Global cuisineGuide to New York

Guide to the Best Far Eastern Restaurants in Manhattan

Buddakan - The Great RoomBuddakan - The Great Room

New York City’s rich tapestry is undeniably woven from the threads of countless immigrants. This curated selection, brought to you by Friday Jones, WAWW’s US contributor, features five exceptional restaurants offering a taste of the orient’s exquisite flavours. From the artistry of omakase to the opulence of imperial dining, prepare to be transported by over a thousand years of culinary traditions.

1. Chef Guo, Midtown

About Chef Guo:

Chef Guo offers unparalleled creativity in his dining experience, blending his sculptor’s skill with his exhaustive knowledge of Imperial cuisine and its history. Each dish is a captivating interplay of flavours, often featuring cheeky details like the foie gras “cherry” accompanying his signature Imperial Peking Duck. Enchantingly, every indulgence in the multi-course meal is accompanied by a story of China’s rich culinary heritage. Indeed, Chef Guo’s is the only cuisine officially licensed by the Imperial Government.

Heralded as New York’s most expensive Asian dining experience, guests are naturally treated like royalty, literally seated upon thrones. The intimate, dimly lit setting features art from Chef Guo’s private collection, a full wall of deeply resonant gongs that guests are invited to play, as well as a striking ginkgo tree – a creation by the chef himself.

Signature Dishes:

Dragon Beard Noodles: delicately hand-pulled noodles with a rich, umami broth and succulent pieces of lobster.

Imperial Peking Duck: crispy, perfectly roasted duck served with house-made hoisin sauce and delicate pancakes.

Eight Treasures Soup: a luxurious, slow-cooked broth featuring abalone, sea cucumber, and premium fish maw.

Address: Randolph House, 135 E 50th St, New York, NY 10022

2. Omakaseed, Midtown

About Omakaseed:

Omakaseed, a hidden library of bewitching vegan delights, lies ensconced deep within the Sanctuary Hotel. This phenomenal omakase experience pushes creativity to mind-boggling levels. Take, for instance, the enzyme-enhanced watermelon nigiri. Resting upon pickled watermelon rind, a touch of wasabi graces this creation. The enzymes’ activity smooths the watermelon’s texture, creating a remarkably sea-creature-like sensation – an experience that demands to be believed.

The matcha udon noodles are another standout, offering a vibrant and flavourful twist on the traditional udon. Each bite delivers a harmonious blend of umami and the subtle bitterness of matcha, perfectly complemented by the freshness of seasonal vegetables.

The sakura blossom tempura is both visually stunning and delicious. Delicate blossoms, crisp and fragrant, take centre stage. These are paired with a tangy yuzu and soy dipping sauce. Paired with creative, plant-based cocktails, epicureans of all persuasions will be thoroughly rewarded by this innovative culinary adventure.

Signature Dishes:

Matcha Udon Noodles: handcrafted udon noodles infused with matcha, served in a delicate dashi broth with seasonal vegetables.

Sakura Blossom Tempura: lightly battered and fried sakura blossoms, paired with a dipping sauce of yuzu and soy.

Tsukemono Platter: an assortment of Japanese pickles, including umeboshi, takuan, and shibazuke, beautifully presented on a wooden tray.

Address: Sanctuary Hotel , 132 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

3. Wau, Upper West Side

About Wau:

We simply adore venturing to the Upper West Side for a visit to Wau, a veritable garden overflowing with Southeast Asian delights. Order a flower-festooned cocktail and marvel at the gravity-defying WAAAU Noodles. Another luxurious standout is the charcoal-grilled wagyu beef skewers. Each skewer boasts tender and juicy meat, infused with a hint of smokiness from the Malaysian charcoal grill, and complemented by a tangy tamarind glaze.

The delicately aromatic pandan leaf-wrapped sea bass lives up to its description perfectly. The pandan leaves impart a subtle, sweet flavour to the tender sea bass, which is then served with a harmonising spicy sambal sauce. For dessert, the unusual durian crème brûlée is a must-try, even if it’s just to experience this notorious fruit. Fear not, the creamy durian-infused custard is rich and indulgent, with the caramelised sugar crust adding a delightful crunch.

Wau’s innovative exploration of dishes from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand goes far beyond the usual Western offerings. With its inviting tropical ambience, it’s an absolute must-visit for those seeking an authentic Southeast Asian culinary adventure.

Signature Dishes:

Charcoal-Grilled Wagyu Beef Skewers: premium wagyu beef, marinated and grilled over charcoal, served with a tangy tamarind glaze.

Pandan Leaf-Wrapped Sea Bass: fresh sea bass fillets wrapped in fragrant pandan leaves and steamed to perfection, served with a spicy sambal sauce.

Durian Crème Brûlée: a twist on the classic dessert, featuring a creamy durian-infused custard topped with a caramelized sugar crust.

Address: 434 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

4. Buddakan, Meatpacking District

About Buddakan:

Buddakan is a thrilling departure from the norm and absolutely deserving of its reputation. They describe themselves as “surreal,” a fitting way to capture the essence of their Asian offerings presented amidst 16th-century French decadence. The crowd-favourite Edamame Dumplings boast a smooth and savoury filling that pairs beautifully with the delicate truffle broth. The Cantonese-style rib eye is a hearty and flavourful dish, showcasing the restaurant’s ability to elevate traditional ingredients. For a lighter yet satisfying option, the chilled udon noodles provide a refreshing contrast.

Signature Dishes:

Edamame Dumplings: steamed dumplings filled with a creamy edamame puree, served with a light truffle broth.

Cantonese-style Rib Eye: juicy rib eye steak glazed with a savory sauce and accompanied by crispy shallots.

Chilled Udon Noodles: udon noodles tossed with spicy sesame sauce and topped with fresh herbs and vegetables.

Address: 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

5. Kintsugi, SoHo

About Kintsugi:

Inspired by the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold, Kintsugi, a post-pandemic creation, celebrates the beauty of imperfection through its meticulously crafted dishes. Chef Victor Chen serves a seasonally inspired menu with a playful touch, offering insights into the regions of each dish’s origin and the reasons for their enduring popularity.

The Wagyu Beef Sashimi makes for an exquisite start, offering a melt-in-the-mouth experience enhanced by the luxurious truffle soy sauce. The Miso Black Cod is a testament to Chef Chen’s skill, with its perfectly balanced flavours and melt-in-the-mouth texture. A particular highlight is the Seasonal Sea Urchin, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Served in its shell with a citrus ponzu sauce, it provides a unique and unforgettable taste of the sea.

The minimalist yet elegant decor, featuring kintsugi ceramics, echoes Chef Chen’s philosophical musings on the impermanence of sushi. Every bite is a testament to the imagination, thought, and work poured into each creation – a fleeting moment to be savoured and cherished.

Signature Dishes:

Wagyu Beef Sashimi: thinly sliced wagyu beef served with a truffle soy sauce and garnished with gold leaf.

Miso Black Cod: tender black cod marinated in sweet miso, served with pickled ginger and radish.

Seasonal Sea Urchin: fresh sea urchin, sourced locally and served in its shell with a citrus ponzu sauce

Address: 28 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013