Taste of Chinatown started off as an annual event, but it was so successful that it's now held twice a year. We got a chance to see why the other night when we got to sample a few dishes from some of the over 50 restaurants that will be offering tastes for $1 or $2 this Saturday from 1 - 6 p.m.

Don't forget to ask for a ballot so you can vote for your favorite eatery. With over 50 restaurants, bakeries, and teahouses dishing up tasting portions of their house specialties and signature dishes, it's bound to be a tough call. When you've had your fill, be sure to enter the fortune cookie writing contest, or check out the Lion Dancing performances at 2:30PM and 4:00PM. The event is rain or shine, and covered tasting stations will be set up from Bowery to Baxter and Canal to Worth Streets. So check out the list of participants, and bring your tasting map (PDF file), which will guide you to tasty Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Singaporean, Japanese and Asian Fusion fare.

Here is what Gothamist sampled:
Jaya Malaysian - 90 Baxter Street
Jaya Malasian will be serving up the spice. We tasted Yang Tao Foo (Stuffed Tofu), and Laksa Noodle, which certainly packed some serious heat. For the more delicate palates among us, they'll also be offering Singapore Mai Fun and Pineapple Coconut Fried Rice.

Doyers Vietnamese - 11 Doyers Street
Doyers Vietnamese will be offering some traditional fare: crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Summer Rolls with Shrimp, refreshing Grilled Beef Papaya Salad, Curry Chicken on Rice, Satay Beef on Rice, Grilled Pork Chop on Rice, Grilled Chicken on Rice, and Grilled Beef on Rice Noodle, served alongside drinks galore. The Mango and Passion Fruit Green Bubble Teas may be familiar to you, but the Sweet Rice & Bean with Coconut Milk and Vietnamese Rainbow Ice Drink are likely to be uncharted territory. The Sweet Rice & Bean with Coconut Milk is sweet enough for dessert, so you might want to plan accordingly.

Hong Kong Station – 45 Bayard Street
A visit to to Hong Kong Station on a regular day allows you to build your own soup with a broth base, noodles, and a variety of ingredients including meat and vegetables in various forms, including Hong Kong-style balls, which are small, round compact cakes designed to float in the soup. We tasted them all: fish balls, curry fish balls, squid balls, fish with black sea moss balls, lobster balls, and beef balls.

Taste of Chinatown will also have lion dances, kids activites and a fortune cookie writing contest! While the map is online (PDF file), you can also pick up a map at the Chinatown information kiosk at Canal and Baxter (looked for the caged dragon).