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Baltimore’s NiHao is No. 4 on Esquire magazine’s list of America’s best new restaurants

Pichet Ong, managing partner, and Lydia Zhang, an owner of NiHao, in a dining room of the Canton restaurant. June 11, 2020.
Pichet Ong, managing partner, and Lydia Zhang, an owner of NiHao, in a dining room of the Canton restaurant. June 11, 2020. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Although local leaders are urging people to continue staying home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, you can still try new Baltimore restaurants. And according to Esquire, NiHao in Canton is a must to add to your list.

The magazine named the contemporary Chinese restaurant No. 4 on its list of 23 best new restaurants in America released Tuesday.

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NiHao was one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in Baltimore before it opened a few months ago. Its owner and executive chef, Peter Chang, is credited with elevating Sichuan offerings in the Mid-Atlantic region. Chang’s wife, Lisa, their daughter, Lydia, and the pastry chef Pichet Ong helped the vision come alive.

NiHao, a Canton restaurant, offers a Peking Duck To Go Set that includes a meal plus ingredients to make duck noodle soup. June 11, 2020.
NiHao, a Canton restaurant, offers a Peking Duck To Go Set that includes a meal plus ingredients to make duck noodle soup. June 11, 2020. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

And that combination, according to Esquire’s Jeff Gordinier makes for a “categorization-defying Chinese restaurant that pays loving, absurdly delicious tribute to the ways that Chinese cooking is interpreted around the world.”

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“That may sound like a lot to undertake — hopscotching gleefully, as it does, from crab rangoon to Peking duck to cold tofu with century egg to (hey, why not?) a Basque-style cheesecake,” Gordinier wrote. “But remember, this is a family band, not a solo act. And rules are for amateurs.”

It’s not the first time a Baltimore restaurant has made a top Esquire list.

Last year, Le Comptoir du Vin in Station North was named the sexiest third-date spot in America. The Elk Room, Rye, The Brewer’s Art and Bad Decisions have also previously been featured on Esquire’s Best Bars lists.

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