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Get Outta Town

Kora's Insider-y Tour of New York's Chinatown

Get Outta Town BY carlye wisel 11/08/2012

When the rad gal behind Kora’s earthy-sleek bangles and hammered brass cuffs raved about a candy shop below Canal Street that she calls her “happy place,” we were desperate to know more about her downtown hangs. Ends up Maxandra Short’s love affair with Chinatown goes all the way back to her childhood—she spent her formative years growing up in Southeast Asia. From tea wonderlands to kung-foo shoes joints (seriously), here’s her tour of the neighborhood’s coolest—and possibly weirdest—spots. 


Aji Ichiban: “I am a candy freak. So is my brother—we can both chart the course of our childhoods through candy. Middle school for me was all about these Japanese gummies that I’d get in Jakarta, and I was also obsessed with Polo mints. Whenever I see them, I am brought right back there. Whenever I go to Aji Ichiban, I’m literally giddy with the thought of so much sugar. I always stop here after dim sum and stock up on strawberry sour belts—which they sell by the pound—crystallized ginger, and Pockys.”

Sunshine 27: “Dim sum is a pretty constant Sunday family ritual—and has been since we lived in London, ironically enough. There are a few in our rotation. This is the best and most authentic, food and atmosphere-wise. It also gets insanely packed, so you have to get there early, or wait an hour. It’s not for the faint of heart—the dim sum carts whip around the room at a frenetic pace, so sometimes you have to throw yourself in front of them—but it’s well worth it.”



Nom Wah Tea Parlor: “They serve dim sum all day, which is good if you’ve gotten a late start. It has a lovely vintage vibe to it and is much calmer than Sunshine 27.”

88 Optical: “This has been my go-to eye place for years now. I either get my glasses here or have them fit lenses to vintage pairs I bring in, and they do an incredible job.”



Nyonya: ”Nyonya is the best Malaysian restaurant in the city. I also love people-watching from one of the window tables. Get the Hainan chicken rice and the roticanai, a warm puffy pancake that you dip into this amazing curry.”

Ten Ren Tea Time: “My place for bubble tea. And two doors down, Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Co. has every kind of tea imaginable. I’m particularly fond of their loose-leaf jasmine tea.”


Grand Sichuan (Canal Street): “To my utter horror, I discovered recently that Grand Sichuan is currently closed—but only temporarily, thank god, while they build a hotel above it or something. This chain is, hands down, the best Sichuan food in Manhattan, and the Canal Street location is the best of all the many Grand Sichauns. People will want to fight me on this, but I’m sticking to my guns.  I love to come here with massive groups of friends and share a hot pot, insanely spicy Sichuan dishes, and a lot of Tsingtao.”

Bok Lei Po Trading: ”This is a martial-arts supply store on Mott Street. I go here for Feiyue sneakers—apparently a favorite of Shaolin monks & kung-fu masters—and black slip-on slippers, but if you’re in the market for ninja stars or swords, this is the place for you, too.”





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