- Kirkus: "With its deliciously depicted restaurant setting and knowing perspective on Chinese-American culture, this novel is two-thirds cultural comedy. The other third is something deeper and sadder. A writer to watch."
- Publisher Weekly: "With echoes of Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster, Li’s insightful debut takes readers behind the scenes of a Chinese restaurant, the Beijing Duck House, in Rockville, MD."
- Shelf Awareness: "A smart combination of Chinese American life, service industry travails and the ups and downs of belonging to a family, Number One Chinese Restaurant will make great discussion fare for book clubs."
- Book List: "Li ... distinctly showcases her literary pedigree in this raucous, bittersweet non-love story across cultures, generations, morals, and other seemingly impossible divides."
- The Wall Street Journal: "So expertly does first-time novelist Lillian Li conjure the Beijing Duck House, a gaudy, tatterdemalion restaurant in Rockville, Md., that readers ... can almost taste its signature dish and feel the heat of its woks."
- The Village Voice: "Li humanizes cruelty. Where another would look away, she dives under a microscope, determined to see it clearly. The result is a wonderfully honest portrait of what it takes to make it in America."
- Asian Review of Books: "Li is successful in bringing depth and shape to the lives of those often found behind the scenes."
- South China Morning Post: "Li’s complex characters may remind readers of those in the acclaimed short stories of Flannery O’Connor, one of America’s greatest fiction writers. And Li is the kind of author who, to quote O’Connor, is 'interested in what we don’t understand rather than in what we do'."