Wall Street Journal declares Toronto’s Chinese food better than New York’s

Wall Street Journal declares Toronto’s Chinese food better than New York’s

Chinatown: the land of better buns (Photo by John Vetterli) 

New Yorkers are never happy when someone suggests that they’re not the best at something. Case in point: when David Sax asserted that the best Jewish delis are in L.A., not New York, flurries of incredulous aggregate posts popped up everywhere. The Gothamist, in a tongue-in-cheek headline, went so far as to suggest Sax had a death wish in speaking his mind. But it turns out that NYC may have—God forbid—an inferior Chinatown to Toronto.

“Friends back in Toronto love listening to me lament the ways New York City falls short compared to my Canadian hometown,” writes the Wall Street Journal‘s Adrian Ho. “I’m glad to oblige, every six weeks or so, whenever I return for my fill of real Chinese food. Why is it so difficult to find a decent dumpling in this town?”

The answer, he hypothesizes, is simple: immigration laws. In light of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China, Ho surmises, Hong Kong residents in the late  ’80s and early ’90s found locales like Toronto appealing as destinations, due in no small part to the relative ease of gaining “entrepreneur immigrant” status in Canada (in which citizenship can be obtained in as little as three years). Entrepreneurs came and set up shop, creating a backbone of familiarity that attracted more immigrants. It’s a cycle that makes sure the cuisine is authentic and geared toward respective ethnicities rather than tourists.

Still, non-believers abound. Says one WSJ reader: “If you’re looking for good Chinese food in Chinatown NYC, you’re a fool. All but the most naive of tourists knows the best Chinese food in NYC is NOT in Chinatown. Just as the best Italian food is not in Little Italy.”

Is that a roundabout admission of defeat? We think so.