By Annie Wong ’19
Everyone knows about Manhattan’s Chinatown, one of the most popular places in New York City, but there is an additional neighborhood that has similar Chinese restaurants and shops. Known as Brooklyn Chinatown, or simply “8th Avenue” by locals and frequent visitors, the neighborhood runs from 42nd to 68th Street in Sunset Park.
Brooklyn Chinatown was started in 1986 when the first Chinese-American grocery store, Winley Supermarket, opened on the corner of 8th Avenue and 56th Street. More and more Asian people moved into this area. Among them were Chinese immigrants and previous residents of Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Jason Zhu, a college student living near the neighborhood, said, “It’s always so busy and hectic here. There’s never a quiet moment.”
Brooklyn Chinatown is full of Chinese restaurants, shops, and attractions. It’s no surprise that it’s almost always busy and crowded. It is also directly connected to Manhattan’s Chinatown via the D, N, and R trains, making it easier for people to travel between the two Chinatowns.
Similar to other Chinese neighborhoods, 8th Avenue has a large amount of Chinese bakeries, such as Gaoming Bakery, Dragon Bay Bakery, and Xinfa Bakery. These bakeries serve lots of breads, buns, and beverages that are normal in Chinese bakeries.
Additionally, there are many restaurants in Brooklyn Chinatown. For example, “99 Favor Taste” – an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Chinese hot pot and Korean BBQ – is a popular Asian restaurant located between 7th and 8th Avenue on 61st Street.
“Although the food can be expensive, 99 Favor is usually my first choice when I come here,” Daisy Chen ’19 said. “I come here on special occasions with my friends and family.”
Many students come to Brooklyn Chinatown to eat with their friends or family. Like many typical Chinese neighborhoods, there are many Dim Sum places where you can go to drink tea and relax. Despite being a Chinese neighborhood, there are more than just Chinese restaurants. There are restaurants that serve authentic Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Thai cuisine.
Jeanelle Louie ’19 said, “I usually eat at Snow & Cream. The desserts are amazing.”
The storefront has “Snow & Cream” as its name but it is actually two restaurants: PokéBowl Station, which sells Pokébowls, and Snow & Cream, which sells desserts varying from egg waffles to Thai rolled ice cream. It is located between 61st and 62nd Street on 7th Avenue.
There are also plenty of bubble tea shops that are popular amongst students, such as Vivi’s, Kung Fu Tea, Coco, and Tbaar.
Brooklyn Chinatown is not only a center for authentic Asian foods, but it is also a workplace for many. There are no high rise buildings or skyscrapers, unlike Manhattan’s Chinatown, and space is limited. However there are businesses that are located above many of the stores. There are also street vendors that sell things varying from fruit to accessories.
To explore Brooklyn Chinatown, take the N train to the “8 Ave” stop, just past Sunset Park.