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Sunshine Oriental Restaurant - Dim Sum in Concord NH

w
wongadon Jun 20, 2010 06:11 PM

We went to check out Sunshine, formerly Fusion, on Loudon Road upon hearing that they offered dim sum - not bad, not great, but definitely closer than driving to Bedford or Manchester's North/South Gardens. About a 20 item standard selection, ordered a la carte, not on a cart.

More traditional dinner items also on the menu...

Super nice owners, really trying hard - please go check them out!

  1. whs Dec 29, 2011 05:53 PM

    Nice selection of dim sum today--delicious congee soup to start, followed by turnip cake, chicken feet in black bean sauce, pork and shrimp shumai, steamed buns with bbq pork, and a few other items--everything was piping hot and home-made-- a good reasonable place for a warming meal--our bill was under $22. They seem to be doing a steady business between takeout and inhouse.

    1. lepetitechef Jan 24, 2011 07:13 AM

      Hey! I'm still exploring Sunshine Restaurant but I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring at this point -- So far I've found their dishes to be tasty and authentic. And one more thing... no trace of msg! I mean, not even in the seasonings. Some of you may not know that many Chinese restaurants, although they themselves don't add msg to the dishes, it can be in the bottled sauces and dried spices used during preparation. (Btw, if you've eaten a fast-food hamburger, you've eaten more MSG than any Chinese restaurant could put out in 20 family-style dishes!) Nevertheless, Sunshine seems to have taken the care to select and use quality msg-free ingredients for the preparation of their dishes.
      Now, I don't mean to browbeat, but remember that Chinese restaurants are like pizza parlors. Each one has it's own characteristic pizza. Unless it's a franchise, there will be slight variations on standard dishes due to the preferences of different chefs. If you have expectations of the same ol' same ol', I suggest you go to the grocery store and get a frozen bag of that well-known Chinese restaurant chain's stuff and prepare it according to the package instructions -- it will taste EXACTLY like what you had at the restaurant -- because that's what they use in their kitchens. (After eating in one of those places, I suspect it's actually the waitstaff who are preparing the meals themselves by throwing bags of frozen General Gau into the microwave and plating them for their respective tables.)
      Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox -- when I finish my exploration of Sunshine, I will be back with a more thorough review!

      10 Replies
      1. re: lepetitechef
        l
        lolosiege Mar 14, 2011 12:36 PM

        whoops - posted in the wrong spot so reposting - Can anyone on this board confirm Sunshine Oriental is still open (particularly for lunch)? Hoping to meet up with my sister there on Friday, but I've tried calling a few times today to confirm hours and the line rings several times and then goes to a fax tone.

        1. re: lolosiege
          whs Mar 14, 2011 01:21 PM

          They are closed Monday. Sun. 11:30am-9:30pm. Tues.-Thurs. 11:00am-9.30pm; Fri. & Sat. 11:00am-10:30pm

          1. re: whs
            l
            lolosiege Mar 14, 2011 02:17 PM

            Thanks! Searched the web and couldn't find any listing of hours.

            1. re: lolosiege
              whs Mar 14, 2011 04:39 PM

              Clearly stated on their website: http://www.sunshineoriental.com/

              1. re: whs
                l
                lolosiege Mar 14, 2011 06:18 PM

                wow, that's a hostile response. of course had i been able to find their website that would've been where i looked first, but it did not show up in a google search of "sunshine oriental concord nh" and none of the sites rating/reviewing them provided a link. that's why i sought help here. my mistake.

                1. re: lolosiege
                  m
                  minibrings Mar 14, 2011 06:29 PM

                  lolo: glad you at least found the resto.
                  enjoy!

                  1. re: lolosiege
                    s
                    solargarlic Mar 14, 2011 06:51 PM

                    You're right about it not showing up! It seemed strange to me, so I had to check myself ;). Maybe the website is new and is not showing up on Google yet; they haven't verified it with Google yet; they need some help with SEO...I'd take care of it in exchange for a meal any day!

                    1. re: solargarlic
                      d
                      dfrostnh Mar 15, 2011 06:28 AM

                      Well, I'm glad this was asked because when I saw the restaurant dark on a recent Monday night, I was afraid they had closed. They must have new hours.

                      1. re: dfrostnh
                        crowdingthepan Mar 15, 2011 06:50 AM

                        I assume they're taking a well earned break on Mondays. Tina and her husband were working eleven or twelve hours per day, seven days per week. I think they've got a very young daughter, so this is a quality of life increase for the whole family.

                    2. re: lolosiege
                      whs Mar 15, 2011 01:27 PM

                      Sorry, no offense meant.

          2. vbmontana Jan 5, 2011 10:30 AM

            Had a third visit today. There are many exceptional dishes on the menu and this place deserves much more support. The fried dumplings were very good and the black bean sauced squid was excellent. The staff are very friendly and helpful.

            1. d
              Dave B Jan 3, 2011 06:16 PM

              Photo of 'Spareribs with Dry Garlic' (with beef chow foon in the background).

              Stopped in on New Year's Eve. I was disappointed to learn the dim sum menu was not available that evening due to heavy take-out demand on the kitchen. CROWDING is correct; the dim sum menu is virtually the same as North Garden in Goffstown. That's OK, as there were plenty of other things to check out. I'm a fanatic of the wide, soft rice noodles such as in chow foon, and in similar NH Thai dishes (Hot & Crazy Noodles, etc.). We also ordered pork lo mein as a standard-bearer. If you can't judge a NH Chinese restaurant by the standards, then how does one compare here?

              Deep-fried and battered pork ribs, specked with garlic were oh, so good. The left-overs of which I was too full to finish at the restaurant, were irresistible three hours later at home. I want to drive there right now and order two more batches.

              Chow foon, I ALWAYS get a side of beef chow foon at Vietnamese Noodle House in Nashua. So far, so good as far as SO's version goes. Now, I like SO's version more.

              Also, an order of "Shao Mai" (shu mai?) dumplings. Clearly made in-house, and with large, read whole, shrimps inside. This was a first for me having whole shrimps in shu mai dumplings.

              The lo mein and chow foon? After one visit to SO, I am a lover of Sunshine Oriental. The lo mein and chow foon were wonderfully under-salted, and less-MSG'd (I think), yet with more large meaty bits than I would have anticipated elsewhere based on experience. Nice to not be overwhelmed with salt and MSG.

              When the chef/owner/cook came out toward the end our meal to ask how we liked our food, I attempted to tell him as much; "Your food is good as it is now - don't add salt and MSG. Keep doing what you're doing."

              The restaurant atmosphere wasn't quite as dire as I had been led to expect from Chow reviews. But still, don't expect much in that regard. A limited number of simple booths and tables. It really is a take-out place with limited tables and booths. I told them they need to add some music to drown out the hum of the drink refrigerator. The food.....if in Concord, check it out if you are hungry. Challenge the chef..... I get the impression they are eager to please. You might be surprised. I was.

              Looking forward to more Chow people recommending things I should try at SO, from CROWDING and MAFAN in particular since I have limited experience in this realm.

              PS - I asked about a 'white board' when we first went in, and neither of the teen waitresses knew what I was asking about. So we ordered off the menu. But I can't wait to go back. Total for two people with one Sam Adams and a 22% tip was about $40.

               
              8 Replies
              1. re: Dave B
                w
                wongadon Jan 4, 2011 04:11 AM

                I believe that the owner of North/South Garden is Tina's uncle - I would bet that the source for the dim sum is the same.

                The specials that were on the white board were put at the bottom of the specialties section of the new printed menu.

                Try the salt and pepper head on shrimp - be sure order some beers to go along with it! Yum!

                1. re: Dave B
                  crowdingthepan Jan 4, 2011 04:22 PM

                  I'm with @Wongadon about the Salt and Pepper Shrimp w/ Heads. It's my favorite thing on the menu. The chef is wonderfully liberal with the garlic in that dish , so don’t indulge on the way to a job interview, though.
                  One of my guilty pleasures is embarrassingly Americanized Singapore Noodles, which they do a nice rendition of. Unless I’m mistaken, those noodles have nothing to do with China or Singapore.

                  1. re: Dave B
                    crowdingthepan Jan 4, 2011 04:26 PM

                    Also, Tina will tell you to peel the shrimp before you eat them. Nonsense. That’s too much work just to avoid what I think is a nice textural contrast. Some folks even eat the whole heads (not me).

                    1. re: crowdingthepan
                      w
                      wongadon Jan 8, 2011 11:02 AM

                      Totally - you also lose so much of the flavor! I love Singapore noodles too - they're not bad at SO.

                      My next meal there will be the squid with pickled mustard greens - I only knew how to say the name of the dish in Chinese and Tina had to show it to me on the menu in English. A funny role reversal! I also had to translate an order from French to Chinese for a customer once, pretty funny stuff - I really enjoy the interactions with the owners and their customers as much as the food. Tina does an amazing job of hosting in the limited space that they have. I'm glad that so many of you are having positive experiences there and hope that they'll get a chance to grow in the future.

                      Here's a crazy idea - we asked Tina about Chinese New Year and if they could do something special... she thought it was a funny question for some reason and didn't really say yes or no. Maybe some Concord area CHers would want to try to make something happen and reserve out some tables and see if they'll cook us a feast?

                      1. re: wongadon
                        d
                        dfrostnh Jan 26, 2011 01:33 AM

                        I finally got back for some take out. There was a hand-written sign in the window that advertised Chinese Lobster for Chinese New Year but required a one day reservation. I think the date was Feb 3 (a Thursday?). Tina was busy in the back or I'm sure she would have given me a full explanation.
                        They have a basic web site now www.sunshineoriental.com which shows their menu. The menu has changed since December. The white board to the left of the counter has been erased. The items listed there were in Chinese. The white board next to the side door used to list some specials. Those items such as the hot pots are now on the new menu.

                        I tried a small order of eggs and shrimp. It's very basic but tasty. Last night's dim sum choice was taro turnovers which were wonderful. A bit of meat in the middle, soft turnover with a deep fried exterior. Will definitely order those again.

                        1. re: dfrostnh
                          lepetitechef Jan 26, 2011 06:30 AM

                          Feb. 3 is Chinese New Year's Day -- Year of the Rabbit

                    2. re: Dave B
                      l
                      lolosiege Mar 14, 2011 12:34 PM

                      Can anyone on this board confirm Sunshine Oriental is still open (particularly for lunch)? Hoping to meet up with my sister there on Friday, but I've tried calling a few times today to confirm hours and the line rings several times and then goes to a fax tone.

                      1. re: lolosiege
                        lepetitechef Mar 14, 2011 02:37 PM

                        they are closed on Mondays now.

                    3. h
                      hardtail60 Dec 13, 2010 06:07 AM

                      Local Din Sum? I always hit China Pearl on Tyler st when in Boston. The one where you have to go up the stairs and has community seating. Next time I am in Concord I will try. Update coming.

                      1. m
                        minibrings Dec 12, 2010 10:38 AM

                        I just ate at Sunny and wrote a comparison with the dim sum restaurant in Dover, NH (Yummy Garden):

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7514...

                        Basically I felt Yummy Garden in Dover had better dim sum, closest to what I've had in NYC and HK, BUT I liked the real Chinese options at Sunny.

                        Since these restaurants do not compete with each other (due to distance). I say let's support both and get the word out to ensure they exist (we don''t need another god awful buffet place). Friendly helpful staff at both places help recommending them!

                        1. whs Oct 22, 2010 03:41 AM

                          Nice write-up about this place in this week's Hippo Press.

                          1. l
                            lovegoodfoodnh Oct 11, 2010 09:39 AM

                            Best Dim Sum in NH! Great Dim Sum for anywhere in USA. I grew up in NY traveling to Chinatown a lot for Dim Sum. Much better than North Garden in Goffstown, NH. Food piping hot cooked to order. Authentic flavors and dishes. Just brought my family from NY, including members who have hosted many many Asian researchers who have cooked for us. This is the real deal. They raved about the food and they are not easy to please. For anyone who loves real chinese food a must visit.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: lovegoodfoodnh
                              d
                              dfrostnh Oct 11, 2010 02:01 PM

                              Please describe the menu items you chose. So far I have liked the dim sum but we were very disappointed with the fried rice. Perhaps it's something we shouldn't even bother to order. DH is reluctant to try unfamiliar dishes. The people at the restaurant are very friendly and welcoming. I'd like to see them be successful. When I told Tina I had red noodle beans growing in the garden but didn't like them, she said they could cook them for me and I would love them. Unfortunately, the beans got too big before I was able to go back.

                              1. re: dfrostnh
                                d
                                dfrostnh Oct 26, 2010 06:38 AM

                                I'm making slow progress thru their menu. Loved the bean curd wrapped shrimp dim sum. Spare ribs with black beans were tiny pieces of very tasty ribs. Shu Mai was very tasty and full of minced pork etc. Last night for take out I decided it was time to try something from the Chef's Specials section - pork with pickled vegetables. YUM! The pickled vegetables are a bit sour but not as sour as sauerkraut and definitely not spicy like kim chee. There was plenty for two or three servings.
                                I called ahead for take out so I would have enough time to eat before an early evening meeting. If you are planning a quick meal, keep in mind that things come out of the kitchen VERY hot. You cannot eat the dim sum right away. My take out dish was almost too hot to touch for awhile.

                                I was glad to read in the Hippo that some people have lunch there a lot. It's never busy when I've been there so I hope they get more customers.

                            2. edinaeats Sep 20, 2010 05:05 PM

                              I work nearby and my office used to order from Fusion ALL the time. We tried Sunshine once and found the food to be really awful. We haven't gone back.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: edinaeats
                                crowdingthepan Sep 20, 2010 05:12 PM

                                Your criticism is pretty vague. What didn't you like about it? And more interestingly, what DID you like about Fusion?

                              2. m
                                mafan Sep 20, 2010 05:57 AM

                                I've eaten there about six times in the past three weeks or so--dim sum every time, and looking forward to trying the specialties. Lived in China for 4 years, Taiwan for a year, know something about Chinese food, but don't know Cantonese food well. Have dim sum experience in Hong Kong, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Boston, London, Vancouver. People are right when they say that Sunshine's dim sum isn't the best ever, but different items are way better than plenty of disappointments in cities where you'd expect better. Piping hot right out of the kitchen gives especially the fried things an edge over anything making its way around to you on a trolley. Turnip cake/luobo gao (though people's preferences on this vary) I find to be good--better than many a disappointing luobo gao. Not panfried, I think, but deep fried, which gives it a lovely crisp all around the outside. If you ask for hoisin sauce, they'll bring it. The nuomiji--sticky rice--is very good. The yujiao--what they're calling fried taro turnovers--are very good, better than those off the cart, if just a trifle oily tasting--but don't neglect to order this! The xiajiao--shrimp dumplings--have ranged from great to good; they seem to be getting smaller, less juicy. The bao--I don't think they're frozen. I asked, and was told they make everything themselves. Also, I've bought a few packs of frozen chashao bao in my day, and never had one with that particular filling--the meat in cubes instead of shreds, that particular flavoring, that lack of red dye. As for the chicken claws, I've had better. The fupijuan--dofu sheet wrapped around shrimp filling--is really, really good, better than Chao Chow City's in Boston. The ganchao niuhe--beef chow foon--was pretty good, a bit greasy, add some vinegar--they've got white vinegar. I'm not even sure I want to tell you this--because I want to be able to get a table when I go--but they're having a dim sum sale until December something 2010, a dollar off each and every item. They open at 11:30 on Sundays. I also ordered jielan once--Chinese broccoli--and it was very well made.

                                This is a family place. Tina (Qiuxia) is the friendly host, sometimes helped in front by her sister-in-law; her husband and father-in-law do the cooking--and they're good cooks. There are regulars, including a retired NH restaurateur who has been giving advice. I think they're very open to advice and suggestions, so all these ideas here about what we'd like to see....I for one plan to bring them up. I too would love some real Sichuan. I'll try some of the Sichuan dishes on the menu (eventually) and make suggestions. In fact--I think I'll suggest a suggestion box!

                                I think I've about filled my dim sum deficit and will soon be trying specialties off the white board. Will report back. Meanwhile, this is a restaurant that really deserves to succeed.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mafan
                                  d
                                  dfrostnh Sep 21, 2010 06:01 AM

                                  I made a quick stop for simple take out last night choosing two things off the dim sum list. It will probably be forever before I get to Boston again. I got the pork barbecue buns and turnip cake. Everything was blazing hot so I ended up not being able to eat the turnip cakes until 2 hours later after a meeting. Not sure I liked the taste but the crispy part was nice. The buns are smaller than I expected but 3 for the price was still decent. I liked the taste of the filling but there were a couple of gristle-y pieces. I love the flavor of the dough and will definitely try all their steamed buns. I plan to work thru their dim sum menu but really would like to try some of the chef's specialities. Definitely some items I didn't expect to see in Concord.

                                  The place is small and except for a few decorations could be any kind of fast food place - tiled floor, inexpensive tables, order counter but everyone was very friendly. I sat near the counter while I waited for my takeout order. One of the ladies came over and offered me a cup of cold water. It was very thoughtful and something that would never happen in a fast food place.

                                  I'm glad I kept the paper menu so I can put a star next to all your recommendations.

                                  Maybe it would help their chances of success if someone like you who is knowledgeable about some of the unusual menu items would explain them. Do I dare try something made with squid ... well, why not, I eat fried clams and scallops. Do I dare try pork intestines? I eat sausages, are they similar?

                                  We haven't been visiting Chinese restaurants in the Concord area lately. Their menus never change and some of it lacks flavor. I hope Sunshine Oriental is successful.

                                2. s
                                  slsweet830 Sep 19, 2010 12:45 PM

                                  We LOVE the food at this restaurant! It's great that Concord has Dim Sum, and it's available every day! The other menu items are tasty and reasonably priced. We have recommended this restaurant to many friends and look forward to going again soon.

                                  1. starvinginNH Sep 14, 2010 05:09 PM

                                    We tried it last week. I worked late so spouse brought it home. I wasn't as impressed as I was hoping. The char siu bao BBQ pork bun seemed like a frozen one, I could be wrong but having lived in China I can pretty much tell homemade buns. The luo bo gao panfried turnip cake was good. We also shared did Ginger chicken which is usually one of the few edible things for me at Chinese restaurants in NH since it has the dry fried string beans and Ginger means the sauce won't be too damn sweet & bland. It was awful, sweet sauce with chunks of pineapple, the string beans weren't dry fried properly. I'll go back & try more things since usually you have to figure out which dishes are edible at which joints. Sounds like owners are eager to please so hopefully can convince them we don't all want sweet glop. A new place I like A LOT is Asian Breeze in Hooksett. They have a separate 'special menu' with better dishes (original Chinese food not Chinese American). It is really good. I will do a separate post about that place soon.
                                    A new

                                    -----
                                    Asian Breeze
                                    1328 Hooksett Rd Ste 41, Hooksett, NH 03106

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: starvinginNH
                                      crowdingthepan Sep 15, 2010 04:11 PM

                                      I agree that the Dim Sum isn't mind blowing (The shiny skin on the Char Shui Bao had me thinking frozen, too). It isn't as good as Dim Sum in Boston, which isn't as good as it is in New York, which isn't as good as it is in San Francisco, which isn't as good as it is in Toronto, which isn't as good as it is in Hong Kong.....you get the idea. But, I'm really enthusiastic about authentic Chinese food finding its' way to Concord. The waitress I talked to indicated that if I want a sample of what they do best,I should stick to the chef's specials, and the specials on the marker board. I'm planning a dinner visit in the next couple of days and I'll report my findings. Also, after a little research, I discovered that the Sunshine Oriental menu is almost identical to the menus at North Garden in Goffstown, and South Garden in Merrimack. Is Asian Breeze Cantonese, too? I'd kill for a conveniently located authentic Sichuan spot.

                                      1. re: crowdingthepan
                                        l
                                        lexpatti Sep 15, 2010 06:36 PM

                                        By far the best Sichuan place is a lil bit south in Billerica Ma. - you will read wonderful things from people who actually come up from Boston. I'm addicted to Sichuan Gourmet on Rt.3A. We travel up and down from Boston to the Lakes Region for great food - this place is realllly special. My favorite dishes keep growing - making it tough to go just hubby and I - we need to take people so we order all that we love: dan dan noodles, wontons in chili sauce, xing la fish are our top three addictions but honestly everything is outstanding. Do try it someday!!
                                        http://www.laosichuan.com/

                                        You'll see lots of threads on the Boston Board!

                                        1. re: lexpatti
                                          crowdingthepan Sep 16, 2010 06:33 AM

                                          I've had number of good, ma la heavy dishes at Fuloon in Malden and Sichuan Garden 2 in Waltham, but I haven't been to Sichuan Gourmet, yet. I've heard great things, though. I live in Concord (NH) and I'm praying for better food that I can grab on a busy weeknight. Even if it's not the greatest Cantonese food on earth, I'm hoping that singing the praises of places like Sunshine Oriental will encourage people to eat well and demand better and more authentic food from local restaurants. Maybe I'm too optimistic!?!?

                                          1. re: crowdingthepan
                                            l
                                            lexpatti Sep 17, 2010 06:12 AM

                                            I lived in Concord for years, and always bummed that "great" restaurants just don't make it there. :-( too bad, it's such a great town.

                                            1. re: lexpatti
                                              c
                                              Caesia Sep 17, 2010 06:43 AM

                                              We went to Sunshine Oriental Restaurant last night on the recommendation of a colleague who lived in China for four years. My dining companions also have traveled to China. We LOVED it! Thought the food was absolutely wonderful. The panfried turnip cakes and sticky rice (wrapped in lotus leaves) dim sum were amazing. The wife of the couple that owns the place waited on us and was very pleased to answer questions and discuss where various recipes and cooking styles were from. She recommended ordering from the Chef Specialties menu or the daily whiteboard specials as those are more native recipes. They do have orange chicken and all the "NH Traditional" dishes one typically sees, but they take particularl pride in the Specialty menu and dim sum. We are going back tonight with my family!

                                      2. re: starvinginNH
                                        starvinginNH Aug 12, 2011 04:24 PM

                                        We ate there again with friends recently Sat am and I was very pleased. The rice congee was great, got you tiao cruller sticks too. Varied dumplings were tasty, got a pork bun that was homemade, filling was different than typical Cha xiu bao. Garlic stir fried greens good. The specials looked good, need to go at dinner. Yay!

                                      3. crowdingthepan Sep 11, 2010 12:59 PM

                                        I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted a sign advertising dim sum in Concord. My wife and I popped in for lunch and we were VERY pleasantly surprised. It's certainly not life changing dim sum, but it's solid standard fare stuff, and it's IN CONCORD!! The owners and wait staff were extremely friendly, and they're super excited to share authentic cantonese food with the locals. They've got Americanized Chinese food for the slow kids, but the chef's menu features a bunch of real Cantonese stuff that I'm dying to try on multiple return visits. A bunch of new hot pot meals we're written out on a marker board and the waitress was really enthusiastic about describing each of them. I REALLY hope this place makes it, because it fills one of the many huge holes in the Concord food scene. Eat there! Now!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: crowdingthepan
                                          crowdingthepan Sep 19, 2010 10:20 AM

                                          My wife and I returned to venture beyond the dim sum menu yesterday and we were rewarded with some very good food. We ordered scallion pancakes (not breaking any new culinary ground there), Singapore rice noodles, and a salted fish, chicken and eggplant hot pot. Good, great and great.

                                          1. re: crowdingthepan
                                            crowdingthepan Sep 25, 2010 02:09 PM

                                            Another quick Saturday lunch @ Sunshine Oriental, and another bang up meal in my hometown. Turnip cakes, salted spicy shrimp w/ heads, onion and chicken gizzards, and a very respectable salted fish and Chinese sausage fried rice that wasn't (Hallelujah) turned brown from overapplication of soy sauce:

                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                            1. re: crowdingthepan
                                              m
                                              minibrings Jan 26, 2011 06:34 PM

                                              you should try their salted fish fried rice next.. quite nice..
                                              thanks for the great pics.. Im getting hungry again..

                                        2. d
                                          dfrostnh Jun 21, 2010 04:27 AM

                                          thanks for the heads up. I only stopped at Fusion a couple of times because it ended up seeming to be just another Chinese food take-out place. I haven't seen any mention of a change so I hope they do some advertising.

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