Everyone constantly asks me for suggestions on "where to go in Chinatown". I used to suggest more tour guide friendly answers. Recently, people have been asking me more specifically, "Where do you personally go in Chinatown?" Well here's the honest answer...
Usually I start my mornings before work getting breakfast (after all it is the most important meal of the day!) by going to Yuen Yuen on Bayard Street. Here I get a large fresh squeezed orange juice for a mere $2 and change. The little lady who runs the shop is a cute little 'paw paw' (Grandma).
Then I head over to Hsin Wong which is located across the street from my store. I'm always greeted wth a smile and the cook usually remembers my order. I tend to be a creature of habit so I usually order the congee with pork and preserved egg (pay dan sau yook jewk) and a bread cruller. This delicious meal comes out to be less than $5. Nothing is better than some hot food in your stomach on a cold morning.
With all this yummy food, I am ready to start my day! =)
In between work, if I can sneak out for a bit...I get my occasional hair cut and highlights at Sunny Hair Salon on 11 Pell Street. I always ask for Sunny (the owner) to personally to cut or color my hair. Michelle also does a very good job. The prices are extremely reasonable and the hair washes using reflexology is very relaxing.
Since I do lots of manual labor at CICF, I do get an occasional back massage. I skip over to Pell Street for my $15 back massage. Can't beat that price!
For dinner I almost always hop over to Moonhouse which is located right next door to CICF. My close friend Jeanie's family owns it. I will personally say that I have never had food made with such love. My favorites are the Moonhouse Casserole and the Soup Dumplings with Crab. It's a gourmet meal that won't hurt your budget.
I also do like the Vietnamese-Chinese cuisine from Bo Ky Restaurant on Bayard Street. Their restaurant is also a second generation family business which gives it a lot of character. The food is excellent at dirt cheap prices. It's always busy so you know that everything is always fresh! I love the pho with beef! I am also a fan of their country style duck.
Good luck on your future adventures in Chinatown!