New York’s Chinatown with Kids

As you know, we’ve been “traveling” the world via our international night on (some) Sunday evenings — pretending to visit a country by cooking some of its popular dishes. We wanted to encourage the kids to be more adventurous with their tastes and it gives us an opportunity to talk about other cultures and the pleasures of travel. (Listen, we’re trying here, people, we’re trying.)

We’ve been to Italy (a mini-disaster involving eggplant) and England (the kids gave Shepherd’s Pie a lukewarm reception, but the moms enjoyed the comfort food.)

We’ve wanted to “go” to China, too, but since we live in New York and have easy access to Chinatown, we decided to go for a midday visit rather than commit to an entire dinner at home. We’ve made plans to head out twice with the promise of pork buns and dumplings, but each time a kid woke up with a stomach bug. A sign?

We decided to ignore it and forge ahead. When no one woke up sick this past Sunday morning, it was all, Chinatown, here we come!

dragon in Chinatown

mini cakes in Chinatown

Though I’m sure we will on future visits, we didn’t do the Museum of Chinese in America or a Buddhist temple — this trip was all about sights, sounds, and snacks.

We got a little direction from TimeOut New York Kids and trekked off to the subway, MetroCards in hand. (For further inspiration on Chinatown and much more, check out The Cool Parents’ Guide to All of New York by our fabulous friends Helen and Alfred.)

First stop, once we popped up out of the subway, was soft and sweet, warm mini-cakes bought on the street. Despite the fact that there were 15 in the bag, there was still an argument over who would get the last one. Settled easily enough by giving it to a mommy.

We wandered, we gawked at the fun and freaky produce (what *is* half of that stuff?), at the fish mongers, at shiny chickens and ducks hanging in windows, at the street vendors. Jasper: “Mommy, why does that man want you to buy a purse?” We wound around tiny Doyers Street. We snacked. We shopped.

Tasty Dumpling — Dumplings were high on the agenda and this was our primo destination. We ordered half a dozen fried chive and pork and eight steamed veggie. Despite much dumpling talk in advance of our visit, the kids weren’t actually all that psyched when faced with eating them. Magnolia peeked inside a veggie and declined to taste; Jasper obligingly tried one of each and then declared that he would never, ever eat dumplings again. Oh, well. Take note, though: the dumplings are freaking delicious and you will want to eat every one placed in front of you.

Fay Da BakeryPork buns were up next, so we headed here and ordered one steamed, two baked, and a hot dog bun for good measure. These were much more of a hit with the kids — they both gobbled up a few bites of everything and we all enjoyed looking at the impressive cases full of unfamiliar-to-us treats, buns, breads, rolls, cakes, and more.

Time for some silly souvenir hunting.

chinatown produce


And these are.... I have absolutely no idea what.

pork bun at Fay Da Bakery

Mmmm...Pork Buns at Fay Da Bakery

Tasty Dumpling

Steamed Veggie Dumplings from Tasty Dumpling

Yunhong Chopstick Shop — We stumbled on this bright, colorful shop and picked up some training chopsticks for the kids that are different than the ones we already have at home. They come in pink, blue, and yellow — the top is shaped like a bunny — and are ten bucks a pop, but worth it for the cuteness factor (the ears move!).

While Chrissy looked for ways to feed her bento lunchbox obsession in a housewares store (she found some), the kids marveled at all of the different kinds of Chinese candy and picked out some pencil sharpeners to take home.

Bonus: We happened on some young Chinese boys doing “dragon practice” with a big, parade-worthy dragon “puppet” overhead. Cool! Free entertainment.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory — Even though it was chilly out, we felt obligated to try some of the famous frozen treats here. There are plenty of unusual flavors to choose from — avocado or wasabi, anyone? — but our crew went for various takes on chocolate. (Or at least the kids did — moms were still stuffed from dumpling consumption. Next trip: we’re sampling the ginger, wild blueberry, or zen butter (toasted sesame seeds with peanut butter.))

Yunhong Chopsticks

training chopsticks

Chop, chop!

Chinatown candy

dragon practice in Chinatown

And, not that we needed them, but because there’s a bakery around every corner here, we bought some small butter cookies for the ride home — you know, to keep little hands busy.

All in all, a tasty day.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

ice cream in Chinatown


5 Responses to “New York’s Chinatown with Kids”

  1. 1 PAT PARKINSON November 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Wonderful idea!! Food, fun & cultural education for the all.

  2. 2 Paula/adhocmom November 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Fab! I just had an amazing dinner in Brooklyn’s china town. Well, June refused to eat anything at all, and had a huge tantrum, so, um, that was less than ideal, but the food was amazing.

  3. 3 Melisa November 10, 2010 at 11:39 am

    oooh, where’d you go, Paula? i’d love to check out someplace closer to home….

  4. 4 Ellen November 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Way to take advantage of this great city of ours! Walking around Chinatown is fun for me, I can’t imagine what your kids were thinking. Look forward to doing more of this kind of stuff as my daughter grows. I like the “International Night” idea!

  1. 1 This Week’s Cool Parenting Blog Posts | The Culture Mom Trackback on November 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm

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