BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On…Bayard Street? (btwn: Mott and Elizabeth Streets)
The colorful past of Bayard Street in Chinatown began in the early 19th Century as its location landed it in the famed Old Sixth Ward and internationally known slum, 5 Points. Disease and unparalleled violence for over 70 years made Bayard Street a place that most did not venture. Mott (at Bayard St), came in to the news again in 1989 when police confiscated 820lbs of heroin from Peter Woo, then 71 and owner of Tai Pei Liquors, who was the largest importer of heroin at the time. Today, Bayard Street is still shrouded in a bit of mystery, located in the heart of Chinatown where we hope things haven’t been cleaned up too much – however, there are some wonderful finds for those seeking a different kind of adventure.
55B Bayard Street – Bubbly Tea
The name says it all – Bubbly Tea is the go-to location in Chinatown for bubble tea (tea mixed with tapioca beads). With many flavors, hot or cold, to choose from and a bonus snack menu, who can resist some Bubbly Tea? *They often have drinks on promotion; ask the cashier what you can get for a discount!
57 Bayard Street – Bayard Meat Market
Fresh, reasonably priced meat is what you’ll get at the Bayard Meat Market. Satisfyingly clean surroundings and a selection of dumplings and other cooked foods available for take-out make the Bayard Market a stop for many on their way home from work at night.
59 Bayard Street – Bayard Fish Market
Right next door to (and the sister market of) Bayard Meat Market is the Bayard Fish Market. A good selection of fish and shellfish as well as fresh produce make this, and the former, the only place you’ll have to stop before you head home to make dinner.
61 Bayard Street – Yuen Yuen
Unsuspecting Yuen Yuen has been a staple in Chinatown for as long as (at least the people who know it’s there) can remember. Yuen Yuen serves comforting home-style Chinese food at prices that don’t seem to have risen much since the beginning of time (most dishes come in at about $5!). Don’t let the non-existent decor deter you – stop in and try one of the glutinous ball soups and the almond tea.
64 Bayard Street – Mei Li Wah Bakery
Stop at Mei Li Wah for the pork buns and leave happy, very happy. At 80 cents each, it makes it easier to ignore the huge vats of MSG that pile up on the sidewalk outside.
65 Bayard Street – Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Authentic Asian flavors make the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory a go-to for year round ice cream treats. Stop by for flavors including black sesame, green tea, red bean, and almond cookie for a truly authentic Chinatown experience (at truly Manhattan prices).
65 Bayard Street – Old Sichuan
The Sichuan province in China is known for its spicy food and numbing Sichuan peppercorn. Old Sichuan aims to please those looking for just that. While not the spiciest Sichuan in the city, it ranks among the best of its kind if you’re in Chinatown. Nicer than average Chinatown decor make this haunt a go-to for out-of-towners.
66 Bayard Street – Nice Green Bo
The dumplings are indeed nice and the decor indeed green at Nice Green Bo. Stop in if you’re passing by to give their soup dumplings a try (in an area where the soup dumpling reigns king) – but don’t make it a special trip.
Famous lamb burger at Xi’an Famous Foods
67 Bayard Street – Xi’an Famous Foods
This NYC mini chain pumps out cheap and crave worthy fast food style Chinese food. Most say the cumin spiced lamb burger is the only way to go here (and indeed, it is addictingly delicious), but lamb and pork centered noodle dishes can certainly hit the spot also.
69 Bayard Street – Sun Lin Garden
Chinatowns favorite (and maybe only) “diner” serves the drunken college aged of Chinatown 24 hours a day. Dollar bills line the walls, and while it might not be food you’ll enjoy when you’re sober, regulars all have their own go to at 3AM earning this place a spot in the books as an NYC landmark we hope won’t ever go away.
69 Bayard Restaurant
70 Bayard Street – Neighborliness Bakery
Okay, so it’s not the cleanest place on the block, but the name says it all. Clientele is comprised mostly of an older set of neighbors making this place intimidating for some, but a natural choice for others. Sweet treats and coffee occupy most of the menu and are best for takeout if its Chinese desserts you’ve got a hankering for.
72 Bayard Street – Hsin Wong
Try Hsin Wong if you’re in the mood for the wonderful world of Chinese roast meats. Roast duck and pork are the stars of the menu here – but most will agree the congee is reputable as well. The lunch hour can get crowded and rushed, so try Hsin Wong for dinner at prices that will make you smile.