Looking for Charleston’s best Chinese food? Sure, there’s plenty of Chinese-American spots to choose from, but where can you get something worth your money? Look here for our top four picks.
Eastside Chinese spot Hot Mustard may not be winning any culinary awards any time soon, but the restaurant’s takeout and delivery game is on point. Most times, you can rely on the delivery person to be on your doorstep within 30 minutes of placing the order. And if you’re lucky, it will be the guy in the loud Hawaiian shirt that is blasting ‘80s rock from his hot rod.
Compared to other Americanized Chinese restaurants, Hot Mustard seems the most generous with the portions and the meat-to-noodle ratio. The pork lo mein or the sweet and sour chicken are reliable choices. This is eat-out-of-the-box-type of Chinese food — best served while sitting on the couch, watching Netflix, and in your pajamas.
428 Meeting Street
North Charleston restaurant Jackrabbit Filly is like if someone said, “Make Chinese-American comfort food, but make it chef-y.” Owners Shuai and Corrie Wang opened the restaurant after years of running acclaimed food truck Short Grain.
The menu has touches of Chinese and Japanese. There’s miso-glazed market fish with Sichuan potatoes, Singapore fried rice with ham, and a highly-sought-after chirashi bowl. The restaurant is open with limited indoor and outdoor seating, but it also accepts online orders for pick up.
4628 Spruill Avenue
James Island Sichuan restaurant Kwei Fei has enough peppercorns and punk-rock sensibility to keep any dinner interesting. Owners David Schuttenberg and Tina Heath-Schuttenberg moved from New York to Charleston for another restaurant project, but when that didn’t pan out, the culinary community lucked out when they decided to bring Sichuan flavors to town.
Pre-pandemic, the restaurant was always packed with locals enjoying lamb dumplings, spicy noodles, and mapo tofu to the soundtrack of loud rock and funk music. Seating is limited now, but takeout is available online for pickup or delivery.
1977 Maybank Hwighway
Red Orchids China Bistro
Kelly and Tony Chu opened Red Orchids China Bistro in 2002 in West Ashley. Since then, locals know that it is the top restaurant for family-style Chinese-American cuisine. The menu is like a list of the greatest hits, from egg drop soup to moo goo gai pan to shrimp pancit.
Before the pandemic, friends and families would pack the dining room to share a bottle of wine and heaping plates of soul-warming food. Stop in or call to place a to-go order.
1401 Sam Rittenburg Boulevard
Xiao Bao Biscuit
Downtown restaurant Xiao Bao Biscuit (XBB) has been around since 2012. The kitchen draws from different regions across Asia and delivers on some solid Chinese choices. The mapo tofu is some of the best in town, and the dumplings always satisfy. Pre-COVID, XBB was always packed with lively customers looking for Asian comfort foods. Now, the restaurant offers takeout, delivery via Grubhub, and outdoor dining. Also, check out sister establishment Tu for Asian street food to go.
224 Rutledge Avenue