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Authentic Chinese and Yum-cha/Dim-sum in South Florida?

I've been here for two years and while we've found a decent American-style Chinese takeout close to home, I'm longing for the 'real deal'. In Australia our friends from Hong-Kong would take out out for a genuine Chinese meal at least once a year, the kind where they take away the menus and bring on the food. I miss it!

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  1. Best dim sum in Miami is either Tropical out west (by Tropical Park) or Mr. Chu's on South Beach (8th & Ocean). Tropical was long my favorite but Mr. Chu's is also very good. They each have their virtues. Tropical does better roast pork bun. Mr. Chu's does better chicken feet.

    Both also do very good non-dim-sum Chinese, as does Tony Chan's Water Club (near the new Miami Performing Arts Center) although I haven't been to Tony Chan's in ages.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Frodnesor

      You may need to do a re-taste. I just tried the pork buns again @ Mr. Chu's and they were awesome. Better than the last time I was there a month ago. I gotta say that though I love tropical, I think Chu is better. Sometimes you get cold stuff at tropical. Never happened to me @ Chu.

    2. Anything a bit further north, in Fort Lauderdale area or Broward county?

      1. There's a restaurant in Tamarac on 441/State Route 7 called Hong Kong City BBQ, 5301 N State Road 7, (954) 777-3832. They have dim sum, roast meats, and other fairly authentic Cantonese fare. My wife and I came across it by accident on one of our trips to Florida. It isn't much on decor and the food is not as good as when we first discovered it 5 or 6 years ago, but it still is pretty authentic. I would recommend it.

        It is in a small strip mall that also has a Chinese grocery store.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ltlevy

          The owner of the Hong Kong Palace was killed during a robbery. His Mother closed the resturant. Was the most authntic Chinese barbq and dim sum in South Florida

        2. TP - I'm a regular at Mr. Chu's now, but I still prefer Tropical's pork buns! Mr. Chu's are too sweet for me.

          1 Reply
          1. Besides Hong Kong City (which has dim sum but not on carts), there's also Silver Pond about a mile to the south, which is a larger Hong Kong place, but not dim sum. Both are authentic and good. The strip mall where Silver Pond is also has a Chinese bakery, a wholesale dim sum factory that sometime sells to walk-ins, a Chinese BBQ takeout that's much better than Hong Kong City's for roast meats, and other interesting goodies.

            My current favorite Chinese restaurant in South Florida is Peppers, at Palm and Pines way out in Pembroke Pines. They do the HK/Cantonese stuff but also the closest thing to real Sichuan food and possibly the only Taiwanese in the area, all quite well, no gloppy sauces in sight. They have cooks from all three regions. It's also a bit nicer than most.

            Another decent one, though kinda austere inside, is Dragon City, around the 6800 block of Griffin Rd. Like Peppers, the menu covers more than just HK/Cantonese and does so for Chinese tastes. Good place for seafood: lots of fish tanks. Open very late, probably for an after-casino crowd.

            As for dim sum in Broward, there's also Toa Toa in the plaza at Pine Island and NW 44th St. Been there twice. Disliked it both times.

            4 Replies
            1. re: hatless

              hatless... Thanks for the lead on Silver Pond. That whole strip mall sounds worth checking out.

              We found Hong Kong City because it was right across the street from the hotel we stay at when we are down there. I'll gladly drive another mile to check out something new. We also stop at the Chinese grocery store in the mall where Hong Kong City is. Is there a grocery store in the mall where Silver Pond is?

              1. re: ltlevy

                Yep, there's a pretty big mostly Vietnamese/Chinese grocery, A Dong, in the same plaza as Silver Pond.

                Oh, and one correction: Dragon City is around the 6800 block of Stirling, not Griffin.

              2. re: hatless

                Was in the area today and stopped by Dragon City. Didn't have a ton of time and wimped out and went with the Shrimp with szechuan sauce off the lunch special menu. It was very good as was the fried rice and wonton soup. The Chinese menu is long and I didn't get through the entire menu but I noticed several interesting items such as jelly fish, pigs knuckles, shark fin soup, duck tongues, abalone etc. They also had several fish tanks filled with nice looking fish and huge crabs. They also had roasted ducks hanging, They stay open until 3 a.m. every day and are just west of the Hard Rock on Stirling, Looking forward to going back and trying some of the authentic Chinese dishes
                Hatless, any specific recommendations?

                Dragon City
                6708 Stirling Rd, Hollywood, FL 33024

                1. re: The Chowfather

                  Was there with my Asian American friends for Chinese new year. Everybody (Chinese, American, Russian, Japanese, Filipino... we were a really mixed gp) was happy. Great price, authentic dishes, some innovative items not often seen in older Chinese restaurants. most of the dishes were nicely done. The pig knuckle wasn't tender enough but the duck tongue was good. Hmmm I don't remember all the dishes we ordered. We were kind of hesitate to enter as the place looks really run down but the food was pretty nice.

              3. When I am in Miami visiting my sister we would always go to Tropical for dim sum. It is very good, but it can get very crowded if you don't get there early. Also I have gotten food that was cold when it was suppose to be hot. I took my mom to a new place for dim sum South Garden on Sunset last weekend and we both really liked it. The food was very fresh and hot. They have the cha sui bao (bbq pork bun) and they have the flaky pork biscuit. I couldn't decide which I liked better, they both were delicious. I think I will go back this weekend

                1. I just moved to South Florida from Los Angeles. So far, Silver Pond comes closest to the authentic Cantonese Chinese food that I've had in Alhambra, Monterey Park, and LA Chinatown. But where can I find authentic Szechuan in South Florida? And, above all, I miss Chiu Chow soups.

                  P.S. I also like Uncle Tai's in Boca for high quality suburban Chinese food.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: elliotfeldman

                    The closest you'll get to authentic sichuan will probably be Peppers, at the intersection of Pines and Palm in Pembroke Pines.

                    Mixed menu of regional Chinese, with cooks from Sichuan, HK/Guangdong and Taiwan. None of that gloppy Americanized stuff. Proper dry-fried spicy chicken, Kung Pao that bears no resemblance to the American version, dan dan noodles, ma po tofu, fuqi feipan, etc. all dressed with variants on that film of chili oil and strewn with szechuan peppercorns and spices. The owner's pretty chowish himself and really into offering things nobody else in the area does, so if something's not on the menu, it can't hurt to ask. The one caveat is that if you're not Chinese-born, you sometimes have to work hard to convice him and especially other staff that you really want the real stuff, spiced and sseasoned full-on. It might not be Alhambra, Flushing or Vancouver, but it's usually mighty good.

                    1. re: hatless

                      Thank you thank you for your information. I can read between the lines and totally trust your opinion. Good Chinese is something I have been yearning for in the 2years I have been in Miami. I have been going to King Palace(NOT the buffet) on NE 167 in NMB. Very good I thought, but when i took my mom and sister for a visit, they said I was desperate for Chinese.
                      I can't wait to visit Peppers and Silver Pond is the name of the restaurant I went to in Flushing, so I will def pay a visit. have you heard of Christine One(Wan) maybe? in Hollywood. Any good?

                      1. re: hatless

                        I think Peppers is a good chinese restaurant (not just for sichuan). They have an extensive menu including cantonese cuisine. it's a far drive up to pembroke pines from miami, but i'd rather much rather drive there than silver pond.

                        seems like Peppers gets less attention than it should on the boards.

                        1. re: ankimo

                          Peppers is mostly Northern and Szechuan style, not as much Cantonese.
                          They have hot pot (Chinese style fondue) which is indeed authentic and not often found in restaurants. I also like that they have two VIP rooms perfect for a group gathering of 12 or so people.

                          1. re: tarepanda

                            What's the deal with those hot pots? Sounds interesting.

                            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                              They bring in a little stove with a pot of boiling broth - you can choose spicy or not or half/half. Then they bring you a variety of raw ingredients, from vegetables and tofu to crab, shrimp, beef, lamb, mussels, fish. Also noodles. And uncommon stuff like tripe, tofu skin, taro root. They also have littl bowls of minced garlic, scallion, chili paste, tahini and soy sauce for you to mix your own dressing to dip your food in.

                              It works just like a fondue, you dunk your raw food into the broth to cook. It's $18.88 for all you can eat, not bad for Miami price.

                            2. re: tarepanda

                              I know this post is old, but any idea if Peppers has any sichuan peppercorn entrees like hot and numbing beef?

                                1. re: RickL

                                  That menu must be incomplete as it doesn't include any hot pot that I can see. Like many Chinese places there's probably a second menu.

                                  On a somewhat related note, MenuPages reports that Mr. Chu's (South Beach, used to be great but declined) is opening up in Coral Gables. http://blogs.menupages.com/southflori...
                                  Maybe the move will help them get their mojo back. I think dim sum is a great fit for the Gables.


                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                    They will be taking over the old Los Ranchos (and more I think) space on the corner of Sevilla and Ponce (4-5 blocks from Miracle Mile)

                                  2. re: RickL

                                    That looks completely like the standard American Chinese restaurant menu. I am quite sure they have another menu.

                        2. sorry I missed this post when I slept walked over to the PC to do my TOP Chinese in FLA post/moan. I had just finished some of that gloppy Americanized stuff. If I am forced to eat anymore of that "gloppy Americanized stuff" as Hat correctly called it, I swear I'll boycott this great cuisine for another ten years. I remember going to Jumbo up on 163rd in NMB a decade + ago with my Chinese friend and it seemed like the real Macoy. Any one tried it lately? I am not referring to the Buffet called Jumbo.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: netmover

                            no. greasy dim sum. I can only compare to meals from NYC Chinatown and Flushing, See my reply to hatless. I have been to only Jumbo and King Palace on 163rd. jumbo for dim sum, king Palace for all else. I do like King Palace. I also have been to Mr. Chu's in South Beach. Very delicious and beautiful decor and a little high priced.

                          2. I've done Jumbo for dim sum and found it not quite to the same level as Mr. Chu or Tropical. Juicy pork buns are quite good though.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              Frod...please school me! What the heck are Pork Buns??? I don't remember seeing them on my local delivery joint menu.

                              1. re: netmover

                                Actually I may have misspoke. The ones I like at Jumbo may be called "soup dumplings" or "soupy dumplings". They have a semi-firm doughy exterior similar to a pot-sticker, but inside is a steaming hot combination of minced pork and broth. Usually served with a gingery dipping sauce. Definitely different than Char Siu, which are the baked or steamed buns w/ chopped chinese BBQ pork.

                            2. The Pork Buns are called Char Siu Boa (BBQ Pork Buns) They are made two different ways either baked or steamed. I liked them baked. Basically they take Chinese BBQ Pork and mince it then mix it with hoisin sauce or oyster sauce.

                              If you go for dim sum and they have the carts (Try South Garden) you want the food to be hot. I suggest ordering the following, but you should have at least 3 people because most orders come in 3's.

                              Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Bun) Baked
                              Pork Shu - Pork Dumpling
                              Har Gow - Shrimp Dumpling
                              Lo Mai Gai - Treasure Rice
                              Clams in Black Bean Sauce
                              Shrimp wrapped in rice noodles
                              Sesame Balls - Sweet Red Bean desert
                              Egg Custard - Desert Tart

                              There are a lot of different things you can get. If you are adventurous try the

                              Chicken Feet
                              Salt and Pepper Squid
                              Black Bean Spare ribs

                              Put a little hot chili pepper on your plate and then pour some soy sauce over it. Dip your dumplings and eat with hot tea.

                              If you are tired of the icky Americanized stuff this is really different.

                              1 Reply
                              1. It is on Sunset east of the turnpike.
                                10855 Sunset Dr
                                Miami, FL 33173

                                1 Reply
                                1. I was at South Garden yesterday for the second time in three weeks. The first, at 1:00pm on a Sunday was a mob scene -- packed with Chinese families. Everything was delicious and we sat till 3:30 when all others had gone and no one was stressing. Yesterday, at noon, there was a 20 minute wait for a table, and again, the crowd is 80% of chinese descent, although much from South America and Jamaica. It all makes for a great, slightly different atmosphere. Yesterday, however, the help was unable to keep the steamed dumplings fully stocked. As a result, I ate a lot of stuff I usually don't but liked the broccoli, the turnip cakes, and a few new different steamed buns a lot. There was a competitor called Chinese Restaurant nearby a while ago on Miller where a Chinese friend sent me, but they suffered an "architectural" setback and closed. I wonder if they are open again.

                                  1. Wow - I already periodically do the trek from Miami Beach to Tropical for dim sum (although I'm more regularly going to Mr. Chu's now, and not just because it's more geographically desirable; stuff is often fresher and some items, chicken feet in particular, are much tastier). Is South Garden worth trekking even further south and west? Can anyone that's tried compare to either Tropical or Mr. Chu's?

                                    1. I have only been to Tropical, not Mr Chu's. I like South Garden better because the food is hot. Nothing is more annoying than to eat food that is suppose to be hot and it is barely warm.

                                      1. I've been to both and prefer South Garden for authenticity's case. I know this opens up a can for many people; it does for me as well. For example, I prefer sushi at the Japanese owned and run places because I lived in Japan for several years. Even though the other sushi I have eaten tastes good (occasionally), I cannot get past the authenticity; the Japanese customer is more critical. Of course when I go to Matsuri and speak Japanese to a Japanese server, I seem to think I get treated better than when I get waited on by a non-Japanese speaker. At Su-Shin, they know me and I love it! As a result, I feel the same way about South Garden; the customers are Chinese and know what Dim Sum is supposed to achieve. I say it's worth at least one trip. I prefer it to Tropical, though when I went to Tropical with Mandarin and Cantonese speakers, it was great! South Garden is somehow more welcoming in the casual way even when it's packed!

                                        1. Crach - I know we're getting a little off topic now, but what are your top sushi recommendations?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                            I like Matsuri at the counter or when served by Japanese, but I am a regular at Su-Shin Izekaya on Aragon in the Gables which cooks everything with Japanese humility, authenticity, and affordability. It's a great, simple place with all the real Japanese(Osakan) flavors. I have not tried Yuga in the Gables but I'm guessing it too is good. My Japanese friends swear by Hiro's Yakko-san, but I've yet to try it. The interesting thread here is that all are Japanese owned and operated. We "think" their "standard" of simplistic excellence is higher than most, and that for a "typical" Japanese, it would be shameful to turn out an inferior product. Though there must be numerous exceptions to this unscientific philosophy, I generally subscribe.

                                          2. I do Su-Shin for lunch often as my office is in the Gables. I think Yuga is same owners but haven't tried yet.

                                            You really have to try Yakko-San. It is a Japanese "tapas" place and they do not do nigiri or maki (though they do sashimi and onigiri, the stuffed rice balls/pyramids). We go almost every week. Aside from a lengthy regular menu they also always have a dozen+ blackboard specials and I'm still finding new things to try.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Frodnesor

                                              What you describe sounds terrific and you're making me hungry. Is it usually crowded? Have you tried all the simple things there like tsukemono, yu-dofu, gobo, renkon, etc?

                                            2. You can check out the regular menu here:

                                              And here's a post where I tried to recall all the things I've tried:

                                              We usually go early (opens at 6 and we bring the kids often) and it's open super-late (3am I believe) - late night crowd often includes a lot of staff from other restaurants after they close up. We've gone later evening (8-9pm) and there's sometimes a wait to get a table but not usually very long.

                                              1. Hiro's menu is like the Japanese All-Star lineup. Many of those choices are ubiquitous -- omurice, kimchee, donburi, katsu, okonomiyaki, gyoza, natto, hiyayakko, kinpira gobo, yasai-itame. Strangely to those who don't know Japanese reality, even after five years there, I still routinely encountered interpretations that I had never heard of before. When I read food pages, like in the New York Times, I salivate over what chefs are creating. In Japan, it seemed that everyone, everywhere had that ability and outlook. At Su-shin, they often make different things and put them on the blackboard. Did you say Hiro has a blackboard?

                                                1. I really like the blackboard specials at Su Shin, and yes, Hiro always has a dozen + blackboard specials as well. Many of them recur often but still add to the many choices on the regular menu.

                                                  There are usually 2-3 sashimi specials + several other fish preps based on whatever's fresh. Often they get fish from Japan for the sashimi specials. Plus a grab bag of any number of other items - special tempuras (maitake mushroom is my favorite), stews, hot pots, often grilled pork belly (excellent). If you take a look at my other post I've listed several of the things that have appeared as specials:

                                                  Since I've never been to Japan I can't speak to how common the menu is (from a Japanese perspective). I can say there's many things I've had there which I've not seen many other places here in FL at least - okonomiyaki, ocha zuke, etc. I will tell you I have not developed a taste for natto.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                    Try a nattomaki with a bit of shoyu and a pinch of karashi-hot mustard. If you can get past the smell, you may like it. Ochazuke is akin to Japanese chicken noodle soup -- a comfort food remedy.

                                                  2. I tried the maguro natto and while it wasn't quite inedible, it just struck me as a waste of good tuna. It's not so much the smell as the texture.

                                                    Loved the ochazuke, either w/ grilled salmon or mentaiko. They always bring it as the last course and it's so soothing & refreshing.

                                                    1. For Dim Sum------Tropical Restaurant is marginal at best forgetaboutit!
                                                      For those who have experienced Dim Sum in (real( Chinatowns ae: San Francisco,Vancouver,Boston, New York, Montreal, your expectations are obviously lowered due to the fact that the number of ethnic Chinese in this area can`t support a thriving Chinese Food District with streets of world class Chinese Restaurants. That said, and after reading the gushing positive reviews on multiple sites, we were off to Tropical Restaurant. We had no wait to be seated...just lucky I guess because a few minutes later quite a few people were que`s up for a brief wait for a table. Immediate push cart service began (a positive Dim Sum feature) and servers continued weaving their way through the restaurant stopping at every table displaying multiple Dim Sum entrees for purchase. I must say, the selection and friendly servers explained what the appetizers consisted of if it was a item you weren`t sure of. The taste of most of the offerings were at least average and a few were excellent. My issue was that over half of the Dim Sum selections were served at room temperature an not warm/hot whatsoever. This being noon time on Sunday, at 12:00 PM For those of you that are Dim Sum fanatics, I`m sorry but you`ll have to drive 60 miles north up I95 and head for Palm Beach County. There you will find at least 3 excellent Chinese Restaurants that really do Dim Sum right! I will list them in no particular order as I found all of them on par with similar offerings in Chinatown restaurants. China Dumpling, 1899 N. Congress Ave Boynton Beach 561-737-2782, Singing Bamboo 2845 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, 561-686-9100 and Grand Lake, 7750 Okeechobee Blvd. West Palm Beach, 561-681-1388. Sing Bamboo has Dim Sum order card at table. Both China Dumpling and Grand Lake have push cart table service. All serve Dim Sum on weekends!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Phil L

                                                        I would like to know your opinion someday about South Garden which I enjoy better than Tropical for the reasons you stated plus oil.

                                                        1. re: Phil L

                                                          I'm debating on a visit to either Grand Lakes or Singing Bamboo in WPB for authentic Chinese. I have read that SB has a Chinese menu by request only, which interests me. Any idea which of these two would be best? I'm not interested in dim sum. TIA.

                                                          1. re: freakerdude

                                                            Singing Bamboo makes some of the most tasty Dim Sum I've ever had anywhere.

                                                          2. re: Phil L

                                                            If I wanted to stay closer to home, I'd try China Dumpling but I just noticed this post is almost 3 years old.

                                                            Does anyone know if this place still has great dim sum? And even great Chinese food anymore?

                                                            I went back to Sein House on Camino Real & Dixie in Boca Raton and was no longer impressed with their food. (no dim sum, just standard Chinese fare).

                                                          3. Just want to add that South Garden has been remodeled recently and the dim sum is actually quite good. (although the shrimp dumpling is not that great).

                                                            Another good one is the one on Flamingo and Pine in Pembroke. Turnip cake is the best I've seen in a while. They actually put in more turnip than flour, unlike what you get at most places.

                                                            But in all honesty, being a Hong Kong Chinese, whenever people ask me where they can find good dim sum in S Florida, I will tell them nowhere. (my husband's version of an answer: Toronto) Until we have been away from good dim sum cities long enough and our memories kind of fade.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: tarepanda

                                                              I liked South Garden on my one visit there. For cross-referencing purposes, there's a pretty extensive comparison of the Miami options on these thread and several others referred to in them ->


                                                            2. Anybody had dim sum at Lung Gong (Sweetwater)?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                No. But the Hot Pot is sublime (as is their Sichuan menu generally, which we gweilo must specifically request; otherwise, you will find yourself perusing such delectable items as "chow mein" and "arroz con pollo").

                                                                For truly remarkable dim sum -- and I say this having sampled offerings in NYC, SF, and Hong Kong -- go to Toa Toa in Sunrise. Staggeringly good. Everything made to order. Nothing lacking.

                                                                Should add that Sang's on 163rd (826E) at 18th Ave equals Toa Toa in quality. They also offered an unimpeachable "New York Style" barbecued duck and whole lobster done two ways on weekends (Cantonese and another style I forget).

                                                                Lung Gong Restaurant
                                                                11920 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33184

                                                              2. Peppers is closed. Just a heads-up for anyone following this thread beyond 3Q2010.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: WestsideDiner

                                                                  This is truly a loss for Pembroke Pines, but also for the Tri-County area and South Florida generally. Their Hot Pot was superb as long as you made a point of assuring the staff you really can handle true ma-la (if you're a gweilo). The offerings were generous -- you had no choices; they just carted out an astounding array of victuals from all four food groups and then some. (What restaurant automatically gives you prawns with your Hot Pot?) That generosity, coupled with the challenge confronting any restaurant attempting to educate foreign devils of the joys of Hot Pot, may be what did them in.

                                                                  Peppers Chinese Restaurant
                                                                  9976 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

                                                                  1. re: Capsaicin

                                                                    Across Pines Blvd from where Peppers used to be is Bamboo Garden III. Not great, but they do have a Dim Sum menu with over 50 offerings. If you are closer to Pembroke Pines than either SW Miami or Boynton/WPB this is worth a try. Yes, they have the usual steamed and baked buns, siu mai, chicken feet, steamed tiny spareribs in black bean sauce, dumplings, tarts and puddings, but also stuffed bean curd skin, steamed beef homeycomb, a selection of 'rice pastes', cold beef tripe with ginger, octopus with curry, 'boneless webs in thai sauce'....indifferent service but if you want dim sum and are nearby I would try it.