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Jan 20, 2008 10:26 AM

Dim Sum Tour #5: South Garden

We encountered a bit of a snag in our dim sum tour. It's not that we haven't been eating dim sum but that Tropical has been so satisfying, we haven't felt much of an urge to try anything else. But, my promise to Frod was starting to weigh on my conscience so this weekend, we drove the extra 5 minutes to South Garden.

We arrived at 12 and things were a bit slow. The restaurant filled up in the end but the turnover is definitely less than Tropical's. We had stuffed beancurd rolls, fried taro ball with minced pork, shrimp and leek dumplings, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, shrimp fun (shrimp pasta), and a plate of the seafood panfried noodles.

The beancurd rolls and the sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves were superior to Tropical's versions. In fact, the beancurd rolls are the best I've had to date in the Miami area. The freshness of the beancurd was impressive. The sticky rice was also well prepared with nice generous chunks of pork. This version and Kon Chau's monster version are the two best versions so far.

Shrimp and leek dumplings had a nice filling, but the outer wrapping wasn't really panfried and the portion was a bit on the small side. Tropical (when they're on) wins this one hands down. The panfried noodles with seafood came with generous amounts of shrimp, but the cuttlefish was a bit rubbery and the noodles less chewy than the Tropical version.

The shrimp fun was a horrible rendition and disentigrated when you tried to pick it up. We wanted to try the shrimp dumplings (har gow) but they were taking such a long time, which coupled with the shrimp fun disaster, made the idea less appealing.

Overall, another very good Miami dim sum option. I think I would give South Garden the edge over Kon Chau and just the slimmest margin short of Tropical on account of the shrimp fun, the shrimp and leek dumplings, and the slower turnover in terms of items coming out of the kitchen. The beancurd rolls and the sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves are top notch here though. I didn't see the shrimp and scallop dumplings previously mentioned. The only caveat is that the MSG content here may be a bit high. I'm getting an outrageous thirst right about now.

Updated rankings:

1. Tropical
2. South Garden
3. Kon Chau
4. Jumbo
5. Mr. Chu

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  1. Cross-referencing the notes from my South Garden visit ->

    You'll see I agreed their stuffed bean curd skin is great.

    1. When did the place start filling up - so that I could go when the turnover is good? And are the prices similar? Great review!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mialebven

        Every seat was taken by around 12:30. As for prices, they're all pretty similar except for Mr. Chu which is about $1/item more (very rough guess).

      2. missed out on the salt squid. have to know to ask for it though. It's something they save up in the back and they will look at you weird when you do ask for it. Went with some Korean and Japanese friends about a year ago and they introduced me to it. Of course, some of you probably know that showing up with a mixed bag of friends usually guarantees a better experience when it comes to ethnic cuisine

        1. I was at South Garden today. The shrimp dumplings were overcooked but I enjoyed the shrimp fun, though not as much as Kon Chau's. The tripe was good although one person at the table thought it was too chewy. I also loved the stuffed eggplant. I still have to give the edge to kon chau as their food is just more consistent.