Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >
Aug 11, 2009 07:51 PM

Dim Sum In Philly Chinatown

Any suggestions as to the best place to go for Dim Sum. I am planning for a Saturday, I am rookie for Philly Chinatown. I read that Ocean Harbor is good and I read that it is only so-so,


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've never been a big fan of Philly Chinese, so I would be interested in any recs also. I did like the soup dumpling place--

    2 Replies
    1. re: feklar42

      There is a coupon available for this place on If you use the code PORTION, you will get an additional discount. Call before you go, though. I tried to go a few weekas ago & they were closed -- hopefully just for vacation.

      1. re: feklar42

        I just got an email from letting me know that Zhi-wei-guan has apparently closed/gone out of business. The email offers an exchange in kind for a certificate of equal value from another participating restaurant.

      2. Dim Sum Garden is good. Sketchy and under the convention center 'overpass', but really....really....good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hollyd

          I'll have to try that one next.
          On another note, I was kind of frustrated by kingdom of vegetarians. I love vege dim sum, but I don't really like all the fried things that come out first, so I make requests for the ones I want and they don't seem to like that much.

          1. re: hollyd

            I think the bus fumes add a little something to the soup dumplings! I kid, best soup dumplings in Philly!

          2. I found Ocean Harbor decidedly so-so, but I'm not a big fan of dim sum in general: I like to know what I'm eating, and that can be difficult or impossible at a dim sum place. Plus they stuck us at a table up on a dais away from the rest of the dining room. As a result, they couldn't bring the carts up close to us so we could see what they were offering.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Buckethead

              This isn't a great city for dim sum b/c they aren't too many Cantonese or Hong Kongese residents here. Unfortunately Ocean Harbor is the best you'll get.

              And as a side note, it's not too difficult to discern dim sum ingredients. It's basically a choice between pork, shrimp, and occasionally beef. If you were a dim sum novice then perhaps you shouldn't have allowed yourself to be seated in the elevated area.

              1. re: FoolForFood

                Unfortunately at Ocean Harbor on a Sunday morning, it was either sit there or stand and wait for who knows how long. I wish I had made it to Lakeside Deli before it closed.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Joy Cin Lau (sp)has very good dim sum. most , but not all , of the ladies pushing the carts speak enough english so you can choose well. We actually prefer trying a few things unknown and almost always are pleasantly surprised. When in doubt look around at all of the (95%) chinese familys around you see what they have and point.

            2. We've been dim sum addicts for decades, and have gone to pretty much every place in Chinatown. We think that Ocean City (9th Street) used to be the best dim sum in the city. We were there this weekend, and were horrified at a major change: they didn't make the dim sum on their own premises anymore (at least not this weekend)!!

              The first thing we noticed was that the place was much less crowded than usual. We arrived around noon on Saturday, and were worried that we might be 'too late' since in the past it was often packed by noon. We were surprised that it was 3/4 empty. When the carts came out it all looked the same (except we noticed the selection was skimpier, fewer choices than usual). We got our usual 5 plates. Every one of them was a complete disappointment, and TOTALLY different from the Ocean City we had come to know and love for years. Every one was dried out and tough, greasy, tasting re-heated. I went to the bathroom to sneek a peek into the kitchen, and to my horror and surprise, I saw stacks of boxes of pre-made dim sums (couldn't tell if they were frozen, but probably), being loaded into steamers for re-heating! There was no sign of anything being made fresh in the kitchen.

              It was such a huge disappointment. We're hoping maybe they're only doing this 'for the summer' when crowds are thinner. But then, maybe the emptiness of the place was because word had gone around Chinatown that Ocean City was now serving reheated frozen stuff. We'll go back one more time, but we're afraid that maybe the recession and short-sighted cost-cutting may have caught up with Ocean City.

              A moment of silence in memorian for the previously best dim sum in the city. Oh well.... the search continues for the next best place.