spent many summers and Christmases in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Over time, I became familiar with the many delicious places to eat and eventually gained a taste for my favorite joints. Here are some of the best in my opinion:
- Mandarin Noodle Deli: This restaurant makes food unlike anything I've ever tasted before. I visited this place for the first time probably about 10 years ago now and since then, this place is my number 1 place to visit when I'm in L.A. This is a family owned business and the owners are super friendly. My family has gotten to know them relatively well over the years and they never fail to treat us very well. Sometimes, they even bring out a surprise dish on the house for us to try. It's really hard for me to pick my favorites off of their menu so you should try it all if you have a chance, but get started with their green onion pancake beef rolls, cold cucumber salad, and pan fried dumplings. Scrumptious!
- China Islamic Restaurant: Have you ever had Chinese Halal food? Well now you can! This is a very unique and interesting restaurant as it serves Chinese food that abides by Halal dietary restrictions. You won't find any pork on the menu here and the meats are butchered according to religious specifications. All of that aside though, this fusion restaurant is delicious and has been a long-time favorite among my family, especially my grandfather. This specific restaurant specializes in northern Chinese food. So, you'll want to try the sesame bread and the lamb stew.
- The Boiling Crab: This is the only chain on this list, but that should speak to how much I like this restaurant. This seafood restaurant's claim to fame is how they make steam their crab legs. They toss your seafood inside a bag with a whole slew of cajun spices and then steam your meal directly in the same bag. This leads to a hot meal that is bursting with flavor. As a precursory warning, if you go, get ready to get dirty! This restaurant is no joke. I like the Dungeness crab legs with all of the spices with corn and fries.
- Remlik's: I ate at Remlik's for the first time with my family because I found a groupon online and I wanted to try it out with the people I love. This restaurant was an instant hit with my family and I! The food here is upscale and the dining atmosphere is extremely pleasant. And, since it's an oyster bar, there are tons of great seafood options on the menu. Since our first visit, I've been back almost every time my family has visited Binghamton for the weekend. My favorites are the carrot ginger soup, the Chilean sea bass, and the beef on weck. Fun fact, Remlik's is "Kilmer" spelled backwards, which is the name of the building in which this restaurant is located.
- The Old Union Hotel: I only recently discovered this restaurant, but what a discovery it has been! I first heard about this place from friends who told me that their wings were the best in town. Like a fool, I put off visiting this restaurant for a whole semester, telling myself that the wings probably weren't that good...boy was I wrong! Since my first visit, I've been to this restaurant almost weekly because their wings are only $.50 on Mondays! I love this place because their wings are perfectly cooked and crispy and there's 10 different sauces to choose from. My favorite though is the medium, which is just spicy enough to give you a kick without killing you. Also, their eggplant fries are incredible for a side!
- Tom and Marty's: So this isn't really a restaurant, but this is my favorite bar in Binghamton that also serves some kick-ass bar food. Tom and Marty's is well known among the students in Binghamton. The owners, alumni of Binghamton themselves, cater directly to the students. Prices are great and they have tons of game nights where you can win free food and drink while enjoying a fun night with friends. If you ever visit, go with a group of friends and split a beer tower with a plate of nachos, some wings, and a couple of baskets of fries.