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Mar 2, 2003 02:49 PM

Dim Sum in Lake Worth

  • m

My son (10 months old) and I are visiting my mom without vegetarian husband in tow. Just got back from a very gratifying dim sum experience at China Pavilion in Lake Worth. Little joint in a strip mall (as is everything down here) on 4463 Lake Worth Road. Since I live in Maine and there's no decent Chinese food for about a hundred miles from where we live, I was deeply grateful for this place. Chinese BBQ items in window, chickens, ducks, chicken feet, pork intestine. Extensive, varied menu, with, unfortunately, lots of shark fin soup offerings. Ahem. Lots of other tasty-looking stuff as well, includig whole sections for conch and abalone. They bill themselves as "New York Style." I'm not familiar enough with regional Chinese food to parse out what that actually means, but we sure enjoyed our meal. My dim sum experience is relatively limited, but I've been to Ton Kiang in SF and I'd say China Pavilion is at least in the ballpark, playing for the farm team.

I had my first experience with chicken feet, which were dark braised, savory, gelatinous and sticky. I liked them. I hope it's okay to eat them with your fingers, because that's what we did. Passed on tripe with slivers of ginger, but tried both the spectacular house dumplings (pork, big chunks of shrimp, veggie, lots of cilantro) and the shrimp dumplings (less complex and impressive), turnip cake, greaseless lacy fried taro dumplings, and sesame crusted rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste. We ordered from the kitchen for my son: greens with fu yee (thanks Big Dog), and the server immediately asked if we wanted the pea shoots. We did. Also ordered soft noodles with veggies, which came with black mushrooms and yau choy. The baby (and I) scarfed both, thinking the noodles were great fun. Awesome baby. I just wish we could have gotten them earlier in the meal, since he fussed until they arrived. Gotta move the dim sum on the carts, I guess.

The servers were incredibly kind and helpful. I noticed a Chinese-only menu there as well, but a Chinese-reading person will need to evaluate.

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  1. Okay, I just read over some of the Ton Kiang reviews (pans) on the San Francisco board. Whoa.

    Let's amend my review to say, China Pavilion is damn good for South Florida.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MU

      Sounds good I am from New York and have eaten in Chinatown (Manhatan and Flushing) and have recently tried China Dumpling and a place called Kingsburg in Boynton Beach . Kingsburg was much better

      1. re: albee

        Is Kingsburg a new place? Perhaps you can tell us something about it because I really would like to know what's better about it than The China Dumpling.

        And, as far as eating in Chinatown, most of us have done that many times - There are few native Floridians in Boynton Beach, the Palm Beaches, Broward or Dade for that matter.

        Anyway, I have no vested interest in extolling the virtues of The China Dumpling. It's just that I have not found much better in my 25 years in the South Florida area.

        The China Dumpling, The Silver Pond and Hong Kong City are the best I've been to. All these specialize in Hong Kong type cooking, which is very much like the old familiar Cantonese; my favorite style.

        What does Kingsburgh specialize in? So, if The China Pavillion in Lake Worth is better, then I'll be sure to try it, too.

        1. re: Chuck

          Note on China Pavilion: We were there at 12:30 on Sunday, and only about a third of the tables were occupied, although the regulars appeared to be pretty darned regular. Please go and make sure this place sticks around -- the management seems really nice. There's also a promising looking Mexican place right next door.

          If nobody makes it there soon, I will see if I can get Mom to try Kingsburg and get a report. I think it's closer to her house anyway.

          Back to Maine tomorrow. See y'all on the New England board!

          1. re: MU

            MU, thank you thank you thank you. This is the best Chinese restaurant in the Delray to Lake Worth area.We felt that we were back in NY Chinatown . Sunday e had the Dim Sum.They have the hanging duck and chicken and believe it or not cuttlefish and cold jellyfish.Will be going back for the regular menu soon.

            1. re: albee

              Yay! Glad I could spread some happy chow-news!

              Was the place still half-empty?

              1. re: MU

                The place was about 75% full on a saturday afternoon.
                I think this is pretty good for an afternoon because Americans cannot get used to eating Chinese food early in the day especially on a weekend.This is strictly a Chinese custom.

    2. Get in your car and head south to Boynton Beach and The China Dumpling! Watch them make the dumplings, noodles, etc. in a beautiful atmosphere - terrific food. Try the Chow Fun with Beef and Black Bean Sauce!

      9 Replies
      1. re: Chuck

        Mom's been there and was underwhelmed. According to her, veggies are fresh, but otherwise food there appeared to be pretty pedestrian Chinese/American fare.

        1. re: Chuck

          I went last week to China Dumpling in the Boynton Beach area and was not that impressed with the quality of their dim sum. I ordered the har gow (shrimp dumpling), shrimp rice paste, beef rice paste, stuffed eggplant, and steamed egg custard. The har gow was a little dry, the stuffed eggplant tasted overcooked and dried. The rice paste items were more rice paste than meat, and the rice paste noodle was more gooey than it should have been. The steamed egg custard was more bun than custard. The Chrysanthemum was good. The quality of service was decent. The lighting, I felt was a little dark for the place.

          Another dim sum place I've been going to as of recent for the past 3 weekends is Golden Lakes Chinese Restaurant, 7750 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach. It's located west of Jog Rd on the south side of Okeechobee Blvd. The closest intersection is Golden Lakes Blvd. The quality of the food is very good. I've ordered the same items that I listed above and am so happy that I've found this place. I'm willing to drive the 20 miles there just to eat at the place. They have over 50 items available on their dim sum menu. Their beef congee is very good. Their service is very good and friendly. They speak Chinese and English so you don't have to worry about a communication barrier. The lighting and the atmosphere is very good. And Unlike China Dumpling that was filled with alot of non-asians, Golden Lakes had the opposite. To me, that's a good sign of a dim sum place.

          I'm going to try out China Pavilion today. I will report back later how it is. I'm hoping to make time next weekend for Kingsburg.

          1. re: boricua_enigma

            I went to China Pavilion yesterday and was satisitified with the results. It's in this out of the way shopping mall, that you have to standing in front of it to see some of the authentic Hong Kong food that hangs in the window; Roasted Duck, Cuttlefish and other items.

            I ordered my usual list of har gow (shrimp dumpling), shrimp rice paste, beef rice paste, stuffed eggplant, and baked egg custard bun. I was very happy with the har gow. The size of the portions were possibly the largest I've seen so far, and the taste was very good. The rice paste items were good, better than China Dumpling, but I still feel Golden Lakes has the edge on them with this. The stuffed eggplant looked exactly like the ones I used to get from Jade Restaurant just off of Main St in Flushing/Queens, New York.

            They do not have a menu, but they do have the carts. They may also be able to make some items request, just ask. They have two different carts, one for steamed items, the other for baked and sweet items. It has a small quaint feel to it. I will be going back soon.

            1. re: boricua_enigma

              Where exactly is China Pavilion and do you know if they have cart service daily or just the weekends? Also, is it only menu service or cars, as well, at Golden Lakes? TIA

              1. re: zook

                China Pavilion is at 4663 Lake Worth Rd, Greenacres, FL (NW corner of Lake Worth Rd and Military Rd) (561) 963-1535. They only offer push carts. They have the basic items, and they serve only on the weekends, with the occasional Friday serving. They offer baked and steamed items. Their hours for dim sum is between 11am and 3pm.

                Golden Lakes is at 7750 Okeechobee Blvd (SE corner of Golden Lakes Blvd and Okeechobee Blvd). They offer 50 items on a menu and push carts. They offer dim sum all week from 11am and 3pm. The push carts run only on the weekends, while the menu is all week.

                Both places offer other items as well. I prefer Golden Lakes for their quality of food, pricing, and atmosphere.

                1. re: boricua_enigma

                  New to the board, but I just wanted to comment on this thread.

                  I have not tried the newer places, but I've been going to Kingsburg for Dim Sum for close to 20 years. Last there about 2 weeks ago and it is still top notch. Also nice that they serve it for dinner, not just lunch.

                  1. re: Lloyd Heilbrunn

                    I have watched this thread for a bit and felt I should add my own comments. This is based on observations over the past few months. My wife and I have tried some of the recommendations on this thread. Here are our observations: China Dumpling is great in Fort Worth. We went to China Pavilion and were very disappointed in the food. The atmosphere is great and so were the staff, but the food is second-rate. The buns are clearly pre-prepared, maybe frozen ones that you can get at Costco's. They looked and tasted familiar. We were very disappointed. The best place we have found, hands down is Grand Lakes ( sometimes incorrectly referred to as Golden Lakes on this thread, althogh the address is right). Grand Lakes' Dim Dum is served 7 days a week, with cart service on weekends...and I absolutely challenge anyone to say with a straight face that the food is not fresh. Items are made on premises with a Dim Sum chef, which not all places have, and are served PIPING HOT. They are not afraid to trot out new treats for customers to sample like an absolutely heavenly watercress dish from last month. Steamed buns, siu mai, har gow, fun gor, potstickers, rice paste and all the regulars are very tastefulley represented and we have tried them all. I cannot speak to Kingsburg, as we have not been there yet. I will try it out and report back. We were China Dumpling patrons until I read this thread and decided to try Grand Lakes based on boricua_enigma's vigorous recommendation. We have been regulars ever since, except for a curiosity visit to China Pavilion.

                    1. re: elmurid

                      You are correct about the name, it is Grand Lakes. I have a copy of their menu with me. I'm heading there today to have Dim Sum. I just love Grand Lakes, their service, food and ambiance is all great. I only wished they had other CDs to play, instead of the same one that I hear every weekened. =)

                      As for Kingburg, they no longer serve Dim Sum! The horror! I walked in there one day and they were doing renovations and they told me, they no longer serve Dim Sum for about a month. =(

                      China Pavilion is a mix for a me. I like it because it's close to my house if I want something quickly. The owner Eddie is a cool guy though; friendly guy, will talk to you and will mention "you should come back for dinner and try the other food".

                      I did get introduced to another Dim Sum place in Deerfield Beach called "A B C Chinese Restaurant" located at 1919 W Hillsboro Blvd, Deerfield Beach, FL. The quality and service is ok. I go through if I'm in the mood for Dim Sum as a lunch time option. Good if you're in the Boca area.
                      (954) 421-8720,

          2. re: Chuck

            I waited an hour there last night before they brought us our entrees. Good food but I'm not sure worth the wait.

          3. It's now fall in South Florida, and I'm searching for a good place within 30 miles of Delray Beach for Dim Sum. Just tried the China Dumpling in Boynton Beach, and while the food was acceptable (at best), you had to order from the menu as they do not come around with carts (horrors, that's not Dim Sum). Does anybody have any suggestions for good Dim Sum, maybe around Boca Raton or north to West Palm?

            6 Replies
            1. re: rosiesmall

              If you want to stay close to Boca I would suggest you try China Dumpling if you don't mind it dark and a little pricey. The first four times I went, the dimsum was pretty good compared to the north east, and very good for south florida. My last trip, not so much. I think I may have been a little late (if you consider 1:30 late). Maybe you should go early, but not too early, they don't open till 11. My last experience was similair to boricua_enigma's critique above, but I must say that my first 4 experiences where much better.

              Today I tried Grand Lakes on the great reviews supplied above and I must say, it was definitely worth the drive from Pompano. (35 miles). Even though the staff was overwhelmed because it was mother's day, the service was great and the quality of the food rivaled my favorites in NY, DC, and Philly. Maybe the best shrimp rice noodle paste i've had (I prefer to order it without the sauce btw, but that's just me it seems), possibly the best stuffed eggplant, definitely the biggest portion of har gow, and everyone else seemed to be enjoying the more exotic offerings. To top it off it was cheap, clean and a bright atmosphere (at least from the inside). The only problem is now I probably won't try the other two restaurants mentioned above, unless they are much closer.

              One odd thing did happen that may just have been an oversight, so I will have to confirm next time. I ordered the spring rolls (which I was glad to hear had shrimp). The first two bites were true to the discription but the third had some pork in it, which was a bummer since I don't eat meat. They happily took it back so it wasn't a problem for me. Not sure if I got eggrolls by mistake or if that's how they make their spring rolls.

              I called B C Chinese at the number provided above by boricua_enigma since it's right here in deerfield but there was a message stating that they opened at 2:00. hmmmm

              Anyway, thanks for the tip and concise reviews above (you now who you are). It took a little over a year, and a half dozen restaurants, but the search is over for the best, now if i could only find one within 15-20 miles.

              1. re: Mnyrvrstx

                Been to:
                China Dumpling
                China Pavilion
                Great Lakes
                but find the closest to NYC Dim Sum in the Lake Worth area is at Singing Bamboo on Military Trail. We went to China Dumpling and a long time ago Kingsburg and found the Dim Sum ok. We used to go to China Pavilion every week but I think there was a change in cooks. Went to Great Lakes, food was good but there was a waiter with an attitude so we dropped that. But if you really want to travel for Dim Sum, Tropical Island still has the best Dim Sum.
                Thanks to this blog for summarizing Dim Sum restaurants. We are going to try the ABC Chinese at some point.

                1. re: flmmsxx

                  I second, third and fourth Grand Lakes. I live in Boynton Beach and it's a quick ride on the Turnpike (or Jog Rd) to get there. Marvelous food. I also commute to Silver Pond in the other direction. Am I nuts, or what? Kingsburg is a great local alternative but not for Dim Sum. Re; Tropical Island -- do you mean Tropical in West Dade? If so, the best Dim Sum (and Chinese food) hands down. No contest.

                  1. re: Alfred G

                    Alfred G. Tropical Chinese Restaurant, 7991 SW 40th Street (Bird Road) is the one that I was talking about. It has carts and the best food. My husband and I try to go there with a full car. Try Singing Bamboo, 2845 N Military Trail. No carts, not much ambience and not a big selection but great food.

                    We are going to try ABC Chinese next. Our former waiter at the China Pavilion recommended it.

                    1. re: flmmsxx

                      On my way to Grand Lakes tonight but will definitely try Singing Bamboo next. Thanks.

                      1. re: flmmsxx

                        just wondering, how is the dim sum at abc? any good?

              2. grand lakes prices are far better than the others and the food and selection blow them away. chicken feet 3.95 china dumpling 2.35 grand lakes. china dumplings prices are nearly double those at grand lakes. i live in boynton beach but is worth the 25 mile round trip.their congees noodle dishes are very good. i have lived in nyc and san francisco so i have had lots of asian food. its a treasure

                6 Replies
                1. re: marky123

                  Thank you peoples. I am a serious Dim Sum addict and was very disapointed that I could not find anything better than Singing Bamboo on Military Tr. in WPB. I am currently living in Jupiter, also known as death for lovers of fine Chinese cuisine. I had the great misfortune of living in NYC for 3 years in the late 1980's (Great Dim Sum back in those days though). I have had the good fortune of business travel (Aka dining out in the Asian section of many a town) including LA., SF.,Toronto, San Diego, Chicgo etc. over the last 20 years. (Still dreaming of a visit to Hong Kong). Made my first trip to Grand Lakes Chinese Restaurant today and found it to be very impressive. Although I stayed away from the exotic dishes like Jellyfish Salad, Frog Congee, Poultry Feet and Salted Fish Sausage, I did sample the popular Yum Cha american staples.
                  In my humble opinion:
                  (on a tough scale of 1 to 10)
                  --Shrimp Har Gao (Shrimp dumpling): Rates a 9.0 Spectacular
                  --Sui Mei (Only Pork availble) Rates a 7.5 Extemely good (Not enough mushroom and herbs for my taste)
                  --Stuffed Eggplant Rates an 8.5 Excellent
                  --Beef Congee Rates an 8.0 (Stay away from the preserved egg congee, I was burned by that H2S bomb years ago).
                  --Shrimp, beef or roast pork rice paste Rates a ?.? Tough for me to rate these, not a big fan of big flat bland rice noodles. Texture wise, these were the best I've ever tried. If it wasn't for the soy sauce, they would have no flavor at all. Eating them with the below mentioned Chive dumplings was the only reason my family did not leave the Shrimp Rice Paste on the table.

                  And not under the Dim Sum catagory, but still tasty:
                  *Chive Dumplings Rates a 9.5 Aka scalion dumpling or onion dumpling. By far the best I've ever had, wok crispy and extremely delicious. Hard to find, no less this great.
                  *Crispy Shrimp Dumplings Rates a 9.0 I know I've had better, I just cannot remember when or where. Served with a small dolop of fresh in-house Chinese mayonaise on the plate. Nice twist and a first for me.
                  *Pan Fried Pork Dumplings: Rates a 6.5 Very tasty, but I prefer mine with a thinner skin, more onion and a hint of jasmin in the meat mixture.
                  *Spring Rolls: Rates a 7.0 Very good. I've had tastier.

                  The wait staff was very easy to communicate with, attentive, polite, except for one of the young men who was a bit of a wise ass. The place was clean, easy to find, visable signage from the road, convenient parking. Not sure if the kitchen was as clean as the dining room, but I do plan on sneaking a peek in there the next time I go back. The fish tank was surprisingly dirty on my first and only visit, which wouldn't be a concern except for the fact that if one orders lobster or cuttle fish, the chef grabs it out the the aformentioned fish tank. Yikes.
                  Yum Cha is only on Saturday and Sunday, from 11 AM to 2 PM or 3 PM, or 4 PM, depending on the time of the year. In other words, the carts are rolling as long as the place is busy. But the serving hours of Yum Cha are irrelevent for non-Asians. For us, it's not about the socializing and tea. It's about the Dim Sum and Dumplings, which is available all day, everyday from a seperate Dim Sum menu and from opening until approximately one hour before closing, according to the manager. And one can order a free pot of tea to boot any time you like. You Chowhounds need to relax regarding the damn push carts. A little hint from an long time veteran of these establishments, if the restaurant is serving "freshly made in-house, non-frozen, steamed upon ordering" Dim Sum; then the push carts can actually cause the tasty morsels to become overcooked and chewey while they sit stacked up in the cart being pushed around for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Don't take my word for it, experiment yourself and arrive at the restaurant on a Sat. or Sun. 15 or 20 minutes before the end of cart service (~2 PM this time of the yr) and receive food off of the cart. When cart service ends, order additional items of Dim Sum and it will come out of the kitchen hot and steamy fresh. In other words, the carts are used to lessen the work load on the wait staff and keep the customer wait time for Dim Sum to a minumum when the restaurant is very busy on the weekends. Hence, average food = not that buzy during Yum Cha on weekend = no need for push carts.

                  You hounds further south are lucky in that at least you have options closer to your homes. Grand Lakes is a 20 to 25 minute ride each way for us.

                  Thanks again for this chow thread and good luck to all.

                  1. re: FoodyGuy

                    I live in Boynton Beach -- not too far from China Dumpling -- yet I travel to Grand Lakes (20 minutes). Love the place. Am I nuts, or what.

                    1. re: Alfred G

                      i live in boynton and do the same thing its a treasure

                    2. re: FoodyGuy

                      I agree. Singing bamboo takes the cake for West Palm Beach area. Ive never been to grand lakes but have gone to kingsburg since i was a baby. it brings back good memories of delicious shrimp dumplings and taro pudding every time i think about it. but every time i visit west palm i must go to singing bamboo, its closer for me since my parents are in palm beach gardens and everything is fresh.

                      Toa Toa restaurant in Sunrise has delicious dim sum as well, im surprised noone mentioned it although it is a bit hidden in a plaza.

                      1. re: pdpredtide

                        I don't trust their inspection reports enough to try it.........

                  2. Coming to West Palm Beach...

                    "CHINA BEACH BISTRO, Northwood’s buzzed-about New York-style eatery, officially opens Thursday night with a street party, wine and dim sum samplings. Partners are T.K. Kaytmaz and Sal Kutsal – who also own Café Centro, the Italian spot across the street – and Palm Beach financiers Roger and Judi Hochstin.

                    The owners hope to bring authentic Chinatown flavor to Palm Beach County (a veritable wasteland for premium Chinese fare). “I love Chinese food. The only reason I wanted to open this place was because it’s hard to find good Chinese food here,” says Kaytmaz.

                    Kaytmaz and his partners hired a crew of New York dim sum-expert chefs, primed by Chinatown’s dumpling guru, chef Joe Ng (of Chinatown Brasserie). The crew includes head chef Lawrence Li and dim sum chef Kwok Chiu Tang."




                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CFByrne

                      Oh yes, I read about this and it sounds very promising. This is in Northwood Village, next to Relish, and is closer to me than Grand Lakes and Singing Bamboo.