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Dim Sum in Miami?

winegirl1973 May 20, 2008 01:20 PM

I just moved to Miami from Chicago two weeks ago and I'm craving Dim Sum. The reports I'm hearing so far aren't very hopeful. I've heard that the better (i.e. more authentic) Chinese is in Aventura or the suburbs (which I'm happy to drive to on the weekends), but the places my boyfriend has tried (such as Miss Yip) he found pretty disappointing.

So in a town without a real Chinatown, where do you get Dim Sum?

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  1. j
    Jenaclaree RE: winegirl1973 May 20, 2008 01:52 PM

    South Garden on Sunset and about 112th avenue is excellent. They do the carts on weekends. Kon Chau is also very good but does not do the carts and is a hole in the wall.

    1. ankimo RE: winegirl1973 May 20, 2008 02:34 PM

      typical top contenders for Miami are Tropical, South Garden, Kon Chau
      other discussed places are Jumbo, Canton Palace, Sang's, (China Pavilion, Toa Toa as you go up north)
      not looked upon favorably -- the sobe places
      other chinese restaurants: Peppers (very good but up north), Lung Gong (hole in the wall), King Palace BBQ, Hong Kong City BBQ (up north), Silver Pond (mini asian strip mall)

      3 Replies
      1. re: ankimo
        Nick RE: ankimo May 21, 2008 09:26 AM

        I've been meaning to try Jumbo for lunch, as I'm in that neighborhood often. I don't know much about dim sum though. What are my best bets there?

        1. re: Nick
          advisor_Girl RE: Nick May 21, 2008 09:58 AM


          There is an older gentleman who waits on tables there who is friendly and very helpful. He speaks perfect English and can help you navigate the little photo menu. Much depends upon your tastes and willingness to explore. You can order just a few steam baskets of dumplings (the tiny steamed shrimp are nice or pan fried pork or baked or steamed pork buns) and then try the chow fun or the seafood noodles ... AAArgh! Now I am hungry and nowhere near there!


          1. re: advisor_Girl
            Nick RE: advisor_Girl May 21, 2008 02:59 PM

            Thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely willing to explore.

      2. Frodnesor RE: winegirl1973 May 20, 2008 02:52 PM

        This thread hasn't been updated for a few months but still probably has the most and best information on Miami dim sum options ->


        There's links within that thread to a 4-way taste test between the most frequently mentioned candidates ->

        Only significant update to the info in those threads is that I've found the quality at Mr. Chu's on South Beach to have gone downhill on more recent visits.

        There's nothing I'm aware of in Aventura, probably thinking of the stretch along 163rd St. between Biscayne Blvd. and I-95.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Frodnesor
          tpigeon RE: Frodnesor May 20, 2008 06:41 PM

          Agreed on Chu frod. So sad.

        2. Blind Mind RE: winegirl1973 May 20, 2008 05:57 PM

          Tropical Chinese for Dim Sum. The cart ladies are fast and furious. I once had food on the table before my ass even hit the seat! Food is excellent and if you like bowling there is Bird Bowl right down the street and its not expensive like Lucky Strike. The old shoes and pitchers of beer with bags of ice in them are classic.

          Tropical Chinese Restaurant
          7991 Bird Rd, Miami, FL 33155

          Bird Bowl
          9275 SW 40th St, Miami, FL

          8 Replies
          1. re: Blind Mind
            Miami Danny RE: Blind Mind May 23, 2008 07:00 PM

            Agree-Tropical-Fast Carts, and an open kitchen (!) so you know stuff's fresh-very unusual for a Dim Sum parlor. Spots on 163rd St., like Jumbo's and Sang's, are not making fresh dim sum.

            1. re: Miami Danny
              Vee7 RE: Miami Danny May 23, 2008 07:50 PM

              Miami D
              What do you mean by not making fresh dim sum. Are you saying they are frozen or steamed earlier and left on a steam table? I've eaten at Sang's recently and their dim sum tasted good and seemed freshly cooked to order.

              1. re: Vee7
                Miami Danny RE: Vee7 May 23, 2008 07:57 PM

                I don't believe that every dim sum menu contains freshly made items-that is certainly true of both Sang's and Jumbo. Freshly made wrappers, freshly made fillings, and cooked to order. That's not happening at either place. The last time I ate at both places, it was obvious that some items were not freshly made.

                1. re: Miami Danny
                  winegirl1973 RE: Miami Danny May 24, 2008 11:15 PM

                  Thanks so much for all the recommendations! I had a great lunch today at East Ocean in North Beach and got some of these same recommendations, although nowhere near as many. I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Chu's, since that was a name that came up. I'm also looking for a fish market -- or any market -- to buy fresh fish. I know about Fresh Market and Whole Foods in Coral Gables -- any other suggestions? I might be naive, but being in Florida, it just seems to me like there should be something truly local, somewhere other than a chain grocery store, even a good one.

                  1. re: winegirl1973
                    Frodnesor RE: winegirl1973 May 25, 2008 06:47 AM

                    Similar inquiry and responses here ->


                    1. re: winegirl1973
                      Blind Mind RE: winegirl1973 May 26, 2008 11:43 AM

                      Casablanca Fish Market is great for fresh fish at a good price. Sea Scallops at $9.95/lb are a great value as well.

                      1. re: Blind Mind
                        Skeeta RE: Blind Mind Aug 16, 2008 12:44 PM

                        We love dim sum. We tried Sang's today, had high expectations but it was not good. Dim sum was not even close to Tropical or Mr. Chu's in flavor or quality. Very disappointed. The siu mai was so dense it was like a hard ball. Never again!

                        1. re: Blind Mind
                          BottomsUpMiami RE: Blind Mind Feb 12, 2009 06:16 PM

                          Most definitely Casablanca...located right on the river, the boats pull in there each morning with the fresh catch. Snapper (all kinds), Mahi, Kingfish, and Grouper are some of the usuals as well as all mollusks and crustaceans.

              2. t
                tiodamon RE: winegirl1973 Aug 16, 2008 01:10 PM

                As a former resident of NY who had dim sum in Chinatown on different occasions, I can safely say that Tropical Chinese is excellent for both dinner and dimsum. It's on Bird Rd just off the Palmetto Expressway.

                16 Replies
                1. re: tiodamon
                  nikklos RE: tiodamon Aug 17, 2008 08:22 AM

                  Absolutely agree. I've eaten a lot of dim sum in Chinatown (NYC) and I tell everyone down here that Tropical Chinese beats them all. The only thing I don't like about the Dim Sum at Tropical is I don't get to have the Peking Duck which, again, is better than I've had anywhere in NYC.

                  1. re: nikklos
                    tpigeon RE: nikklos Aug 17, 2008 09:23 AM

                    Sorry, I like tropical but it does not beat the best NYC has to offer.

                    1. re: tpigeon
                      nikklos RE: tpigeon Aug 17, 2008 09:49 AM

                      Give me your best and I will try to make an argument on how Tropical stands up. Sure Chinatown has some good Dim Sum but for the most part it is either orfdinary food served with indignation or the banquet halls where they sit you with couples gnawing on chicken feet.

                      1. re: nikklos
                        tpigeon RE: nikklos Aug 17, 2008 11:42 AM

                        I like the dim sum at tropical, but at times I have been given cold dim sum there so that is a minus for them. I have not had dim sum in ny for about 2 years now so I don't feel qualified to compare restaurants directly on the ny end, though I did like dim sum a go go better for dim sum and peking duck house for peking duck.

                        Also, keep in mind that you said NYC, which includes all 5 buroughs. Not only chinatown...

                        When they first opened, Mr. Chu was better than Tropical, but they have since declined, probably due to the lack of support, which is unfortunate.

                        1. re: tpigeon
                          nikklos RE: tpigeon Aug 18, 2008 05:57 AM

                          I have heard great things about the Peking Duck House. The thing about Tropical is I always took some measure of satisfaction that we here in Miami had at least one restaurant that could serve up examples of its particular cuisine on a par with what can be had in NYC - solely based on my own experience and opinion, of course.

                          1. re: nikklos
                            tpigeon RE: nikklos Aug 18, 2008 02:05 PM

                            We beat the pants off of nyc in argentinian, peruvian and colombian.

                            1. re: tpigeon
                              nikklos RE: tpigeon Aug 19, 2008 05:02 AM

                              Have to admit, never had anything the likes of Graziano's in Manhattan. Heck, may as well skip Manhattan and just hang out on Bird Road.

                            2. re: nikklos
                              tpigeon RE: nikklos Aug 18, 2008 02:08 PM

                              BTW don't get me wrong. I really like tropical and I do think it would do just fine in NYC, maybe not the best, but would hold its own.

                              1. re: tpigeon
                                lax2mia RE: tpigeon Aug 19, 2008 06:29 AM

                                Really? I wouldn't think Tropical could hold its own in Monterey Park, much less the vaunted NYC. Some of the stuff seems premade and/or frozen. I like it, but there's much better out there.

                                1. re: lax2mia
                                  Blind Mind RE: lax2mia Aug 19, 2008 06:38 AM

                                  Now youre really reaching L2M. They have an open kitchen where you can watch them prep and cook and Ive never tasted anything there that seemed premade or frozen. Everyone is different. Some like Tropical, some dont. I really enjoy the food there, dim sum or not. Lets leave it at that.

                                  1. re: Blind Mind
                                    nikklos RE: Blind Mind Aug 19, 2008 07:39 AM

                                    That open kitchen is the coolest thing and really does set Tropical apart from most other Chinese places.

                                    1. re: Blind Mind
                                      lax2mia RE: Blind Mind Aug 19, 2008 07:55 AM

                                      There's just something about it. Friends from out of town have thought the same thing w/o me even mentioning anything. The shu mai look too uniform. Same with the leek dumpling. I've looked through that kitchen window many times and I've never seen them making dumplings. They're stir frying like crazy, but I've never seen them actually prepping dim sum. If you have then that's good enough for me, but there's just something sketchy about it.

                                      1. re: lax2mia
                                        lax2mia RE: lax2mia Aug 24, 2008 02:48 PM

                                        With all the talk about dim sum, and a chance errand that took us to the western reaches of Miami, we mid a pit stop at Tropical for an early lunch. I was hoping to get a table with view of the open kitchen and bam, the hostess sat right at the first table with view of the full kitchen.
                                        Whilst there we saw the woks going fast and furious, the noodles being freshly prepared from a huge block of dough, but what we couldn't see was the dim sum prep. I figured with all the different kinds of dim sum there'd at least have to be a small army of cooks just making dim sum. Maybe they're in a further, out of sight part of the kitchen where we couldn't see. We did see the salt and pepper shrimb and squid being prepared and plated and a few seconds later a cart come out of the kitchen with the plates of crispy crustaceans but unfortunately the steamed and fried dim sum prep remains a mystery.
                                        As for the experience, we found the pan fried food greasier than usual (why should the entire leek dumpling be greasy if only the bottom is pan fried?) though the steamed dumplings were good.

                                        1. re: lax2mia
                                          taiga RE: lax2mia Sep 2, 2008 02:36 PM

                                          My yearly complaint about Tropical -- particularly greasy. I have eaten greasy Chinese food in China, but the Dim Sum I have eaten in traditional places there was never greasy. As a result, I prefer South Garden though it has been a while.

                                    2. re: lax2mia
                                      tpigeon RE: lax2mia Aug 19, 2008 07:04 AM

                                      Truth is, there are lots of places that do just fine in chinatown nyc that don't have good food at all.

                                      1. re: lax2mia
                                        ankimo RE: lax2mia Aug 19, 2008 03:35 PM

                                        Tropical is among the top in Miami, but it wouldn't be among the top in LA or NYC.

                        2. yomyb RE: winegirl1973 Aug 17, 2008 06:06 AM

                          Has anyone noticed or even tried the new Hong Kong Noodles where Jumbo's used to be on 163rd? Went for Indian yesterday in the area and noticed Jumbo's was gone. Is it the same people, different name or is it a new spot to explore?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: yomyb
                            Skeeta RE: yomyb Aug 17, 2008 10:01 AM

                            Well, I can't say Tropical beats NYC cause I have yet to find the wonderful soupy dumplings you get at a place like Joe's Shanghai on Pell St in Chinatown. Yum! However Tropical is about the best in South Florida for me for both dim sum and dinner.

                            1. re: yomyb
                              tarepanda RE: yomyb Aug 24, 2008 08:02 PM

                              It's new ownership. I have yet to try it as I was told there is a really long line for dim sum. I did go for dinner once and found the service friendly and food good. (Though of the four dishes we ordered: greens with shrimp sauce, steamed fish, pipa tofu and Chinese celery with goose intestine, all but one were not on the menu but rather suggestions from the waitress.)

                              My friend who tried it said it's on par with Chinese Pavilion up in Pembroke, which is lately one of the best dim sum places.

                              1. re: tarepanda
                                Frodnesor RE: tarepanda Aug 31, 2008 11:57 AM

                                We just tried Hong Kong Noodles for dim sum today. Service is checklist style rather than cart. Place was pretty busy but not completely packed around mid-day on a Sunday.

                                We tried har gow (fresh tasting shrimp, nice texture to the dumpling wrapper), bean curd skin roll (OK though I've had elsewhere with more flavor), chiu chow fun gor (translucent dumplings filled w/ pork, water chestnut, black mushroom, pretty good), tripe (advertised as being done w/ black bean sauce but came out pretty much unsauce - clean and nice texture - assuming you like tripe! - but bland unless swiped through some chili sauce and soy), turnip cake (really good version - this one done with slivers of chinese sausage), 1/2 roast duck (only OK - somehow the flavors weren't fully integrated, you'd get one bite of nothing but soy, then another that was overpowering w/ 5-spice; though they do have a nice-looking full BBQ station with hanging ducks, chickens, pork, etc.), spring rolls (greasy but good according to Frod Jr. and Little Miss F), custard buns and custard tarts (Frod Jr. and Little Miss F also made these disappear before anyone else could try).

                                They've got tanks loaded w/ dungeness crab, lobster, and a few different kinds of fish, and several specials written in Chinese posted on the walls. We didn't try any of the eponymous noodle dishes but the menu possibilities are pretty extensive.

                                While some things were better than others and I wouldn't say anything was really stand-out exceptional, this was still pretty good, fresh and tasty and we'll definitely go back. All of the foregoing for $30 is also nice too.

                                1. re: Frodnesor
                                  The Chowfather AKA sobe RE: Frodnesor Aug 31, 2008 06:18 PM

                                  Frod, I haven't been over in that area recently. Is this located in the Jumbo's spot? Any idea if it is same ownership with name change? Was it the same Dim Sum menu?

                                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe
                                    Frodnesor RE: The Chowfather AKA sobe Aug 31, 2008 07:18 PM

                                    Same spot as Jumbo's. New regular menu with lots more noodle dishes, new BBQ station installed, new printed sheet for the dim sum menu, but the items looked very similar including a couple of the more unique ones (i.e. crispy shrimp w/ mango). I didn't recognize the folks working there but didn't go to Jumbo's often enough that I could tell you that I would have if I'd seen them before. Quality was better than my last couple Jumbo's visits.

                                    1. re: Frodnesor
                                      YonaShyml RE: Frodnesor Feb 10, 2009 07:40 PM

                                      We tried heading over to the place that replaced Jumbo. The menu looked great, but I was a bit concerned about the neighborhood. We had more than a few people cruise by our car, and I was concerned for my children's safety. Perhaps it was the liquor store in the same market. We passed on it, headed to Sang's which apparently was having a private party that night--so no go there, either! :( Does Sang's do this frequently?

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