Chinese Restaurants

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35,424 Chinese Restaurants currently listed on Restaurantji

How Many Chinese Restaurants Are There in the US?

Over 36,000 Chinese restaurants exist in the United States according to Restaurantji. More than a third of restaurants (37,3%) are located in just four states – California (13,8%), New York (10,7%), Texas (6,8%), and Florida (6%). The states with the least amount of Chinese restaurants are South Dakota, Wyoming, and North Dakota – they only have 150 restaurants combined.

A vast majority of Chinese restaurants in the US are reasonably priced - over 34,000 of them (95,3%) are in the $ to $$ price range. The largest Chinese food chain in the US is Panda Express, with over 2300 locations across the county. This is nearly 6% of all Chinese restaurants and 75% of all Chinese restaurant chains. P.F. Chang's, Pei Wei, and Hibachi Grill are among other known Chinese restaurant chains.

How Chinese Food Became Popular in the US?

It all started in 1849 in San Francisco, California, where the first known US Chinese restaurant - Canton Restaurant - opened. Chinese food places across California were called "chow chow houses" and became popular because of their taste and low prices. During the 1920s, chop suey restaurants were seen as a cool way for Californians to spend an evening out — despite the fact chop suey wasn't real Chinese food. It was invented in America by Chinese immigrants, and means, funny enough, something like "leftovers."

A survey by the National Restaurant Association showed that in 1989, Chinese food was eaten more often than 19 other types of food, according to Yong Chen’s essay "The Rise of Chinese Food in the United States".

Why Do Americans Love Chinese Food?

Chinese food is very popular in the US for many reasons. One of them is the different cooking methods like stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, boiling, roasting, and braising. Another is seasonings and spices that make Chinese food full of its unique taste. Popular ingredients include soy sauce, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, star anise, five-spice powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. The various cooking styles and lots of spices are why people love Chinese cuisine so much. One of the most well-liked dishes is Kung Pao Chicken - over 90% of all Chinese restaurants in the US have it on their menus.

8 Culinary Traditions Of Chinese Cuisines

Cantonese (Guangdong) - With access to the coast, this cuisine makes great use of imported foods and fresh seafood along with almost all edible meats except lamb and goat. It's known for dim sum, barbecued meats like char siu pork, and clear broths. Wok cooking techniques are prominent.

Fujian - Influenced by its coastal, mountainous terrain, this cuisine frequently uses seafood, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other woodland ingredients. It emphasizes umami flavors in light yet flavorful dishes like the lavish Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup made with many expensive delicacies.

Jiangsu - With several distinct styles like Huaiyang and Yangzhou, this cuisine is prized for exquisite cooking techniques that keep meats tender yet firm. It's also celebrated for artistic plate presentations of dishes like sweet and sour squirrel-shaped fish.

Anhui - Though similar to Jiangsu cuisine, Anhui style puts less emphasis on seafood and more on locally grown herbs, vegetables, and distinct dishes like stinky tofu (fermented and deep-fried tofu) and smelly mandarin fish cooked in a spicy bean sauce.

Shandong - An influential northern cuisine with two main styles - the light seafood-based Jiaodong style and the soup-based Jinan style that gives broths a central role. Classic Shandong dishes include braised chicken, sea cucumber and the original moo shu pork.

Sichuan - Renowned for its bold, uncompromising flavors and use of Sichuan peppercorns that create a unique mouth-numbing sensation. This fiery cuisine also makes liberal use of preserved ingredients like pickles and salted items in popular spicy classics like mapo tofu and kung pao chicken.

Hunan - Like Sichuan food, Hunan cuisine is famous for being intensely hot and spicy, generously using chili peppers, garlic and shallots. However, the heat is purely spicy rather than mouth-numbing. With many agricultural specialties, it creates distinctly fragrant, fiery yet humble home-style dishes.

Zhejiang - Generally lighter and fresher, this coastal cuisine features four main styles utilizing abundant seafood and ingredients like bamboo shoots and Jinhua ham. It's known for steamed, braised and drunken seafood dishes, beggar's chicken and soupy xiao long bao dumplings.

Most Popular Chinese Dishes in The US

Restaurantji analyzed hundreds of thousands of user reviews from Chinese restaurant pages to find out which American-Chinese dishes people talk about most positively. And here are the results we came up with:

Orange Chicken - no wonder this particular dish was among the leaders in mentions in positive reviews. Orange chicken originated as a simple stir-fry with a citrus-flavored sauce made from orange peels in Guangdong, China. When Chinese immigrants opened restaurants in America, the dish evolved to cater to American tastes. Chefs started deep frying the chicken and creating sweeter, thicker sauces. This led to the development of the crispy, sweet orange chicken dish that became immensely popular in Chinese-American restaurants.

Panda Express reported selling over 65 million pounds of its iconic orange chicken dish in 2013 alone, showing how popular this dish became with Americans.

Here are some of the best spots across the country to try it yourself:

P.F. Chang's in Gainesville, FL

Sichuan Pepper Express in Houston, TX

Morimoto Asia in Lake Buena Vista, FL

Egg Drop Soup - Egg drop soup has been around for a very long time, but its origins are quite sophisticated. In imperial Cantonese courts, it was a way for chefs to showcase their skills by swirling eggs into a clear broth made with rooster and Jinhua ham to create a flower-like gelatin texture.

The name "egg drop soup" comes from the way it's made - dropping beaten eggs into hot broth or stock. In Chinese, it's called "egg flower soup" because the swirling egg creates flowery patterns. It is made from eggs, chicken broth or stock, rooster meat, Jinhua ham, and seasonings like salt, white pepper and sesame oil.

Some of the best places to try:

Great China in Albuquerque, NM

Blossom Chinese & American Cuisine in Saratoga Springs, UT

China Inn Restaurant in West Branch, MI

Wonton Soup - Wontons have been around since the Qing Dynasty in China. Originally a dish for rich families, wonton soup became more common after World War II. It is now a very popular Chinese dish eaten all over the states, with many different versions.

Wonton soup is served by first placing a spoon in the bowl, then wontons, garnishes like green onions, and noodles stacked on top. Hot broth is then poured over everything. Some restaurants serve the wontons and noodles separately from the broth so you can eat them individually if you prefer.

Restaurantji suggests these restaurants to try Wonton Soup:

Wu's Wonton King in New York, NY

Ding Ho Restaurant in Columbus, OH

Dragon Gate Restaurant in Parma Heights, OH

Chicken Fried Rice - Fried rice has been around since the Sui dynasty in China from 589-618 AD. It was created as a practical way to use up leftover cooked rice. People would stir-fry the leftover rice with whatever other ingredients they had on hand, like vegetables, meat, and soy sauce. The version called golden fried rice gets its yellow color from mixing the rice with egg yolks before stir-frying it. Fried rice was originally made to prevent wasting food by using up leftovers.

Visit these places to try the good old Chicken Fried Rice yourself:

Taste of Asia Halal in Charlotte, NC

Wok N Roll in Ames, IA

Hong Kong Kitchen in Hammond, IN

General Tso's Chicken – General Tso’s Chicken is a tasty mix of sweet, savory, spicy and tangy flavors with crispy fried chicken pieces. It's a super popular Chinese takeout dish that hits all the right spots!

The name comes from the Hunan province of China and a respected military leader called General Tso. But some people say it may have actually been brought to the US by Taiwanese chefs.

Either way, we know it became one of the most beloved Chinese foods in America, because of crispy chicken coated in a sticky, spicy, savory sauce

Based on the analysis of the reviews, Restaurantji recommends these restaurants:

Emerald Garden in Shrewsbury, PA

King's Asian Chef in Springfield, MO

Chen's Chinese Restaurant in Glen Allen, VA

Fortune Cookies Come from Japanese Immigrants

Fortune cookies are associated with Chinese-American restaurants, but their roots trace back to Japanese immigrants. At the rise of chop suey restaurants popularity in the 1920s-1930s, many Japanese immigrants also owned the restaurants. In 1914 in California, a Japanese-American owned tea garden started to hand out cookies with “thank you” notes tucked inside.

Most "Chinese" or "Asian" Salads Were Invented in America.

Jennifer 8. Lee, the writer and producer of the documentary "The Search for General Tso", says that Chinese chicken salad and other so called "Asian" salads were born in the US, not in Asian cuisines. Chinese people usually cook their greens rather than eat them raw in salads. The word "Chinese" is often used in the US for dishes that don’t have Chinese origins. Chinese people refer to their cuisine as just "food" with no need to specify it as “Chinese”.

Take-Out Containers Are Also an American Invention.

American-Chinese take-out food is often associated with the red-and-white paper cartons with a picture of a pagoda on them. Well, these containers are about as American as it gets. Originally called "paper pails", they were invented by Frederick Weeks Wilcox in 1894 in Chicago. In the 1970s, a designer from Fold-Pak, a company that made these paper pails, added iconic red pagoda artwork and "thank you" lettering that is now strongly associated with these containers.

Must-Try Restaurants

“Delicious and authentic! Must try the Chili Garlic Naan!!! We had Panang Curry and Tikka Masala…both expertly balanced and spiced.”

4.9 Superb438 Reviews

“Went out for our son’s birthday and could not have been more pleased. Johnny was our server and he truly made the experience so much better. Great person...”

4.8 Superb1194 Reviews

“Came here for an early dinner. Cam took exception care of us. Food is really fresh and good. Will definitely come back again.”

4.8 Superb810 Reviews

“Had a great time tonight with delicious food. Ciara R. served us and was super attentive and kind. Would definitely come back!”

4.8 Superb725 Reviews

“The entire experience was excellent! Dina (our server) was incredibly polite and patient and most definitely added to the experience. It was my girlfrien...”

4.8 Superb665 Reviews

“Yum curry fishball cheong fun, get all the sauces! Really great cold HK style milk tea as well.”

4.9 Superb220 Reviews

“Amy was the best waitress!!! She made sure we got everything and had great energy. I am definitely coming back. ”

4.8 Superb382 Reviews

“Authentic Chinese Food with very good taste. The price is reasonable for the taste and quality.”

4.9 Superb205 Reviews

“Really hungry when we arrived: Zom Hee Chinese Restaurant: $60 for 2 meals---Ordered Mai Tai and got cherry juice! No bread/butter offered. The sauces ...”

4.7 Superb1309 Reviews

“Food was nothing special. I was told this is the best Chinese place in town but it’s average, I can get the same quality from just about any other Chines...”

4.7 Superb1029 Reviews

“Antidote has some drawbacks to be sure, the biggest one being that it is pretty hard to get a table there, but the food is outstanding--with a lot of opt...”

4.8 Superb323 Reviews

“Ashton did an amazing job being attentive and responsive with his service, he was very nice and made my family and Is experience here very pleasing.”

4.7 Superb765 Reviews

“Ian did such a great job. It is so refreshing to go out to a restaurant and have someone who is attentive and welcoming. Food was amazing of course. We w...”

4.7 Superb599 Reviews

“The sesame chicken was very tender, the dumplings were sublime, don’t get me started on the noodles, as the Crab Wontons stole the show. Perfect. Lauren ...”

4.7 Superb477 Reviews

“I used to eat here when it was under a different name. After the recent renovation, I decided to try it again. The food, mostly mid-southern Chinese food...”

4.8 Superb230 Reviews

Recently Opened Restaurants

“Food was good. Need to add more spice or at least be able to provide a spice tray for customers to add at their own discretion.”

4.5 Superb22 Reviews

“The food was very good and the service excellent. The truth is that everything is excellent”

3.7 Good23 Reviews

“Jade Dumpling & Noodle House is a hidden gem! The flavorful dishes, including the fried rice, mixed fried noodles, and dumplings, left me very impres...”

4.8 Superb45 Reviews

“I recently visited Cooking Girl with my family and had such a wonderful experience that I had to share it. From the moment we walked in, we felt incredib...”

4.9 Superb23 Reviews

“Staff very nice and kept refilling my drink and checking up on us. Food was served hot and was so delicious.”

4.2 Good115 Reviews

“This place is an affordable, no frills dim sum place. I went in not expecting much but the food was actually good. I feel like they should change their n...”

4.1 Good33 Reviews

“Great new take out chinese spot in the UES. The food tasted very homemade which was a pleasant surprise. I got the spicy chicken noodles and the scallion...”

4.6 Superb8 Reviews

“Ordered beef lo mein, sweet & sour chicken (not pictured) and the egg rolls. Everything came out great! Wendy the cashier was so sweet and helpful wi...”

4.8 Superb24 Reviews

“I think they open not long ago. We got there before the rush hour. So we got seated right a way. We liked the food & the staff were quick & frien...”

4.4 Superb193 Reviews

“Loved everything about the place. Love all the Austin homage and especially the Burger Tex sign on the wall. The food was delicious - exactly as advertis...”

4.8 Superb12 Reviews

“Beautiful restaurant that just opened in an unassuming strip mall. This is definitely a Chinese Hot Pot place, so it is really unfair for me to compare i...”

4.2 Good31 Reviews

“Only piece of advice about this place - bring a lot of friends and family to try every dumpling variety and flavor on the menu. There were 6 of us this p...”

4.5 Superb53 Reviews

“Great flavor for the chicken and fixed my lunch portion size when I said it seemed small”

4.7 Superb52 Reviews

“The salt and pepper pork is really super good and the Broccoli dish might be the best I’ve ever had.”

4.9 Superb104 Reviews

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4.7 Superb61 Reviews

Recent Reviews

“My favorite place to eat. Im a regular here and always have freah food and staff always friendly. It get suoer busy on the weekends but your are never ru...”

4.3 Superb119 Reviews

“I ate today and paid with my credit card. I was charged 3 percent on top of my total bill. The server told me at the end of her shift the management take...”

3.6 Good259 Reviews

“This place has wonderful fresh food. The hot and sour soup is my favorite. The prices are great! I compared prices with another place in the area and sto...”

3.8 Good144 Reviews

“Take out place. Poor service, poor food. Don’t bother”

3.7 Good141 Reviews

“Really hungry when we arrived: Zom Hee Chinese Restaurant: $60 for 2 meals---Ordered Mai Tai and got cherry juice! No bread/butter offered. The sauces ...”

4.7 Superb1309 Reviews

“DON'T say this food is Chinese Rican, this food is horrible. Our peeps from PR would be extremely upset with ya'll promoting this crap in Florida”

3 Average115 Reviews

“Moo shu vegetables were really excellent with an abundant portion containing fresh vegetables and egg. A few wood ear or shitake mushrooms would have be...”

3.9 Good100 Reviews

“we eat there every chance we can when we come to Kenton. Have eaten there for over 25 yrs. Great Food always!!!”

3.9 Good103 Reviews

“Ordered a chicken rice dish… found a piece of hair in the food… smh Very disappointing… especially after seeing the gre...”

4.5 Superb271 Reviews

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4.6 Superb879 Reviews

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2.7 Average161 Reviews

“The food is exceptionally delicious always hot and plenty of it. The General Tso's chicken,(my favorite) add your own level of heat but even withou...”

4.1 Good120 Reviews

“The most disgusting dirtiest restaurant that my family has ever been to. Mold, floors, walls, ceilings, no way there's an A rating. Clean up, we w...”

3.6 Good143 Reviews

“Finally! We found this really good Chinese take out. Everything so far has been delicious. Reasonably priced.”

4 Good231 Reviews

Recently Updated Menus

“The best Chinese restaurant in Omaha HANDS DOWN !!! I eat here at least 3-4 times a month I actually just left this what o ordered today ??”

4.5 Superb108 Reviews

“Horrible experience. Went in my family. Walked in and wasn't greeted. Was told to sit anywhere. We sat down and no menus were given. Finally someone...”

4.1 Good42 Reviews

“Love their szechuan sauce. It has a nice kick. This place kicks the flavor up a notch above and beyond other chinese spots. Their dumplings are great too...”

3.6 Good25 Reviews

“Updated for MENU - their website doesn't work.Can't speak for others. We've gotten good experiences here for some time now.Notably, this i...”

4.3 Superb15 Reviews

“I decided to try a new place for Chinese takeout. Food was delicious, fresh and not oily. We got the Wonton soup, Shrimp in garlic sauce and Shrimp and...”

4.2 Good31 Reviews

“Veggies were slightly crunchy, so perfectly cooked! Rice was a different kind of pork fried rice, fluffier consistency, definitely more enjoyable than r...”

4 Good29 Reviews

“Got takeout from here for lunch and the food was delicious!! It's a very small place and there is no really atmosphere for dine in, so I would defin...”

3.2 Average28 Reviews

“Lee's Panda Garden is one of our favorite Chinese restaurants to go eat at. Their customer service is great and the food is delicious.”

4.4 Superb80 Reviews

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4.2 Good24 Reviews

“35 years in business means you're doing something right. This is some of the best Chinese I've ever had. The best thing about this place is the...”

4 Good20 Reviews

“Love this place. We have been getting foor from here for a very long time. Even when the diningroom was closed due to Covid, we would call in our orders ...”

3.9 Good66 Reviews

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4.6 Superb17 Reviews

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4.4 Superb24 Reviews

“Great food and great price! I was introduced to this restaurant by coworkers a couple years ago and still make it worth your while.”

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3.2 Average25 Reviews

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