The Ten Best Chinese Restaurants in Miami

Boiled chicken feet at Sang's Chinese Restaurant in North Miami Beach
Boiled chicken feet at Sang's Chinese Restaurant in North Miami Beach Photo by Daniel Molsberry
When "authenticity" became an American foodie buzzword, perhaps Chinese food was hit hardest. Deciding what "authentic" Chinese food looks and tastes like — or any culture’s cuisine, for that matter — isn't so easy.

Consider that China is a sprawling country whose 1.4 billion citizens comprise nearly 20 percent of the world’s population and is home to at least eight distinct culinary regions. Its expansive landmass ranges from the Himalayas and tropical jungles to sand-swept dunes of the Gobi Desert, offering up unique culinary traditions that include Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Shangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, and Anhui.

Add to that the idea that the Chinese restaurant menus we know today were never developed to bring cultural diversity to our doorstep. Instead, they were designed by necessity as early Chinese immigrants struggled to find familiar ingredients. Replacing them with readily available substitutes stateside, traditional recipes were adapted, and scores of dishes were created that hinted at the homeland.

So what does that mean for Miami? It simply means you need to know where to look.

The Magic City has several spots that offer a taste of China, from handmade dim sum and Shanghai soup dumplings to crispy-skin barbecue pork and traditional Peking duck.

Here, in alphabetical order, are our picks for the ten best Chinese restaurants in the 305.
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Prosperity in a dish: steamed snapper in a scallion ginger soy broth
Blackbrick photo

Blackbrick Chinese & Dim Sum

3451 NE First Ave., Miami
Miami chef Richard Hales opened Blackbrick to fill the void of stellar — yet still affordable — Chinese in the Magic City. Hales creates dishes that combine the best of Szechuan, Hunan, and American Chinese recipes. Some dishes may remind you of typical Chinese takeout, but rest assured, Hales' renditions are far better. Take his wonton soup: plump shrimp and aromatics are stuffed into handmade wontons in a broth made from rabbit bones, chicken necks, and chewy bucatini-style noodles. Or his Peking duck that rests in spices for 24 hours before it's roasted for eight hours, rendering mahogany skin that's paper-thin and succulent meat within. It's served with housemade bao buns, hoisin sauce, slivered cucumber, and scallions alongside a pan-fried cake called roti prata.
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Chang's photo

Chang's Chinese Restaurant

1311 SW 107th Ave., Miami
One meal at Chang's will change your perceptions of Chinese food forever. A family-run establishment that's been serving the South Florida community for more than four decades, Chang's is the sort of place that can make you feel as though you're supping in Hong Kong. In 2004, Tony Chan took over Chang's, the very restaurant where he learned to cook after immigrating to Miami in 1987 — at the age of 16 — from  Guangzhou, China. Today, the hole-in-the-wall Cantonese restaurant continues its tradition of writing hand-drawn menus of daily selections on the wall. Everything here is cooked in a piping hot wok, a technique used to encapsulate the smoky 'wok hei' flavor, a complex charred aroma that emanates from the stir fries served in Cantonese dishes. Menu highlights include salt-and-pepper tofu, stewed eggplant with minced pork, steamed fish, and beef hor fun.
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Hot pot at CY Chinese restaurant
Photo by Candace West

CY Chinese

1242 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach
The Magic City has welcomed several hot-pot restaurants over the years, but one of the best remains this North Miami Beach restaurant. CY Chinese's strength is in its soup, which begins with a ladleful of rendered beef fat seasoned with three kinds of chilies and spices like Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, garlic, and star anise. Add to that the base chicken stock, some ginger, and fermented black beans, and you have yourself a flavorful, hearty broth that stands on its own. Of course, that's not how you'll have it. The menu offers meats, proteins, and vegetables a la carte, so you can create your bowl of steaming perfection that's best with ingredients like sliced pork, fatty beef, quail eggs, and lotus root.
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The Shanghai soup dumplings at Dumpling King in North Miami Beach
Photo by Nicole Danna

Dumpling King

237 NE 167th St., North Miami Beach
Dumpling King is where the Magic City goes to get its dumpling fix. After all, that's what this restaurant does best. While the menu offers fried rice, noodles, and lunch special entrees like General Tso's or broccoli chicken, most come here for fried or steamed dumplings. While both are phenomenal, Dumpling King is also home to Miami's best soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, which are best when eaten in-house, still steaming from the kitchen. The beauty of these babies is in their girth: Each thick, sturdy wrap holds together in your hands without the threat of bottoming out. At once chewy and tender, it's thick enough to hold the hot, unctuous broth and tender globe of minced pork (or crab and pork) beneath while simultaneously absorbing the accompanying tangy black vinegar.
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The Peking Duck at Gold Marquess
Photo by Candace West

Gold Marquess

143 NW 23rd St., Miami
In 2015, Gold Marquess owners and Chinese immigrants Kam Ip and chef Yu Wu decided to open an upscale take on Chinese dining with all-day dim sum, leaning on their combined 20 years of restaurant industry experience. Now with a second Miami location and the addition of their casual Yip string of dumpling-focused restaurants, the duo continues to deliver a full array of Chinese fare to South Florida. Unlike many of the smaller family-run Chinese restaurants in the area, Gold Marquess was designed to offer a more refined dining experience that, during a busy lunch rush, can be a boisterous and chaotic affair thanks to dozens of full tables ordering from dim sum carts that roll past. The most popular offerings are the ones you'd be most familiar with: steamed barbecue pork buns, siu mei, fried shrimp balls, Shanghai dumplings, and crispy spring rolls.
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The crispy pork sells out first at Hong's BBQ in Davie.
Photo by Nicole Danna

Hong's BBQ

6831 Stirling Rd., Davie
At the center of a nondescript Davie strip mall that houses a Subway, Carvel, and farmers' market, you will find Hong's BBQ. If it's Chinese you're after; you won't come here for a takeout menu of familiar Chinese favorites. Instead, you've come — as the name suggests — for the barbecue, specifically, the chef's crispy pork. While the roast duck and marinated chicken are tender, flavorful, and worth an order, the crispy pork is in high demand. Alongside the ducks and chicken, a single pig is roasted each day, hanging behind the glass-enclosed counter and prep station. Order it, and the chef will slice off a section of fatty, tender meat encased in a sheet of crisp skin. Like a perfect Caja China roast, the wafer-thin sheets of skin crunch and crack as you take a bite of each salty-sweet cube of pork. Pair it with a platter of seasonal steamed vegetables and a pot of green tea for the perfect lunch break.
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King Palace Chinese Bar-B-Q photo

King Palace Chinese Bar-B-Q

330 NE 167th St., North Miami
Since 2001, the Wu family has made a living dishing out their favorite Chinese delicacies. The family left Guangzhou, China, in 1982, for Caracas, Venezuela, where they opened a Chinese restaurant that offered locals orange chicken and Mongolian beef alongside traditional dishes. In 1999, they arrived in Miami and opened their Chinese barbecue spot for the South Florida masses while offering the same traditional and fusion-fare approach. Inside the restaurant, the red-dyed hides of whole roast duck and rotisserie meats hang behind glass walls. And if it's seafood you're after, several tanks house live fish and shellfish served freshly cooked upon ordering. Once, you could order exotic dishes like shark fin soup, but today the chef's more colorful choices range from salt-and-pepper squid and sliced conch with yellow chives to pig intestines with preserved vegetables and fried frog legs with shredded pork.
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Kon Chau Chinese Restaurant
Photo by Maureen Aimee Mariano

Kon Chau Chinese Restaurant

8376 SW 40th St., Miami
When chef/owner Philip Ho opened Kon Chau in 2011 in Sunny Isles Beach, it became a fast favorite for its array of xiao long bao and dim sum. Today, nothing beats spending a Saturday morning hearing the clacking of ceramic dishes and cackling of conversation while stuffing your face with the kitchen's fresh, handmade eats. Classics include sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, and wonton soup. Feeling adventurous? Try the chicken feet with black bean sauce or the beef tripe.
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Sang's Chinese Restaurant offers a menu of American-Chinese dishes served alongside daily handmade dim sum.
Photo by Nicole Danna

Sang's Chinese Restaurant

1925 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach
If you enter a restaurant in China and ask for "egg foo yung," a puzzled look will most assuredly cross your waiter's face. The term is meaningless in that country, the dish nonexistent, yet it's long been a popular staple in Chinese-American eateries. At Sang's Chinese Restaurant in North Miami Beach, the egg foo yung is exemplary — three pancake-sized omelets cooked to order with bean sprouts, caramelized onions, and nuggets of roast pork, the thin brown sauce exhibiting less cornstarch gloppiness than is usually the case. With its fresh preparations of standard Cantonese fare, Sang's is just the affordable, family-style Chinese-American restaurant every neighborhood should have.
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This longtime Miami Chinese restaurant remains a favorite among locals.
Tropical Chinese photo

Tropical Chinese

7991 Bird Rd., Miami
A five-year restaurant run in this city is quite an accomplishment. Now multiply that times seven, and you'll get close to the number of years Tropical Chinese has seen steamed dim sum carts roll throughout its crimson, lantern-lit interior. When Mei and Gregory Yu's parents opened Tropical Chinese in 1984, they didn't foresee it becoming one of the city's best and most authentic Chinese restaurants, let alone the nation. Today, the Magic City is fortunate that the spot continues to offer some of the best Cantonese fare around. Go for the xiao long bao steamed buns, Peking duck, and scallion pancakes with beef.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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