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Oct 8, 2008 06:11 AM

Dim Sum Distilled

It's a chick weekend in Seattle. We're staying at the Warwick -- think public transit, no car. A few of us want dim sum on either Saturday or Sunday morning. Three of us are foodies and experienced dim-sum eaters; one is a newbie. We'd like to give her a first-rate, delicious introduction to the dumplings.

I have read three or four threads in this forum. Since I'm not from the area, I'm having trouble deciphering what will be geographically desirable for our group.

What is your #1 recommendation for dim sum in or accessible to downtown Seattle? Can we get there on public transit?

Thanks! (or should I say "hsieh-hsieh")

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  1. in downtown and closest to your hotel (and most comfortable, go a bit early and request a booth) would be O'Asian on 5th and Marion, about a 10 block walk

    1. O'Asian is about a mile's walk, but I much prefer Jade Garden in the Chinatown/International District ("ID") area which is another half-mile south. 7th Ave S. & S. King Street.

      On weekends, the 36 (Beacon Hill) bus leaves 6th and Lenora (2 blocks from your hotel) roughly on the half-hour and will take you through downtown to Chinatown. Hop off at S. Jackson & 7th Ave S. (ask the bus driver when you get on to announce the stop in case you're worried about missing it.) Walk south down 7th, it's on your left. The ride should be free - it's in the downtown ride-free area.

      (The pho place on the right side of 7th there - Pho Bac - is also excellent.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: terrier

        and if Jade Garden is too packed, you can give up on dim sum and go to Mikes for noodles and congee. The pumpkin [or pumkin as it appears on the menu] congee is awesome, be it straight or with rock cod.

        1. re: jenn

          ditto on the congee (or go to Honey Court for dimsum, i'm thinking of their flat circular crispy shrimp wonton and their "hollow" scallion pancake)

      2. O'Asian won't have a wait, is quick to walk to and will give you good, reliable dim sum. I think that Jade Garden is overrated, further and you'll have to wait a fair amount of time. If you are taking a bus, you might as well grab one up to Tea Garden at Ranier and Dearborn, where you won't wait and you will again get the best dim sum around, without a wait.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dagoose

          O'Asian gets points from me for having no wait, but having been there a half-dozen times the only consistent thing about the food is that everything is served lukewarm, not hot. Totally unacceptable in my book.

          Jade Garden does enough business that the food is hot. That, to me, is worth the wait.

          I will have to try Tea Garden, haven't been there yet.

        2. "one is a newbie. We'd like to give her a first-rate, delicious introduction to the dumplings."

          If this statement is true. The last thing you should do is take her to a Seattle Dim-Sum place. "First-rate" dim sum does not exist in Seattle. To think that a person's introduction to the wonders that is dim sum at a mediocre at best place like O'Asian, Jade Garden, or Tea Garden is frightening to me. If you must, take the morning train to Vancouver, have first-rate dim sum at Kirin, and take the afternoon train back to Seattle. This is very doable as I've done it many times!

          BTW, stay away from Mike's Noodle House, it is NOT good!


          5 Replies
          1. re: hhlodesign

            I beg to differ. I fully, completely and totally agree that there is far superior dim sum in Richmond.

            That said, I think that if, having never had dim sum, I would be in love with what we have here. In fact, not having the finances to take day trips to Canada, I often find myself completely happy with the food at Tea Garden. hhlo may think me a complete heathen, but really, I'm totally okay with that, as long as I get to put tasty, hot dumplings in my mouth 5 blocks from my house on a sunday morning.

            1. re: dagoose

              If I thought you a heathen, I'd be a heathen right there with you. As I've said before, I'll take shitty dim sum over no dim sum any day of the week and twice on Sundays. However, my fear is that of a situation like a friend of mine who went through most of her life thinking she hated sushi because her first experience with it was at a place serving fish that was not very fresh. I finally got her to try a place that I knew took pride in the quality of their fish and she was blown away at the difference; and upset that she went through MANY years depriving herself of something that is amazing. And yes, good Seattle dim sum is a fair comparison to bad LA sushi.

              1. re: hhlodesign

                Okay, that is a bit more reasonable. I haven't been to O'Asian in a while, and thought it passable, but that was like 2 years ago, but I do agree that Jade Garden's could be enough to turn a person off. Tea Garden I think is not bad enough to do that, but the point is arguable....

                And Karen, I certainly don't think there is a question of whether or not there is better dim sum in Richmond!

              2. re: dagoose

                There's a Kirin in Richmond. I think I have to agree that there's better dim sum in Richmond. We use to go up to Vancouver for a day all the time and dim sum was usually the first meal we'd have.

              3. re: hhlodesign

                What's your gripe with Mike's Noodle House? I know that they do miss on a few of their offerings, but they make the kind of good, old-fashioned wontons and dumplings that you can't even find in Hong Kong anymore - and this is the opinion of many, many Hounds that live over there who happen to visit Seattle.

              4. asiana. it's upscale, very good and close to where your staying. there's tons of dive dim sum in the international district which is very good but i don't know which ones specifically.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vega4933

                  I've not heard of this. Where is it exactly?