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the NYC Dim Sum experience. Help me choose! :)

I'm taking my best friend to her first Dim Sum experience in NY, but I haven't been myself since high school. What's your vote for best place to go?

If' I'm gonna be picky - I'd love to not spend $$$$ and I don't eat meat (love seafood though).

We'll be getting in on Sunday at 1pm and heading downtown.


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    1. Most people like the spectacle of the carts flying around but since you guys are getting in so late, I might recommend looking for places that do "dim sum to order" because the carts-only places will have only scraps by the time you get there.

      1. Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth Street (just below Canal). The place is a huge, gaudy Dim Sum palace, but they move people in and out very efficiently -- don't be afraid if it's crowded -- and the food on the carts is delicious and cheap. Highly recommended.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jzimmerm

          For a total experience for someone who has never had dim sum, both culinary and atmosphere, I'd say Jing Fong hands down. For food alone I'd probably go with Golden Bridge.

        2. When I have been in NYC I like the Golden Unicorn. It has several floors and you have to take an elevator. They specialize in dim sum seafood dishes. It is usually very crowded so I would get there early.

          Also, I have a special hole in the wall that I LOVE going to that serves dim sum, but not a big selection and roasted meat (roast pork, ducks, roast pig, soy sauce chicken) . Char sui bao, dumplings, different soup. IMy favorite thing to get is the chinese roast pork, roast duck and roast pig served over white rice and they pour broth over it. Delicious and inexpensive. It is not a big place and you might have to sit with strangers. I don't know the name of it but it is located I believe almost on the corner of Walker S and Center St.and before Baxter St. There are usually chickens and ducks and roast pork in the window and on one corner across the street is a bakery and two doors down is a fish market. I know this is very vague since most of Chinatown is like this ,but it is very close to Canal Street and it sits across the street from a triangular piece of street corner where Canal turns.

          If you know where it is please let me know the name. When I am in NYC I try to go there several times because the food is great and cheap. One time I bought 2 dozen char siu bao and a 1/2 dz sesame balls to send to my boyfriend in Ohio. The food cost me about $9, but the overnight shipping cost about $37. It was worth it, my boyfriend had a happy tummy.

          1. Oriental Garden is the best and cleanest....plus their highpoint is seafood. Enjoy.

            1. Another Jing Fong fan here!

              1. Love Jing Fong. Not a Ping's fan though.

                Also, I went recently to Nice Restaurant and the dim sum was fantastic.

                1. I 'm a traditionalist. I prefer the pushcarts, therefore I go to Golden Bridge on Bowery street.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: csw

                    I haven't been able to have a pushcart brunch since I became vegetarian 10 years ago. Does any place offer decent veggie pushcart goodness?

                    1. re: piccola

                      There are some veggie dishes but I wouldn't call it vegetarian friendly as there are porkfat hidden in their dishes.

                  2. If you're getting in that late (arriving in chinatown after 1:30-2:00) then definitely go to dim sum go-go where it is all made to order. Anywhere with carts at that hour is going to be less than fresh and bountiful. Dim Sum GoGo is at 5 East Broadway. Some people knock the atmosphere but I think it's okay to be somewhere with a little more space. The shrimp and mango rolls there are really great and if you don't eat meat they have a lot of options for truly vegetarian and seafood dim sum with no secret pork.

                    And sorry, but Golden Unicorn was awful last time I went (just my opinion) The food there was cold and very stale, I would almost be afraid to eat there.
                    Oh, and I used to recommend Ping's very highly but last time I went it was rather mediocre and seemed to be prepared with less skill than in the past. Maybe I just went on an off day there, I still thought the shu mai were great so maybe someone competent is still somewhere in their kitchen.

                    1. I'm a really big fan of New Green Bo. Really inexpensive but good quality/taste. It's always my go to and is really well reviewed on foodie boards.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: saritaeatsnyc

                        New green bo is good for shanghainese food but not for dim sum..

                      2. Jing Fong is pretty good. If you're willing to venture out of Manhattan, Flushing has a few good places as well. In fact, a relatively unknown restaurant, called Linden Place in flushing has some of the best dimsum I've ever had. It's extremely fresh, and isn't overcrowded. They're usually a catering hall, and I've been there for weddings, and their food quality is beyond excellent. They also have their own valet parking facility if you drive out there. It's near Northern Blvd on Linden Pl.


                        1. Two words...
                          Jing Fong
                          on the east side of Elizabeth, south of Canal St
                          My wife is Chinese, so I have had alot of Dim Sum. Jing Fong is consistently good. The only down side? It is so big, and busy, and noisy. Some people don't consider that a down side.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jerryc123

                            Big, busy, and noisy. I have to say that it's not dimsum if it's not any of those things. That's just part of the Chinese culture of eating, and having a quiet small intimate dim sum experience would be the equivalent of having a romantic dinner for two in a high end French restaurant that's brightly lit with rap music blaring at deafening volumes. Completely not a down side!


                          2. Chinatown Brasserie has the best dim sum I've had in New York, and probably in the U.S., but it's quite expensive ($9-12 or so per small plate, as in 4 small dumplings). Otherwise, the best dim sum I've had in Manhattan was at Oriental Garden, though I've had better in Flushing. I haven't yet tried Dim Sum Go-Go, which some people like better than Oriental Garden.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Pan

                              i didn't care for Dim Sum Go-Go, although i only went there for a private party, where the hosts had made some very limiting requests on the menu (no pork, etc)...

                              i'm surprised to hear the Ch-town Brasserie rave...i went there once, during their soft opening, and the dimsum was *by far* the worst i've ever had in a dim sum restaurant in any city: gluey and old and disgusting and dotted w/ food color...i gather this was an anomaly, but it was so vile that there is no way i could return...

                              1. re: Simon

                                It's so expensive that you absolutely shouldn't return after having had such an awful experience, unless someone else is treating you. I certainly wouldn't if I had had your experience. But just for the record, I am a VERY experienced dim sum eater, having lived in Malaysia for 2 years and traveled to Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, and other parts of the U.S. as well as eaten lots of dim sum in New York. So take my reaction for what it's worth.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  yes, i've read your other Asian food reviews and appreciation for authentic stuff (Zaab City, etc), so that's why i was surprised at the Ch-Br rave...

                            2. Golden Unicorn- old school cart service, cheap, and great dumplings.

                              1. I like Ping's and they have decent seafood. I have tried Jing Fong before but never really liked the food. if you are looking for roast pork buns the best place in my opinion has to be Chatnam square restaurant which is across from Dim Sum go go. great place hole in the wall and need to fight little old chinese ladies for them.

                                1. Anyone been to HSF recently? Used to go all the time as a kid (20 years ago) and wanted to know if its still good.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: matt

                                    If you're thinking of the place on Bowery sorta across from the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, it closed a while ago and reopened as something else.

                                    1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                                      Thats the place. Although its still listed in Zagat's but with an 18 for food, so I wasnt sure if Dim Sum doesnt get high scores or its my nostalgia.

                                  2. Golden Unicorn is my choice -- been there dozens of times. If they have the baby clams in black bean sauce go for them, also the snails are excellent. The hot steamed towels they bring at the end of the meal are a wonderful touch I have never seen at any other dim sum place.

                                    1. Went to Golden Unicorn a couple of weeks ago with my parents and it really isn't what it used to be. Cold shrimp rolls, hard turnip cakes and I had to ask for hoisin to go with them a few times. Being Asian I guess I've been exposed to good dim sum many times (in San Fran, NYC) but the food just wasn't good at all. Very disappointed since I used to go quite often when I was in NYC a few years back...

                                      1. I vote for Jing Fong as well! And, if you take your friend during the weekday, it's half price, so say, on a Friday, you'd be making off like a bandit! At least this was the case a few months ago...

                                        My favorite things at Jing Fong are the fried turnip cakes, all the dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in huge leaves. For dessert, the light seseme seed covered balls are delicious.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: soomster76

                                          I don't know how, but I've never gone for Dim Sum specifically in NYC. However, I just ate at Din Tai Fung in Taipei and now I'm hooked.

                                          Just curious...with the mention of getting to any of the cart places "too late" for fresh Dim Sum, does this apply only to Sunday's or anytime?

                                          The above post mentions half-price at Jing Fong during the week...is that at a specific time?



                                          1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                                            Note that Din Tai Fung is known for its dumplings, but dumplings are not necessarily synonimous with dim sum. There is some overlap in that many dim sum places might have an item or two that you'd find at Din Tai Fung, but most of the food will be different.

                                        2. 88 Palace still gets our vote, and it's quite a bit cheaper than the inferior Golden Unicorn. Jing Fong is fine too, but it's too cramped in there, and I find a lot of their dishes to be really watery.


                                          NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                          1. Does 88 Palace have cart service? And where are they located?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pastoralia

                                              Yes, lots of carts and a steam table at the front with lots of extra goodies. They're at 88 East Broadway, right underneath the Manhattan Bridge.


                                              NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                            2. I haven't been in years since I now live in DC, but HSF (60 the Bowery) used to be my absolute favorite.

                                              1. Any thoughts on Mandarin Court on Mott?

                                                1. Thanks Nosher. I read your link...I'm excited to go. One thing...is Dim Sum a weekend only thing there? Sometimes I have a hankering for cart service Dim Sum during the week.

                                                  1. There's dim sum from carts at most dim sum places all week long. On a weekday I would definitely make the trek to World Tong in Brooklyn. They have carts and it's so nice to go and have it not be a crazy crush of people trying to get in.

                                                    1. World Tong rocks.

                                                      If you're going that late, my definite pick would be Dim Sum Go Go. However, it's *really* not the quintessential dim sum experience because of the lack of carts.

                                                      Different dim sum places have their adherents, and familiarity with the cuisine doesn't seem to militate one side or the other. I personally am less a fan of Triple 8 (aka 88 Palace) and Jing Fong, and more a fan of Golden Unicorn, but I've also been to Golden Unicorn when they've sucked, so it's a hard call.

                                                      DSGG is the only place I've been in Manhattan where it's been good *every time.* Chinatown Brasserie is a close second (I live two blocks away and I go a great deal), but the prices are higher and it's definitely not authentic Chinatown (although Joe Ng knows what he's doing). Also, Chinatown Brasserie maintains high quality post-1pm... however, there aren't any carts. In general, cart places are a difficult option that late.

                                                      IME, Ping's has gotten steadily weaker on the dim sum front (as has Jing Fong). Dinner can still be excellent, but dim sum's a bit off.