Sunset Park doesn’t often get mentioned as a destination in New York. Situated in southwest Brooklyn, the neighborhood is a mix of residential and industrial, known for its row houses and waterfront district. At its border is Green-Wood Cemetery, the final resting place for more than half a million people since 1838, and a popular outdoor space that offers visitors expansive views of Manhattan and the city harbor. But many tourists will never step foot on its streets, and some locals will go their whole lives here without once paying Sunset Park a visit.

And that’s a shame, because Sunset Park offers far more than famous tombstones and nice vistas. Hop on the N or R train, and you’ll find yourself transported to a diverse, vibrant neighborhood where you can eat like a king for next to nothing. Nowhere is that more true than along 8th Avenue, the home of Brooklyn’s first Chinatown, which dates its beginnings to the 1980s. Back then, residents of Manhattan’s Chinatown, looking for more living space and lower rents, crossed the East River and started settling in the area, which had suffered a significant population downturn in the decades prior. A large wave of immigrants, primarily from China’s Fuzhou province, followed, and in recent years they’ve been joined by an influx of Wenzhounese immigrants from Zhejiang province, along with Mandarin speakers from mainland China as well as newcomers from Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and many more places in East Asia.

8th Ave storefront exterior
8th Ave storefront (Jon Tayler)

Roughly 30,000 Chinese and Chinese-American New Yorkers live on or near the two-mile stretch that is 8th Avenue. The area is dotted with markets, banks, stores, schools, churches and, most of all, restaurants — dozens and dozens of them, ranging from cheap takeout joints to elaborate and elegant dim sum parlors. And though Sunset Park’s Chinatown is no longer the largest Chinese hub in the borough — that distinction now belongs to Bensonhurst — it remains the most well-known, and one well worth your time. But where should you stop to eat when you make the trek out there? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants in the neighborhood.

Pro tip: Many businesses in Sunset Park’s Chinatown are cash only, so be sure to bring paper money so you’re not forced to track down an ATM.

8th Ave N station sign
The 8th Avenue N station is the main stop for Sunset Park's Chinatown (Jon Tayler)

While Cantonese restaurants aren’t as prevalent in Sunset Park as they are in Manhattan, the neighborhood’s best dim sum parlors are a stone’s throw from the 8th Ave N train station at the southern end of the neighborhood. Walk two blocks south past the gigantic Fei Long supermarket and toward the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and you’ll find East Harbor Seafood Palace (714 65th Street), which features a large dining room with white tablecloths and jacketed servers, and the familiar round bamboo trays of dim sum. Slightly closer to the N train, you’ll find Bamboo Garden (6409 8th Avenue), which specializes in roast meats, and Park Asia (6521 8th Avenue); either will fulfill your dim sum desires. Keep in mind that these places are packed on the weekends, so arrive early and be prepared to wait for a table (and be sure to get there by 2 p.m., by which point most every menu option is exhausted). If making an early morning trek to Sunset Park isn’t an option, try stopping by during the week for lunch or dinner; things will still be bustling, but not as hectic.

Dun Huang exterior 2
Dun Huang restaurant (Jon Tayler)

As with Manhattan’s Chinatown, there’s much more to Sunset Park than dim sum, and you don’t have to go far to find it. A couple of minutes from the N train is one of the few restaurants in New York specializing in food from the northwest of China: Dun Huang (817 60th Street). You can find this semi-local chain elsewhere in the city, including Manhattan and Queens, but the Sunset Park outpost is one of only two locations in Brooklyn, and you shouldn’t skip it.

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Lanzhou noodles and a spicy cumin lamb pita burger at Dun Huang (Jon Tayler)

Dun Huang's food hails mainly from China’s Gansu province, including its best offering: Lanzhou beef noodles. Named after the provincial capital, the dish consists of a radish beef broth and hand-pulled noodles, accompanied by slices of beef and beef tendon, scallions and cilantro, plus enough chili oil to turn the soup an iridescent orange. If you’re in the mood for something a little less hefty, the spicy cumin lamb pita burger is a treat, with fatty chunks of lamb bathed in chili oil and stuffed into a toasted pita. They’re perfect meals when it’s cold and blustery outside.

Yun Nan Flavour Garden exterior
Yun Nan Flavour Garden restaurant (Jon Tayler)
Western Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodles exterior
Western Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodles restaurant (Jon Tayler)

The other regional specialty found in Sunset Park is guoqiao, or crossing the bridge noodles, a rice noodle soup originally from Yunnan province in southwest China. At Yun Nan Flavour Garden (5121 8th Avenue), the kitchen turns out bowls of guoqiao all day long, and it’s the main reason to grab a seat at one of their sizable round tables. If you order it, you’ll be brought a bowl of chicken broth big enough to dunk your head into and an assortment of ingredients: noodles, tofu skin, bean sprouts, thinly sliced pork, a quail’s egg, and pieces of Silkie chicken, with its distinctive black skin and bones. It’ll quickly become your favorite chicken noodle soup. For a slightly different take on guoqiao, check out Western Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodles (705 59th Street), where you’ll be presented with more meat options like pork chops and beef brisket as well as add-ins like wood ear mushrooms and Spam.

8th Avenue seafood market crab
A seafood vendor on 8th Avenue tosses a crab back into a box (Jon Tayler)
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A shopper picks out some fish at an 8th Avenue seafood market (Jon Tayler)

As you walk along 8th Avenue, you’ll notice the prevalence of fish markets, with one or two on seemingly every block. Vendors wearing rain boots and heavy rubber aprons loudly call out their wares, piled in trays on the sidewalk; you can buy everything from freshwater fish to eels to giant geoduck clams to abalone to dried cuttlefish to live blue crabs and octopus and sea conches and gargantuan Alaskan king crabs.

Chuan Tian Xia green pepper fish closeup
A bowl of green pepper fish at Chuan Tian Xia (Jon Tayler)

If you can handle the heat, stop in at Chuan Tian Xia (5502 7th Avenue), a Sichuan restaurant that specializes in seafood. A bowl of their green pepper fish is pricey, but it’s also enormous and begs to be split with a group of friends. Tender pieces of tilapia soak in a stew of broth, chili peppers and clusters of Sichuan green peppercorn, with tomatoes and cucumbers to temper the spice. Your tongue will go slightly numb and your lips will tingle, but your stomach will be delighted.

The Roast exterior
Roast 28 restaurant (Jon Tayler)
The Roast roast pig over rice closeup
Roast pig over rice from Roast 28 (Jon Tayler)

If seafood isn’t your bag, Sunset Park has you covered with its bevy of roast meat restaurants, easily identified by the ducks and chickens hanging in the windows. These places will sell you barbecued meat by the pound, but huge cuts of pork aren’t exactly easy to eat on the go. Luckily for you, restaurants like Roast 28 (5124 8th Avenue) or Lucky Eight (5204 8th Avenue) also offer their wares in small servings on the cheap. You can get sweet and savory slices of roast duck or crispy-skinned bricks of roast pig on a bed of rice for less than $10, or you can opt for a combo of meats for roughly the same price. If meat and fish are off the menu for you, check out Lucky Vegetarian (5101 8th Avenue), which has vegan and kosher options.

Hainan Chicken House exterior
Hainan Chicken House restaurant (Jon Tayler)
Hainan Chicken House chicken rice closeup
Hainan chicken rice at Hainan Chicken House (Jon Tayler)

For as varied and eclectic as Sunset Park’s menus are, it can be nice to settle in with some well executed simplicity. That’s the case at Hainan Chicken House (4807 8th Avenue), a Malaysian restaurant that put its own twist on the namesake dish. Their Hainan chicken rice has few frills but loads of flavor: poached chicken dunked in an ice bath after cooking to make the meat moist and tender, served at room temperature alongside rice cooked in rendered chicken fat and chicken broth, rounded out by a small bowl of broth and a trio of dipping sauces. It may not look like much, but you’ll find yourself scooping up every single last grain of rice, seasoned with ginger, garlic and lemongrass, off the butcher paper it’s served on, and gulping down the light but peppery broth. This is a can’t-miss meal.

Ba Xuyen exterior
Ba Xuyen restaurant (Jon Tayler)
Ba Xuyen banh mi closeup
Banh mi at Ba Xuyen

While Chinese food dominates Sunset Park, don’t overlook two of the best Vietnamese sandwich shops in Brooklyn. Ba Xuyen (4222 8th Avenue), in the northern part of the neighborhood, is a small counter joint offering perfectly made banh mi. Their bread is crusty without being dry; the pate is silky and complemented beautifully by the crunchy pickled carrots and daikon; and the jalapenos provide delicate pops of heat and acid. Pair your sandwich with a hot or iced coffee or tea, and grab a freshly baked banh bo nuong — a green pandan-flavored sponge cake — before you leave. Closer to the N train is Little Thanh Da (5624 8th Avenue), the takeout-only offshoot of nearby Thanh Da. Like Ba Xuyen, they specialize in banh mi made to order and that you’ll devour in seconds.

Xin Fa exterior
Xin Fa bakery (Jon Tayler)
Xin Fa interior egg tart trays
Xin Fa bakery (Jon Tayler)
Xin Fa egg tart closeup
A Portuguese egg tart from Xin Fa bakery (Jon Tayler)

Did you leave any room for dessert? Sunset Park’s Chinatown has a handful of bakeries offering grab-and-go buns, most notably Golden Steamer (5224 8th Avenue), a Manhattan Chinatown favorite that brought its sublime pumpkin and salted egg yolk buns across the river to Brooklyn. But the best and most popular bakery in the neighborhood is Xin Fa (5617 8th Avenue). Inside the narrow shop, you’ll find bread, buns, cakes and coffee for sale, and a long line snaking from the door to the counter. Your reward for waiting: the bakery’s specialty, Portuguese egg tarts, which you can buy for $1.75 each. About as wide as a mug, the tarts are made in large batches throughout the day; snag one when it’s fresh out of the oven, and you’ll receive a piping hot combo of creamy egg and soft sweet custard encased in flaky dough featuring a gorgeous crust. It’s the perfect way to end your trip to Sunset Park.

8th Avenue street cat
A cat lounges outside a storefront on 8th Avenue (Jon Tayler)



You can reach Sunset Park via these lines, with the 8th Ave N station being the closest to Chinatown

Plan Trip

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Check out all of our NYC Chinatown Guides: