Dairy Free Asian Food in New York City

Dairy Free Asian Food in New York City

Dairy Free Asian Food in New York City

Not long after I started writing this blog, I talked about how Asian cuisine is often the safest bet for us dairy free folks.  Now that I have been refining my Dairy Free New York City pages (regarding Manhattan and the Outer Boroughs), those pages are taking on more of the style of essays, rather than lists of hyperlinks.  So I thought it might be useful to start to make lists here of all the various categories that go into encompassing the opportunities that exist for dairy free people here in New York City.  And this will be the first such list.

Within this list, I have broken it down further into specific cuisines/cultures.  I am starting it off, however, with the very popular mixture of Asian cultures, Asian Fusion.  Then after that, I will go with the different groups, starting with the most common, Chinese, and then proceeding to Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern.  Regarding the last of these, when I first thought of making this list, I completely left that off, only thinking of the cuisines that come from the Far East.  But then it occurred to me how many falafel sandwiches I’ve eaten over the years (as well as hummus, and so on), and generally how safe it is for dairy free eating (yeah, you have to watch out for yogurt sometimes, but more often, the white sauce will be sesame seed-based tahini).  So whether you think of Middle Eastern food as coming from Turkey, or Lebanon, or Israel, or somewhere else, I am including that here.

Check back from time to time, because I will add more restaurants as I write their reviews.  And look for other posts of lists on other NYC-related topics, coming up soon!

Asian Fusion:

Spice Market.  Exotic, romantic locale.  First-rate Asian fusion food.  A place we always try to hit during Restaurant Week.

Morimotos.  Like most people, we’ve been fans of Chef Morimoto from Iron Chef for many years.  So we were thrilled to visit his restaurant during Restaurant Week of the winter of 2014.  And we had a great culinary experience – great sake, great food.  Definitely had to be on my toes dairy-wise than I normally would in an Asian restaurant – Chef Morimoto likes to add butter to some of his dishes.


Chinatown Egg Roll Hunt.  OK, this is not a restaurant, but an adventure that Therese and I went on, to find the iconic deep-fried Chinese appetizer.  I have found good egg rolls since I wrote this post, so there will be an update at some point.

No. 1 Little House.  A popular spot for weekday take out in the Wall Street area.  And yes, they have good egg rolls, as well as many other NYC Chinese restaurant staples like shrimp with lobster sauce.

Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle & Dumpling.  Many of the best Chinese restaurants in New York City are in, duh, Chinatown, and many of those are off-the-beaten-path, on side streets in hole-in-the-wall joints like this one.  Their bag of frozen dumplings to take away is a great bargain, and to eat in, the soups are rich and hearty.  And the noodle maker slamming the large fat noodles on the counter in the back of the restaurant is part entertainment and part atmosphere-setting.

Golden Unicorn.  A temple to Dim Sum.  Saturday is the day to be there.  Don’t be worried about the long waiting list (it moves quickly), but get there early, to be safe.  And while I waited in vain for taro cakes the first time I was there (not a Saturday), the second (a Saturday) I had them, and they were quite yummy.

Biang!  Hand-ripped noodles, wow!  With lamb and cumin. Not exactly what you expect of Chinese food, but this is worth checking out.

Saint’s Alp.  Radish Fritters that are worth the visit all by themselves.  But if you are into the bubble teas, with or without tapioca balls, go for it.  Great place for a pre- or post-date beverage and snack (oh, did I tell you the toast with coconut butter is grand?  It is).


Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop.  I bet you didn’t realize that the one thing missing from your life was knowing how to properly eat a bowl of Japanese ramen.  Well, once you have been to Ivan Ramen’s restaurant in the trendy far west-side [Gotham Market], and have learned, you will come away a better person.

Cherry Restaurant.  Imaginative Japanese food, in a steakhouse atmosphere.  Great sake selection, delivered by the Sake Ninja himself.


Thai Market.  Good Thai food in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine area, in a relaxed, friendly dining room.

Sookk.  Also on the Upper West Side, serving dishes reminiscent of Bangkok street food like Chicken Pumpkin curry.  And standard dishes like Pad Thai and pineapple fried rice as well, if that’s what you’re into.


Banh Mi Zon.  We love banh mi sandwiches, and this is the place we go for them.  In the East Village, which is my favorite NYC neighborhood for food.

Middle Eastern:

Alfanoose.  My go-to in the Financial District for Middle Eastern food at a great price.  Grilled cauliflower is a big hit with us.  And lots of great combos, both vegan and with meat.

Falafellas.  A stand masquerading as a restaurant that sells just two things: chicken shawarma and falafel, either as a sandwich or over rice.  But they do make a nice falafel sandwich!

Aba Turkish Restaurant.  More high-end, authentic Turkish cuisine, from the pita (just like what you get in Kusadasi) to the stuffed grape leaves (sweet with nuts).  And also serving kebabs and lamb chops as any turkish restaurant worth their salt would.

About Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson is an avid traveler, passionate about food and food-related entertainment, completely allergic to dairy. He is founder, owner and principle contributor to "The Dairy Free Traveler" blog. The Dairy Free Traveler perfectly dovetails two of his greatest areas of interest: traveling near and far, and searching for great cuisine (especially dairy free!) The Dairy Free Traveler publishes original material about the dairy free lifestyle, eating the best food in the most interesting destinations around the world. Karl's tours take him from thriving New York City, to exotic Marrakesh, to elegant Paris bistros -- (yes! even Parisians have gotten on the dairy free bandwagon.) The Dairy Free Traveler himself also engages with independent dairy free food producers, highlighting new dairy free product launches and events that support dairy free entrepreneurs. Peterson is among the top 7 most widely read TripAdvisor reviewers in New York City and is repeatedly cited as a Top Contributor at TripAdvisor.com. His reviews have garnered more than 542,000 readers -- half in the U.S., and half among the many countries he has visited around the world. Beyond writing this blog, Peterson is a published author, with contributions to "Savoring Gotham" edited by Andrew F. Smith (published 2015 by Oxford University) and the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese (a bit ironic, yes, but a professional is often asked to stretch beyond their comfort zone!).
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