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Jan 27, 2008 07:10 AM

Dim Sum Garden

11th btw Filbert and Arch. Shanghainese. Go there. Trust me.

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  1. Do they have lions head, xiao long bao, or drunken chicken?

    I had what Dumpling House claimed to be xiao long bao, but it was really more like jiaozi. Didn't get a chance to ask why, but they spoke Cantonese. Anyone know why Dumpling House is closed? I tried to go there a week ago in the middle of the day, was closed. Then I tried again on Friday, the windows were papered up, and the sign said something like "we will reopen soon." Today the windows were still papered.

    1. I went to Dim Sum Garden and had the xiao long bao. They were okay but I think they were the ones you get at the Chinese supermarket frozen. I do not believe they were made fresh there. NO WAY comparable to Joe's in Queens, NY--which are AMAZING.

      1. What to try? I work very close by and Asian clients have told me that they like it, but I wasn't sure what their specialties were. Thanks!!

        5 Replies
        1. re: jessicheese

          Regarding their soup buns, your idea that they are not prepared fresh is ridiculous. I agree they are not as good as Joe's, but what is? The food to be enjoyed is Shanghainese style, which is impossible to find in Philadelphia otherwise. The menu is evolving, they are hampered by not having gas right now

          1. re: brescd01

            How is the idea ridiculous? If you think I mean they are not steamed fresh--then that's not what I meant. I MEANT that they are not prepared in-house. They looked like and tasted like the kind you can buy frozen and steam at home.

            1. re: lawslaw

              Had the xiao long bao (soup buns), always sort of a dangerous eating experience :). I'm no Shanghainese food expert, but the XLB are ok, certainly soupy. Not as good as others I've had...thinking in particular of Shangri-La in Boston area, haven't been to Joe's. However they are definitely prepared in house. I even asked the waitress, and she pointed out the lady who makes them.

              The menu is quite small right now, but one of the specials is "meatballs" which is indeed lion's head. They do not have drunken chicken at this time, but I am looking forward to trying out their 'you ji fan' (I forget how they translated that, something like chicken with soy sauce on rice). It's true, this is the only place in Philly that serves Shanghai food, that I know of.

              1. re: Dib

                I agree with both your characterizations of the soup dumplings, they are not the best I have had (Joe's) but I find them tasty nevertheless, plus they are authentic. I saw the woman preparing the crab flavored ones near the register. the menu is indeed small and the journey to a larger menu, gas, and delivery, are clearly going to be more painful and protracted than the owner represented to me. We went there yesterday. Soup dumplings delicious. Noodles wonderful (these are home-made I think). Wonton soup not very interesting (though wonton were very good). One funny thing is that there is a steady parade of customers, many getting bus connections, who order same-old same-old and I want to scream at them "Get the soup dumplings for pity's sake!"

            2. re: brescd01

              I've seen them hand make them there at Dim Sum Garden. The frozen ones are always identical looking and really thick and doughy. These are very fresh, and they definately are not mass produced. They are fresh hand made. I used to go to Joe's a lot and they were the best, but these are really good. I was at Joe's last month, the dumplings were delicious, but a bit salty and tough. The wrap is not super thick -the way I like them. I also ordered the braized beef brisket with hand drawn/ hand cut noodles was excellent (I ordered them "dry" - not with soup broth, but with a nice stew like sweet/salty/herby sauce).

          2. We've been to Dim Sum Garden twice now and IMHO the xiao long bao (which are indeed made in-house) are at least as good as Joe's chinatown nyc and midtown nyc (never been to the Queens location). The shaou mei, on the specials board, are also delicious. Their scallion pancake is perhaps the best we've had anywhere. The staff is also exceedingly nice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dagordon

              We ate there a couple of months ago as part of a Slow Food group and the xiao long bao were terrific -- imho better than Joe's in Chinatown NY which I have had. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole meal, which was excellent.

            2. Need to add that I have been to Dim Sum Garden several times in the last couple of weeks, mostly to satisfy my Xiao Long Bao craving but also to chat with chef Da and watch her make and fill the dough for a fine rendition of this addictive treat. Lawslaw's claim that these are frozen supermarket dumplings could not be more off the mark.
              There is one problem looming for Dim Sum Garden: chef Da is inundated with offers to ply her delicious trade in bigger, fancier restaurants and I don't think that she'll be working in the garden much longer. Hopefully, she will have trained the other chefs how to continue the quality of the restaurant's signature dish.