You might know Orlando for Disney World, Universal, and SeaWorld, but did you know this sunny tourist destination was recently voted as America’s Top Food City for 2023 by WalletHub? The diversity of cuisine, including Chinese, makes Orlando a delicious place to visit.
Picking Orlando’s “best” Chinese restaurant is like choosing a favorite child: impossible. They all have different personalities. There’s Cantonese dim sum, spicy Sichuan, and fragrant Hunan dishes. Whether you’re a fan of spicy or subtle, meat or veggies, there’s a dish for you.
Many of our favorite Chinese restaurants are congregated in two locations: the Mills 50 area and Chinatown Plaza. Mills 50 is one of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, just north of downtown. Chinatown, west of downtown, is easy to find with its traditional Paifang, or arches.
Take your time in these areas, since there are also Chinese markets and shops waiting to be explored. A few other top places are scattered around town, but worth the hunt.
My Top 3 Picks of the Best Chinese Restaurants in Orlando
|Taste of Chengdu
|Eggplant in Garlic Sauce
|Chuan Lu Garden
|Ma Po Tofu
|Kung Fu Kitchen
|Pork Xiao Long Bao
Orlando’s 7 Must-Try Chinese Restaurants
1237 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States // +14078968988
Pan-fried noodles and barbecue pork are the main draw here, and the reason why it’s one of the best Chinese restaurants in Orlando. The Beef Chow Fun tosses wide rice noodles with tender strips of beef and green onions. Slightly smoky flavors from the wok and noodles with just the right texture are why people crave this dish.
A great way to sample the pork at this no-frills shop is to order the BBQ combination appetizer so you can try both the Sliced roast pork and BBQ Pig with Crispy Skin. Add the Roasted Duck and make it a three BBQ Combination.
Tasty Wok serves one of my favorite vegetables: Snow Pea Tips. Tender like spinach but milder, these delicate leafy greens deserve a spot on your plate.The Deep Fried Dough Sticks are typically eaten at breakfast, but no one will mind if you order them at lunch or dinner.
Try the Stir Fry Beef with Bitter Melon for a chance to try this unusual green squash-like vegetable paired with succulent slices of beef. You can order a boba tea or smoothie to wash it all down.
1101 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32803, United States // +14078688709
If I had a Chinese grandmother, I would go to her house to eat. But I don’t, so I head to Chuan Lu Garden for homestyle, comforting dishes. It won a place in my heart when I came back from two years of living in China and craved a taste of “home.” Here’s why it also won a place in my best Chinese restaurants in Orlando list.
If it’s just my family we slide into a booth; with a group, we sit at one of the round tables with a lazy susan or call ahead for a private banquet room. It’s a popular place to celebrate Chinese New Year, and often the lion dancers make a guest appearance.
The menu is extensive, covering dim sum snacks, barbecue, hot pot, noodle dishes, stir fry and more. It’s hard to know where to begin. My go-to items are Ma Po Tofu, a bit salty from the pork and moderately spicy. Don’t like tofu? Try it anyway – it might change your mind.
The La Zi Chicken will make your mouth buzz from Sichuan peppers. You can’t go wrong with dumplings, and try the Pan Fried String Beans and Braised eggplant too. The lamb skewers remind me of my favorite palace in Beijing.
2030 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32804, United States // +14078391983
Who would guess that a Chinese restaurant that started off in a budget-friendly motel would attract the attention of Michelin inspectors? That’s just what happened when Taste of Chengdu’s second location earned a Bib Gourmand designation this year for exceptional food and value.
Chef Tiger Tang has earned a following in Orlando for classic Sichuan dishes elevated to a high standard with fresh ingredients and skillful cooking. Dishes are colorful, fragrant, and packed with flavor. Don’t be put off by fears of mouth-burning levels of spicy.
Sichuan peppercorns figure prominently, as do dried red chilis, but there are plenty of tamer choices. The Green Tea Fried Rice, Salt and Pepper Shrimp, and Chicken with Broccoli are tasty options on the lower end of the Scoville scale of spiciness.
Those who can take the heat should try the Cumin Lamb, Dan Dan Noodles, and Dry Wok vegetables (love those lotus roots!). The Eggplant in Garlic sauce, a fusion of spicy and sweet, contends with Chuan Lu Garden for top notch eggplant dishes as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Orlando.
5148 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32808, United States // +14079303188
You might accuse me of being a serial eater when it comes to Chinese food, because I tend to order some of the same dishes everywhere. Hunan Taste combines two of my favorites into one dish. The Sauteed String Beans and Eggplant brings me double happiness.
With a hint of vinegar popular in Hunan cooking, the Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce is another favorite. The Shredded Potatoes with Salted Egg have a tangy spicy flavor, which is why I like them. Don’t forget the Scallion Pancakes to wipe up any sauce you missed.
There’s a lot to love at Hunan Taste, from seafood dishes in chili oil to cured meats and noodle dishes. Either bring friends to explore more of the menu or plan a return visit this gem amongst the Chinese restaurants in Orlando.
1212 Woodward St., Orlando, FL 32803, United States // +14078989672
When the topic of dim sum comes up, Ming’s Bistro is one of the first places that comes to mind. For the uninitiated, dim sum is a style of Chinese (typically Cantonese) eating that involves lots of small dishes. Think steamed buns, dumplings, and other tasty morsels.
It’s great fun to take the family or group of friends because you can try lots of dishes. I recommend going on a weekend because that’s when the carts roll into action. One is laden with steamer baskets filled with small dishes; a second has plates of larger meat and vegetable dishes.
Dim sum is available from the menu at other times, but if you’re not familiar with the items, getting to choose what looks good as the cart rolls by is easier. Servers lift the lid from the steamer baskets, explaining the contents. It’s like a rolling buffet, but you pay by the dish.
Grab some chicken feet and spicy beef tripe or let them roll on by. You might opt instead for the pork spring rolls, egg custard, or shrimp dumplings. The siu mai are tasty little packets filled with seasoned pork and tender shrimp, encased in a dumpling wrapper. Grab a few baskets.
A second cart rolls by with pork belly, pineapple buns, stuffed eggplant, turnip cake and dumplings. A few vegetable dishes and other meats round things out. You can eat the dishes at room temperature or have it heated up.
The barbecue pork is a meaty, fattier version of this red-rimmed takeout favorite. The sweet, crackly topped pineapple buns should be on your list too.
5126 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32808, United States // +14074207916
Never had Chinese barbecue? Friendship BBQ is a user-friendly place to begin. It’s located in Chinatown Plaza, so you can pop next door to Enson Market after your meal to check out the selection of Asian produce, snacks, and spices. Talk about one of the best Chinese restaurants in Orlando.
Barbecue is a social event in China, and it usually involves lots of meat skewers and beer. Friendship BBQ has both of these and more. You can come at lunch time, but dinnertime and late-night is when this place gets hopping.
It’s bright and clean, with lots of neon. The TV plays music videos in Mandarin, and a sign on the wall says “Just Lu It.” Loosely translated from Mandarin, “lu chuan’r” means “eat barbecue.” Chuan’r is the word for skewers, which is what I suggest you order.
Scan the menu from the QR code on your table and scroll through pages of skewers, from chicken heart and lamb kidney to mini sausages and Wagyu beef. I suggest ordering a few lamb skewers, which come three to an order.
Don’t skip the vegetables. The Potato Chips are thin planks of Russets seasoned with cumin and spice. Green beans and mushrooms are popular too. The organic Cauliflower is delicate and tender, with slightly sweet sauce, unlike the white cauliflower we serve with Ranch dressing.
The skewers arrive already cooked, and set on a warming grill. There are also DYI options, like hot pot skewers and raw meat you can cook tableside. Add some fried rice, or grilled toast and a few bottles of beer and settle in for the night.
8466 Palm Parkway, Orlando, FL 32836, United States // +14077781649
Every now and then I just want to slurp some noodles. I don’t care if they are stir-fried or in soup. They could be thin, pulled strands (la mian) or thick knife carved slices (dao xiao mian). That’s what you’ll find here, in one of the best Chinese restaurants in Orlando.
There’s something about a good bowl of savory, slippery Chinese noodles that hit the spot. Thanks to the recently-opened Kung Fu Kitchen, I now have a new place to get my fix.
The menu is an easy-to-read grid; pick the noodle style you want, preparation (in soup or wok-fried) and protein. Choose from spicy beef, chicken, roast duck, shrimp, or vegetables. The soup noodles are swimming in a 12-hour simmered broth, bok choy, and scallions.
The stir-fry ramen noodles with chicken arrived steaming hot. Plenty of fresh carrots, onion, bok choy, and bean sprouts give the dish a pleasing, fresh crunch. The hand-pulled noodles had just the right springy bite, making a winning combination of textures and flavors.
Another one of my favorite Chinese dishes to slurp is the iconic soup dumplings. Kung Fu Kitchen’s pork xiao long bao are little juicy pork morsels swimming in broth, all wrapped in tender dumpling skin. My only regret is the small spoons couldn’t catch every drop of soup.
There are plenty of tantalizing side dishes and other dumplings to try, like the green-skinned vegetable dumplings, scallion pancake with sliced beef, and cucumber salad. Come hungry and bring friends.
Chinese Restaurants in Orlando: Wrap Up
The Orlando Chinese food scene is bursting with options, like a juicy dumpling. As more barbecue, dumpling, and dim sum places open, we’re no longer limited to orange chicken and egg rolls.
Why not liven your palate with a few Sichuan peppercorns or smoky, wok-fried noodles? Take this guide as a starting point to finding your favorite.
Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:
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Kirsten Harrington is an Orlando, Florida freelance food and travel writer. Her work has
appeared in WhereTraveler, The Seattle Times, Edible Orlando, The Beijinger, GoNOMAD,
World Footprints, and numerous other publications. When she’s not writing, you can find her
scoping out new adventures, hiking or enjoying a meal with her family. Visit
www.kirstenharrington.com for more.