More than just fortune cookies and orange chicken.
Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world for a couple of reasons: it’s widely varied due to how large and regionally unique China is, plus the fact that Chinese immigrants have settled all across the world, making it the type of cuisine you can try anywhere. There’s Cantonese, Sichuan, Szechuan, Hunan types of cooking; there’s baos, dumplings, noodles, pork and duck and fish, and the list goes on. Taste and sample your way across China, all from the comfort of our own backyard, at these 20 Chinese restaurants in Denver from traditional mom and pop shops to new fusion-style restaurants.
1. Hop Alley
Hop Alley gets its name from the Chinatown neighborhood that was burnt to the ground during the Denver riots of the 1880s. They pay homage to their roots and traditional styles of Chinese food through their traditional plates and unique menu. On their established menu, you can try their Pork and Blue Crab Siu Mai topped with masago or their sticky Chinese Spare Ribs.
Where: 3500 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
Shanghai Kitchen is a Shanghainese-restaurant serving portions of delicious veggies, meats, fish, and tofu in classic Shanghainese styles, sauces, and techniques. Their Lemon Chicken is a crispy breaded cutlet soaking in a lemon sauce, their General Tsao chicken is crispy, sweet, and spicy, and they’ve also got Dumplings with crispy, golden bottoms from the pan they’re cooked in.
Where: 4940 S Yosemite St e8, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Lao Wang Noodle House does dumplings and noodles expertly. Get their Hot Dumpling in Chili Oil or their Dan Dan Noodle dishes and feel like you’ve been transported. One of the more unique items on their menu is their Lao Wang Lager, which is a wild rice infused with a lager meant to be accompanied with their Pot Stickers, Xiao Long Bao, or their other prepared meats.
Where: 945 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
Dry Pot is a Chengdu staple and Yum Yum Spice is doing them hot, spicy, and packed to the brim with toppings. For the base, these hot pots have fried potatoes, veggies, and a whole lot of Chengdu-style spices. It’s normal for your lips will be tingling afterwards because of the delicious Sichuan pepper, so don’t worry. Then they top it with meat like shrimp, beef, pork, chicken, or even tofu. While you’re busy distracted by the mound of delicious food in front of you, don’t forget to try their scallion pancakes or pork dumplings.
Where: 2039 S University Blvd #4318, Denver, CO 80210
Blue Ocean’s menu is pretty simple, but that doesn’t make it any less authentic. On the menu, they’ve got a variety of rice bowls with yummy topping and fillings. Pork Belly, Fried Squid, and Spare Rib are just some of those options. They’ve also got hand-foods, like Egg Rolls, Dumplings, and Edamame to enjoy as well. The noodles are hand-pulled, the dumplings are fresh, and everything has got that delicious Chengdu flair. When they finally reopen, it’ll be time to enjoy their table top hot pots again, but for now, you can order take out.
Where: A, 8101 E Belleview Ave #90, Denver, CO 80237
6. Hong Kong BBQ
Hong Kong BBQ is a family-owned and traditional spot on Federal that’s serving Cantonese-styles meats, fish, and sides. Don’t be intimidated by the meats hanging in the window, that just tells you the meat inside is about to be good. Try their Fried Whole Fish or their Flavorful, Juicy Duck with Crispy, Golden Skin. Or one of their sides like Salt and Pepper Shrimp.
Where: 1048 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219
Meta Asian Kitchen is a blend of owners, Ken and Doris’ Cantonese heritage and American upbringing. This Asian-American “fast casual” restaurant has established itself in a few short years as an authentic and fun place to share culture and food. Their signature dish is a plate of steaming Chinatown Dumplings, but this year they’ve got a special Lunar New Year dumpling packs that you can take home and prepare. You can pre-order on their website and pick up at these times: Jan 19 – 22nd between 2PM – 5PM.
Where: 810 Vallejo St, Denver, CO 80204
Go about 10 miles to Aurora and you can find yourself in the same city as Mason’s Dumpling Shop. They’ve since spread to Los Angeles, but Aurora is the original. We’re not surprised by their claim of “not your average dumpling shop” with how many different types they’ve got going on. Steamed, pan fried, or boiled with delicious fillings like fish and napa, crab and pork, or beef, cheese, and onion. Their rice bowls look good too-like their stewed pork belly bowl. Everything is hand made to order and locally sourced, so you know the quality is at its best.
Where: 9655 E Montview Blvd, Aurora, CO 80010
9. Zoe Ma Ma
Zoe Ma Ma is nestled inside Union Station where Mom and Son duo take great pride in their fresh noodle dishes and steaming dumplings stuffed with pork, fish, and a special secret aromatic blend. Nothing beats Zoe Ma Ma’s dishes–authentic, flavorful, and full of experience. Dan Dan Mian is one of our favorite Chinese dishes, and this place has got it. Their CPR, that stands for Chicken, Potato, and Rice dish is also one of comforting, hearty dishes that hits the spot whenever.
Where: 1625 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
10. Ace Eat Serve
Ace Eat Serve is known for its spacious, string lit patio and contemporary Asian menu. While they’re not doing a special Chinese New Year special, they are doing special suckling pig feasts for Lunar New Year if you’re in the mood for something specialty from them. From their regular menu, grab an order of Xiao Long Bao, Shanghai Pork Belly Baos, or Crispy Beef and Broccoli.
Where: 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
YumCha, meaning ‘Drink Tea’ in Cantonese is a great spot for elevated Chinese cuisine and cocktails. Try their Roasted Pineapple Tiki Crush with bourbon, basil, citrus, and roast pineapple, then tuck into the main course. First, sample their Peking Duck Scallion Flatbread then try their Crab Rangoon or Crispy Pork Dumplings. Their Wagyu Beef and Chinese Broccoli Chow Fun is also an elevated spin on a classic.
Where: 1520 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202
12. Wong Way Veg
WongWayVeg is a food truck doing vegan spins on comfort food. This year in celebration of Chinese New Year they’re doing two dim sum celebrations on two different days, and you have to reserve in advance on their website. They’re doing a three course dinner at Art Gym, which you have to book for, plus a Take&Bake on Sunday, where you can pick up ready-made dim sum. Check out their website for all the details.
Where: 1460 Leyden St, Denver, CO 80220
13. Star Kitchen
Star Kitchen is a traditional, buffet-style where carts are rolling, dishes are clattering, and there’s a long list of scrumptious menu items ranging from fish to dumplings to dim sum to meat. The Barbecued Roasted Duck seems like a fan-favorite as well as the Sliced Chicken in Orange Sauce and the amazing plates of full, fried, seasoned flounder.
Where: 2917 W Mississippi Ave, Denver, CO 80219
14. Flower Pepper
An authentic Chinese home-cooking type of place, Flower Pepper is the perfect spot to grab something for Lunar New Year. One of the best dishes in the Chinese gastronomy is Dan Dan Noodles, and Flower Pepper does a great, spicy version. Their Sparerib noodles can’t be compared and they also do a delicious chicken and leek dumpling that you’d be hard-missed not to give a try.
Where: 2655 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
15. Q House
Q House is a delicious spot on Colfax where you can dig into made by the Chef Christopher Lin, son of immigrant parents from Taiwan. Try their Warm Sesame Noodles, Duck Lo Mein, or Salt & Pepper Head-On Shrimp. Wash it all down with a specialty cocktail like their Cucumber Negroni or their Lychee Martini. For dessert, you can try their house specialty, a Coconut Cheesecake.
Where: 3421 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
16. HuaKee BBQ
Tucked away in Westminster is this no-frills Chinese restaurant broiling, searing, and grilling delicious meats and veggies in the Cantonese-style. Try duck, pork, spare ribs and more accompanied by fried rice, white rice, noodles, veggies, and more for an extremely filling and nutritious lunch box.
Where: 5072 W 92nd Ave, Westminster, CO 80031
Shanghainese-style food abounds at Fortune Wok to Table. Fresh or raw ingredients are often doused in homemade condiments–think of flavors like sweet and sour–plus, soup dumplings are a staple. The Cherry Creek favorite has a simple menu that packs a punch in flavor, and is considered one of the neighborhood’s best finds.
Where: 2817 E 3rd Ave e, Denver, CO 80206
18. KP Asian Cafe
KP Asian Cafe is all about expanding your taste buds to lesser known regional dishes in different corners of China. You can try an assortment of different meats-scallops, boiled beef, beef brisket and tendon, in spicy Szechuan sauce, or different cooking styles of typical meats, like their Dry Smoke Pork served over Veggies. We’d also recommend their Hong-King style wonton soup with handmade rice noodles, dumplings, and veg.
Where: 12201 E Mississippi Ave #111, Aurora, CO 80012
One of the only spots in Denver where you can try Huiayang cuisine, hailing from China’s eastern region, with a tendency to feature fresh fish and vegetables caught locally. They’ve got dishes that span across all of China and dishes you’d be familiar with, but if you’d like to try something from the Huiayang region, order the Yangzhou fried rice or noodles made with Chinese sausage, chicken, and shrimp and the Striped Bass steamed whole with either ginger onion sauce or served crispy with garlic sauce.
Where: 91 W Mineral Ave #100, Littleton, CO 80120
20. Yuan Wonton
This little food truck serves fresh and piping hot dumplings that have quickly made a name for themselves. Find the location via their Instagram and either order in advance or order at the truck, though we do warn you there’s typically a line or there’s a chance your favorite dish might have sold out already. Try their delicious Szechuan chili oil dumplings or Hong Kong style wontons with park and shrimp.