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Nov 7, 2009 05:42 PM

Golden Unicorn

I'm going to be in town on December 5th, and have decided to try Golden Unicorn from what I have read on here. I have to questions.
1. I'm starting out at Canal and Broadway, how to I get to it from this location?
2. What is not to be missed?

Golden Unicorn
18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

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  1. I would reconsider your choice..

    3 Replies
    1. re: StheJ

      hmmm...can you give me some more insight and maybe a better suggestion?

      1. re: swf36d

        I would do a search for Lau's posts on this topic, although he'll tell you to go to Perfect Team Corporation in Flushing... Dim Sum a Go Go and Red Egg seem to be popular with others on this board, but my go to place is Sunshine 27 on Bowery.

        1. re: swf36d

          as StheJ said id seriously avoid golden unicorn, the dim sum is awful and if you must stay in manhattan, id stick to dim sum go go or red egg as StheJ said (its not carts, but the dim sum is better quality....as you'll see from other posts i actually dont like carts, they are relics of the past....menu based dim sum is generally much fresher and better)

          if you can make it out to flushing (the food will be much better, LIRR takes 15 mins to get there) then i'd go to perfect team or jade asian

          fyi, you'll probably encounter a wait at DSGG, perfect team or jade asian unless you go early. Also just general word of advice, generally its better to get there earlier (like before 12) b/c the dim sum is fresher. This will matter slightly less at DSGG and red egg b/c they are menu based, but still id still stick to going earlier...the quality will generally be better

      2. Do not reconsider. Golden Unicorn has the best dim sum by far in Chinatown. Red Egg i find overrated, Dim Sum GoGo not worth the wait and can be terrible very inconsistent, King Sea Food a good second choice, Chatham is good( the old Hop Shing)
        walk East on Canal to Bowery make a right, when you see Confucious Sq. by the Pagoda Bank make a left onto east broadway, its right off the corner on the 2nd floor. youll see the big sign ,,or walk down broadway to worth st make a left , diagonally cross to East broadway

        Golden Unicorn
        18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

        Chatham Restaurant
        9 Chatham Sq, New York, NY 10038

        Red Egg
        202 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodwhisperer

          I've never gone for Dim Sum before and I am really excited to try it. I will be going by myself however, will this be a problem?

          1. re: swf36d

            Each dish usually comes 4 pieces per plate. Do you plan to eat all four dumplings, buns, etc. or leave some on the plate? If you bring more people, you'll be able to share and try more items.

            Dim sum for beginners:

        2. I first went to Golden Unicorn in 1990. In the case of Chinese cuisine, longevity is not necessarily a virtue because Chinese food evolves and improves. Some restaurants are capable of reinventing themselves, but they're in the distinct minority. In my opinion you're better off trying more recently founded establishments like Red Egg, Dim Sum Go Go, Chatham Sq, Sunshine 27 etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chandavkl

            agreed, i really think golden unicorn is quite bad...i think some people like it b/c of the hustle and bustle of the carts, but the quality is sub par

          2. I agree that there are perhaps a dozen other places beside Golden Unicorn that are better/different for dim sum.

            The OP says they're new to eating dim sum. What's wrong with going once to Golden Unicorn (if only to admire the sheer *size* of the place)? The OP will no doubt be bitten by the dim sum bug, and upon scanning more dim sum posts on Chowhound, will commit to traveling out to Flushing where the *best* dim sum is.

            To the OP: it's a shame you'll be doing dim sum *alone.* Dim-sum is all about drinking tea, chatting, and having stuff to eat brought around hot and fresh, during the conversation. My recommendation is to bring at least one other person.

            11 Replies
            1. re: shaogo

              sure they are new, but given they are posting on chound, what is the point of going to the a bad place when you can go to a better place?

              i agree with your 2nd point...dim sum is really about hanging out with friends and family

              1. re: Lau

                The reason I'm going it alone is I'm coming into town on a bus with a group, many of which are going to the Titanic Exhibit, which I'm not going to. They aren't very adventurous anyway. I have had pork buns and steamed dumplings, which I love. I'm looking forward to trying the turnip cake, but don't think I could do the chicken feet (I have and aversion to the skin/fat thing) I'm figuring I could try a few different things since I will be walking a lot and this will most likely be my big meal for the day. I'm really torn between dim sum, or falafal at Taim.

                1. re: swf36d

                  Don't front on yourself... Do both!

                  If you're starting from times square, it would probably be easiest to take the n/r train to canal street and walk up centre street to red egg. Then walk back uptown through soho and stop at Taim. There's a lot of great stuff to see in between.

                  1. re: swf36d

                    If you're going to be alone, my rec would be to do Dim Sum Go Go. They have a dim sum platter -- 10 pieces of dim sum that are all different. It will be the best way to try a large variety. And it is my favorite for dim sum in Manhattan.

                2. re: shaogo

                  I'm going to play devil's advocate here for just a moment. Firstly, it's been so long since I went to Golden Unicorn or Jin Fong (sp?) that I can't remember if it was good or bad. It's been at the very least 5 years, probably closer to 10.

                  It may be a little kitschy, but if you're a total newbie to dim sum, the carts make it easier. Menu-based dim sum (like DSGG) requires more thought, and you're never sure if you're getting enough, and you may not have any idea what you're ordering. If you're a dim sum rookie, you may under order, over order, or simply stick to those things on the menu that sound "safe." Lau, your knowledge of chinatown is impressive and respected. In fact I'd love to go on a ctown food tour with you. But to many people trying to figure out how much to order, and what, may be more difficult to get "right."

                  A point of fact, last time I went to DSGG, the waiter was not too keen on our putting in a second round of orders. He brought the four of us our 10-12 dishes that we ordered and he just wanted us to leave.

                  So having said all of that... are there any places with carts or servers carrying trays where diners can look at and select the food that are any good? Menu-based may be better and fresher, but you have to know more about what you're ordering.

                  1. re: egit

                    On the other hand, perhaps swf36d would be more comfortable ordering off the menu provided she knew what to order and how much... (I mean she is here looking for advice) DSGG and Red Egg are much more tame/manageable/less intimidating than cart places... but you don't really get the same experience.

                    Lau: If you were going to recommend only 5 dishes for a person new to dim sum, what would they be?

                    1. re: StheJ

                      egit - i hear you although to be honest if you're totally new to dim sum i'm not even sure it matters b/c when i take some friends they are like "what the hell is that?" haha...plus DSGG and Red Egg are pretty english friendly. Although i do agree that alot of people think the carts are fun. Hence i do think flushing is the right call, places are a bit nicer, food is def better and you get the carts. I just don't really like that people get the idea that dim sum is this greasy mess and that's how it should be (and that's what i think you'll get at GU and JF)

                      StheJ -
                      1) ha gow (steamed shrimp dumplings): i think these are great plus alot of chinese people judge dim sum places on how good these are
                      2) cheung fan (rice noodle crepe): beef or shrimp, personally i like beef better...i love this dish
                      3) cha siu bao (roast pork bun): i like the steamed version and although my favorite kind the filling is usually more savory than sweet, i think this is a must get
                      4) siu mai (steamed pork dumplings): these are also very typical dim sum although i think most places do not make these well as they are surprisingly difficult to make well. I am also sort of spoiled as my grandmother made these better than i've had anywhere else (including asia and people's houses)
                      5) zha liang (fried crueller wrapped in rice noodle): i absolutely love this dish, while it is common and every dim sum place has it, i feel like alot of people don't know what it is. It's a you tiao (fried crueller) wrapped in the same rice noodle / crepe thing that cheung fan is topped with a light soy sauce (people also don't realize there are grades of soy sauce) which is lighter and a little less salty than regular soy sauce

                      1. re: Lau


                        Thanks for the info. I don't think that I've ever had zha liang and can't wait to try it.

                        Not to be too demanding of your time, but what would you recommend as the next five dim sum dishes that should not be missed?

                        1. re: StheJ

                          3) cha siu bao (roast pork bun) is more like:

                          3a) steamed pork bun (white)
                          3b) baked pork bun (golden brown)

                          I like both!

                          Aside from what Lau mentioned, I'm always on the lookout for char siu sou (roast pork in puff pastry) which are pastries with roast pork on the inside, and a buttery, flaky outside and dan tat (egg tarts).

                          You'll also notice a lot of variations on har gow and siu mai. Sometimes there will be steamed shrimp dumplings as well as steamed shrimp and vegetable dumplings. Pork siu mai as well as pork and shrimp siu mai, etc. Lots and lots of shrimp and pork in dim sum.

                          It might be worth trying turnip cake, chicken feet, or congee, but lots of newbies don't necessarily like them the first time. :)

                  2. re: shaogo

                    Ok, I decided to take my chances and go to Golden Unicorn despite everyone's misgivings. Maybe its because I am a complete newbie to Dim Sum, but I enjoyed everything I had. If this is bad dim sum, I can't imagine what good dim sum is like.
                    I arrived shortly after 11am, and I was the only non-Asian person in the dining room. I was seated on the second floor and seated immediatly. I wasn't asked what kind of tea I wanted, but that was ok, because I really wouldn't have known what to ask for anyway. I Have no idea what I got, but it was hot and I was cold and wet, so it hit the spot. The cart ladies began coming to me immediatly and I will say, I got a little over excited by all the options and got Steamed Vegetable Dumpling and Steamed Chiu Dumpling right off the bat. All were very light and fresh and quite delicious. Next were Steamed Roast Pork Buns. I hadn't realized that ther was paper on the bottom of them and one of the cart ladies that was passing by was nice enough to point it out to me. Again they were extremely light and hot. I really wanted to try the turnip cake, and when the lady came by, the offered me two kinds of dumpling that I had no idea what she said they were. I agreed to whatever they were thinking there would just be 3 of them to a plate, put when she finished frying them, there were three of EACH. Oh, well, I'm adventurous, so I gave them a try. One had a garlicky type of greens inside, and the other one had some kind of seafood inside. I only ate one of each and waited for my turnip cake. When it finally arrived, I was getting pretty full, but I wanted to try it. I only took a few bites, but it was rich and good and seemed like there were tiny pieces of pork in it.
                    I really wanted those seseme balls for desert (well actually I would have liked to try one of each desert, but there was no way I could eat much more). I decided on the custard tarts ( not the right name for them). They were the perfect ending. Light, only slightly sweet, and the crust melted in your mouth.
                    After I was already beyond full, the captain came by and asked me if I would like to take anything with me. I declined since I would be walking around the city for about 6 more hours. My check came to slightly over $20.
                    I would definitely go again and the next time I would take more people with me and not be so hasty to take the first things that came out. The later carts had some really nice things like clams and duck on them.
                    I wish I had taken pictures to encourage some of my friends who declined to join me as they had never even heard of Dim Sum, but after I told them of all the things I tried, they are all excited to join me the next time. I thought it was a great introduction to an unexplored neighborhood and a nice lunch.

                    1. re: swf36d

                      well glad you enjoyed that your first dim sum experience

                      next time go to perfect team (recently changed its english name to its chinese name, so its now called guang zhou restaurant) in flushing and you'll see a totally new neighborhood (flushing) and you'll try much higher quality dim sum as well

                  3. 1. I agree with Lau and other posters as to going to dim sum with friends and family. This is surely ideal.

                    2. However, I tend to go by myself more often than not and never have any trouble. Plus, it's easy to get a place at a semi-full table. So you won't have to wait.

                    3. Over the past two weeks I have been to Red Egg, Dim Sum Go Go and Sunshine 27 and have had the same 4 dishes: har gow, shu mai, lo ba kow and "shrimp noodle" (I've never really gotten a translation on this... Is it Har Cheng Fun?) and I would have to say that Red Egg had the freshest/largest/most tasty of all four dishes, except that the lo ba kow was consistently good at all three places. Dim Sum Go Go would be second and then Sunshine 27, although I like Sunshine 27 because of the carts.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: StheJ

                      yeah that is right in cantonese for shrimp noodle

                      1. re: StheJ

                        It's "Har Cheong Fun" and not "Har Cheng Fun". Literally translated, it means "Shrimp Intestine Noodles" where the "intestine" refers to the fact that the rice noodle crepe around the shrimp looks like intestines. FYI.