Award-winning Chinese food in Baltimore

We enjoy Chinese food, and as it turns out, Baltimore is home to an up-and-coming Chinese restaurant that is a finalist for a James Beard Award – one of the nation’s most prestigious restaurant honors.

The team at NiHao, an authentic Chinese restaurant that took the local scene by storm when it opened in July 2020, has received a nomination for Best New Restaurant. The James Beard recognition comes on the heels of NiHao ranking No. 4 on Esquire’s Best New Restaurants list in 2020.

The initial Chinese population came to Baltimore because of the transcontinental railroad, but the Chinese population never exceeded 400 as of 1941, according to historians.

What’s more, “Chinese children were classified as ‘white’ and went to the white schools. Chinatown was largely gone by the First World War due to urban renewal,” according to a citation in Wikipedia.

NiHao is an expression of Chinese greeting, a hello, a casual ice breaker that usually follows with “have you eaten yet?”

“We’re honored and pleasantly surprised,” owner Lydia Chang said about the national honor in Baltimore Magazine. “We want to thank Baltimore City for the love and support over the past year and a half.”

We ordered “to go” and had:

-Half Peking Duck (sweet & savory sauces, whole wheat buns)

-Kung Pao Chicken (cashew, peppers, sweet potato)

-Crispy Eggplant (charred eggplant, Sichuan pickled cabbage)

It all was delicious.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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