PHLReview

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Ray's Cafe & Tea House image
8.3

Ray's Cafe & Tea House

ChineseCoffee

Chinatown

$$$$Perfect For:Dim SumCoffee & A Light BiteWalk-InsPeople WatchingTakeawayAfternoon TeaSmall PlatesSerious Take-Out OperationCasual Weeknight Dinner

Included In

There's nowhere else in Chinatown where we’d rather drink rare tea, slurp Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and eat piles of juicy pork and leek dumplings. When you walk into this breakfast and lunch spot, you’ll see old-school maps on the wall, siphon coffee machines with water boiling in glass bulbs, and cooks spooning pork filling into thin-skinned wrappers. It’s the kind of completely relaxed room that'll make you feel like you snuck into someone's aunt’s house and she’s insisting you stay for soup. You can't say no to Evelyn. Or that soup.

This is the food spread at Ray's Tea Cafe, which includes dumplings, tea, siphon coffee, and noodle soup.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is a picture of Ray's Cafe & Tea House's exterior.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is the counter at Ray's Cafe & Tea House with dried teas fro sale.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is someone pouring tea at Ray's Cafe & Tea House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is the interior of Ray's Cafe & Tea House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

This is the food spread at Ray's Tea Cafe, which includes dumplings, tea, siphon coffee, and noodle soup.
This is a picture of Ray's Cafe & Tea House's exterior.
This is the counter at Ray's Cafe & Tea House with dried teas fro sale.
This is someone pouring tea at Ray's Cafe & Tea House.
This is the interior of Ray's Cafe & Tea House.

The long menu of dumplings, combo specials, noodles, and stir-fry dishes make Ray’s a great option for lunch (though the cafe opens at 8am). We usually inhale the dumpling sampler, which comes with pork with nappa cabbage, vegetables, pork and leek, and curry chicken. But if you’re looking for a non-dumpling option, get the beef noodle soup with thick noodles, tender beef, and a slightly salty broth that works as an antidote to Philly winter. Grab a bowl, demolish it in between sips of rare tea or siphon coffee—the owner wanders around giving out tips about how to heat red oolong tea so you don’t burn the leaves—and you'll have a comfort meal that makes even the longest of weeks seem a little shorter.

Food Rundown

This is the dumpling sampler from Ray's Cafe & Tea House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Dumplings

Dumplings come a few ways here. There's pork with napa cabbage, vegetable, pork and leek, pan-fried curry chicken, or you can get all of the above in one go. We suggest this last option. Like Philly sports teams, we can’t decide which is our favorite. They’re all mildly sweet, with sauteed vegetables hiding in the fillings, and a peppery kick.
A bowl of the beef noodle soup at Ray's Cafe & Tea House

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

Beef Noodle Soup

Their Taiwanese beef noodle soup is a generous meal all by itself. At least two people could split this bowl of tender beef shank, bok choy rafts, and noodle ribbons. It’s one of those soups we think of whenever the temperature drops to “see your breath” territory. We like to mix chili oil and chopped mustard greens into the steaming broth to add some extra heat and funk. But taste the broth by itself first, which already has a bit of a kick from warming spices and pepper. You might not need anything but that pleasant slap of salty, meaty heat.
The house special soup with shrimp, egg, and broccoli at Ray's Cafe & Tea House.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO

House Special Soup

When you order this, the person next to you is going to ask you what you’re eating. The soup combines chewy noodles, fried egg, jumbo shrimp, chunks of chicken, pork, and vegetables into one bowl-shaped house. Despite the lineup of proteins, it’s still a little more subtle in flavor than the beef noodle soup. Think of this like a soy-heavy chicken noodle soup or a salty hot tub for one.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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