PHLReview

photo credit: Rachel Lerro

David’s Mai Lai Wah review image
7.6

David's Mai Lai Wah Chinese

$$$$

1001 Race St, Philadelphia
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Going to David’s Mai Lai Wah is a Philadelphia rite of passage. Not for dinner, but at 2am on a Saturday when people swarm this Chinese spot after a night of drinking. That’s when this restaurant effectively turns into a post-party fever dream with food that can ward off even the worst hangover.

This long-standing staple in Chinatown serves a wide range of Chinese food, like fried dumplings, mu shoo beef pancakes, and seven different types of egg foo young. Everything is good - especially after six drinks and dancing to Sean Paul on top of a speaker - but the one thing you absolutely need to get is the salt and pepper wings. They’re cooked perfectly, with a thin layer of crispy skin on the outside. And at only $7.50 for 10 wings, you might be tempted to order their whole supply and carry out the leftovers wrapped up in your jacket.

David’s Mai Lai Wah review image

photo credit: Rachel Lerro

More memorable than the food, though, is what’s happening around you while you’re here. The late-night crowd is a microcosm of every single type of person that lives in Philadelphia - from huge groups of Temple students to drag queens who just finished a show at Woody’s to 50-year-old divorcees who “haven’t partied like this in years.” You’ll see smeared eyeliner, broken heels, and at least one person crying and/or asleep in a corner booth. It sounds weird - and if you’re not on the same level as everyone else it definitely can be. But mostly it’s fun, and it’s one of the few restaurants that everyone in the city can agree is great. At least for a couple of hours in between drinking, eating, and then climbing into bed.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.


By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown

Salt And Pepper Wings

These wings aren’t slathered in spicy buffalo sauce, but instead simply fried and sprinkled with some salt and pepper. They’re only $7.50, and they’re the best late-night food you’ll find in the city.

David’s Mai Lai Wah review image

Fried Pork Dumplings

There’s nothing super special about the fried pork dumplings, but it’s the sauce that makes these worth ordering. It’s almost like a salsa with lots of salt and garlic, and it’s delicious.

Mu Shoo Beef Pancakes

If your normal late-night move is to drive through Taco Bell and get a bunch of chalupa supremes, try the mu shoo beef pancakes from David’s as an alternative. They’re like little burritos filled with salty soy-marinated beef and cabbage, and they’re better than anything you’d get from a drive-through.

Vegetable Egg Foo Young

This is basically an egg omelette over rice. While it won’t change your life, it will fill you up - which is really what you need at 2am after a long night.

Featured in

The Best Restaurants In Center City guide image

The Best Restaurants In Center City

The Best Restaurants In Chinatown guide image

The Best Restaurants In Chinatown

Suggested Reading

Rangoon review image
Review
Rangoon

Rangoon is a Burmese place in Chinatown that’s good for sharing a bunch of family-style dishes with a big group.

Tom’s Dim Sum review image
7.6
Review
Tom’s Dim Sum

Tom’s Dim Sum in Chinatown is the best alternative when there’s a long wait at Dim Sum Garden.

Dim Sum Garden review image
7.3
Review
Dim Sum Garden

Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown is affordable and BYOB, which makes it a serviceable spot anytime you want their excellent soup dumplings.

Terakawa Ramen review image
8.0
Review
Terakawa Ramen

Terakawa in Chinatown has some of the best ramen in the city.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store