6, J, N, Q, R, Z to Canal St.; B, D at Grand St.
Worth St. to Broome St., Madison St. to Broadway
The joys of Chinatown are many: bargain foot massages, bubble tea, and now, deep-fried minnows. To get them, enter A-Wah, a Hong Kong–style kitchen hidden on bustling, narrow Catherine Street, tucked under the Manhattan Bridge. Walk past the glass-enclosed kitchen with its hefty wooden chopping block and flaming stove range and grab a plastic-clothed table, preferably facing the TV screen playing karaoke music videos. Open your menu and try not to become overwhelmed by the 325 choices. A-Wah is known for its rice-heavy clay pots topped with one of sixteen meat and veggie options, eaten, burnt crust and all, with a syrupy soy sauce. Beyond that, many unusual delicacies are on offer: pig heart, duck intestine, fish head. Experiment, but don’t skip basics like adorably bite-size buns filled with crispy-skinned Peking duck and cucumber. If you order one of the smoothly textured, ginger-inflected congees, add a side of doughnuts—flaky sticks of fried batter used to scoop up the savory porridge. As for those deep-fried minnows: The poor little devils come out in a crispy battered heap, like so many French fries. Salty, delicious, and decorated with some chopped hot peppers and onions, they make a perfect post-foot-rub snack.Recommended Dishes
Peking duck sandwich, $2.95; congee with doughnuts, $4.95; house special noodle in casserole, $8.95; silverfish with pepper salt, $7.95