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Dim Sum in Chinatown

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  • lmbgm Jun 21, 2011 07:55 AM

I'm headed to chinatown tomorrow with my parents looking for some Dim Sum. My parents are from HK and Beijing. I've never been to the one in NYC before.

After doing some research, I've found a few places that look good:
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
27 Sunshine
Oriental Garden
Hop Shing
9 Chatham Sq

I also see on this board that Dim Sum Go Go and Red Egg seem to be popular, although I've read that alot of people say that Dim Sum Go Go is more americanized. I've seen Nom Wah rated very well on many sites, but from reading the reviews, some people say it is a tourist trap and not many chinese people eat there which isnt a good sign. I hear 27 Sunshine is cheap and Oriental Garden is expensive.

What would you guys recommend? Do all of these places serve dim sum on a wednesday? I'm just looking for "authentic" meaning tastes good, made properly, and fresh, not necessarily decor or carts.

Thanks

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Dim Sum Go Go
5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

Oriental Garden
14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

Red Egg
202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

27 Sunshine
46 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

Hop Shing
9 Chatham Square, New York, NY 10038

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  1. for during the week, I would recommend Nom Wah since they make their dim sum dishes to order.

    Oriental Garden isn't that expensive considering the quality.

    I think the big places(Golden Unicorn, Jing Fong) serve during the week, but not sure how it is.

    -----
    Oriental Garden
    14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

    Golden Unicorn
    18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

    Jing Fong
    18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

    1. First off, if you are reading reviews on Yelp, STOP. Those people don't know what they are talking about (especially if they are complaining that "no carts" is "not authentic"). OG is "expensive" because it's, like, $20pp all in.

      I've heard from many posters on this board who are frequent dim sum eaters that in general, NYC dim sum is stuck in the 80s with its heavy flavors/techniques. You won't find as soon dim sum here as you will in cities like LA and Vancouver, much less Asia.

      Manhattan Chinatown will probably seem cramped and dirty in comparison to HK.

      I actually think Nom Wah would be a good choice, especially if you've read about its history:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/din...
      http://www.nytimes.com/restaurants/12...

      Another option is Chinatown Brasserie, a short walk away. Much cleaner, more spacious. It's "expensive" for dim sum, meaning you might pay $30pp instead of $15. CB is located in Noho. Overall, it's good, but pales in comparison to what I've had on the West Coast so keep your expectations in check.

      -----
      Chinatown Brasserie
      380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      Nom Wah Tea Parlor
      13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

      4 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        I was reading on google which included Yelp, trip advisor, etc. I know to take reviews I read with a grain of salt, but I figure if there are alot of them, that means something. Yes, I did see some people saying "no carts" = "not authentic" which I found amusing. I'm not very concerned about decor, size. Although if there are roaches and rats crawling all over the place, thats a problem.

        I have heard that NYC chinatown isnt the best dim sum, but I mainly wanted to take them over to canal st. So while we are there, I figured we would eat lunch in chinatown.

        I see the two of you also are recc. Nom Wah so I think I'll go there. I heard some comments that they didnt see many chinese people eating there and it might be a tourist trip which is usually a red flag for me. But that doesnt mean it can't be good.

        Thanks for your advice.

        1. re: lmbgm

          Nom Wah Tea Parlor and Jing Fong are great spots for Dim Sum. I also recommend just walking around Chinatown and grabbing the 5 for $1 dumplings and stopping by Fay Day for great pork buns and other baked goods. Going to Jade Dim Sum in Flushing is a good idea too. Enjoy!

          -----
          Fay Da Bakery
          83 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          Jing Fong
          18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

          Nom Wah Tea Parlor
          13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: jenmcee

            ok, Nom Wah it is! Thanks for all of your advice. We will also walk around chinatown and see what they have. I'll check out Fay Day. YELP mentions a Tofu guy (which I think is retired) on Grand St and Bowery and a place to get sponge cake on Baxter St. (New Kam Hing).

            I actually too my parents to flushing on their last visit, I can't remember where we went. They've never been to manhattan which is why we are going to chinatown this time and up canal street for some shopping, although I'm not sure how busy it is on the weekdays. Then up to times square in the afternoon.

            If any of you have any places (food related or not) within walking distance of chinatown or times square worth visiting, I'd appreciate any suggestions. Preferably stuff that is free to see.

            1. re: lmbgm

              Nom Wah may be great for atmosphere and the foos may be good but the best food is at Royal Seafood on Mott

              -----
              Royal Seafood Restaurant
              103 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      2. For future reference, Dim Sum Go Go is not Americanized. Rather it's modern and consistent with what you see in LA, SF, Vancouver, Toronto. However since there is little modern dim sum in New York, some New Yorkers erroneously equate that with lack of authenticity.
        '

        -----
        Dim Sum Go Go
        5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chandavkl

          Excellent -- Thanks for the recommendation. We really enjoyed this place. Had the pea shoot buns and the pork buns and also tried the garlic chicken and dungeoness crab...everything great.

          -----
          Dim Sum Go Go
          5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

        2. Hi. we go to oriental garden. Excellent dim sum worth the price!

          1. I like 27 sunshine

            1. Well, just to report back, we did goto Nom Wah, however my parents and I didn't like the food to much. We got a roast pork bun (average), bean curd skin roll (average), rice roll (a little below average), sticky rice with chinese sausage (good), pork siu mai (average, seemed to have shrimp in it eventhough we ordered the pork one), beef balls (below average, too much filler), taro dumplings (ok, we are use to these being fried). It just seemed did not seem very authentic.

              -----
              Nom Wah Tea Parlor
              13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

              1 Reply
              1. re: lmbgm

                Wow.. sorry to hear that. I hope you will keep trying other dim sum places and let us know what you think. I have wanted to go to Nom Wah but haven't yet. It was actually written up in a Chinese publication not long ago (World Journal) so I had assume it's authentic. Thanks for letting us know of your perspective on it.

              2. For dinner we were going to try 27 sunshine but it seems like they were having a wedding. I thought about going to Jing Fong but I couldnt find it. I saw a big sign for it but couldnt find the entrance.

                So we went to Shanghai Asian Cuisine on Elizabeth for dinner. We all thought it was excellent.
                We got the Steamed Tiny Buns (Excellent), Pan Fried Buns (not that great, not fried enough or something), Cold noodles in sesame sauce (Excellent), Beef Pan Friend Noodles (Good, but too much sauce.)

                -----
                Shanghai Asian Cuisine
                14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                Jing Fong
                18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                2 Replies
                1. re: lmbgm

                  I never understood why Jing Fong has the large signage on the back of the restaurant which overlooks Bowery, when the entrance to the restaurant is on Elizabeth Street.

                  -----
                  Jing Fong
                  18 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Yeah... for Jing Fong.. the entrance isn't far from Shanghai Asian Cuisine on Elizabeth Street. You will walk into the entrance and then there is a set of escalators that will take you to the 2nd floor. So I don't think you can see the actual restaurant at street level.

                2. is the consensus that LA dim sum > NYC dim sum?

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: ns1

                    Yes, there has been a tremendous evolution in North American dim sum in the past decade. It appears to have started in Vancouver when virtually all of the dim sum restaurants converted over to cook to order off the menu dim sum instead of carts. (I've heard this originated in Hong Kong but cannot confirm that's the case.) At the same time, innovative dim sum chefs in Vancouver were also creating new imaginative, delicate varieties of dim sum. This trend spread to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. For example, in Los Angeles the top 6 or 7 dim sum places all fit this description. However, for some reason, this new wave of dim sum has almost bypassed New York. The closest thing in Manhattan is Chinatown Brasserie, which is not as good as any of the new wave places in Los Angeles, though better than all of the cart places in NY Chinatown or Flushing, but which is not even in Chinatown and charges exorbitant prices. Consequently, when you talk about New York dim sum, it's dim sum from the year 2000 and it's like driving a 2000 model automobile in 2011.

                    -----
                    Chinatown Brasserie
                    380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      thanks, I'll stick to XFF and other places in flushing then :)

                      1. re: ns1

                        Well, XFF is sending feelers out about opening in LA, so then we'll have it all--except for the giant food courts.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          but I don't want to wait to try one of these cumin lamb burgers lol

                      2. re: Chandavkl

                        I would not label Chinatown Brasserie's prices as exorbitant. You have to unwrap your mind around the notion that Chinese food always has to be inexpensive, an unfortunate bad historical rap I am afraid not helped by the 40,000 joints offering the General Tso's lunch special for $4.95. They are in better and more expensive digs than Chinatown, offer a full bar, have more upscale environs and pay better wages.

                        -----
                        Chinatown Brasserie
                        380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                        1. re: scoopG

                          Well that wasn't meant to be a general statement about Chinese food, but more a dig at Chinatown Brasserie, I paid $35 for a solo dim sum meal at Lai Wah Heen in Toronto a few months ago and it was well worth it. I'd say a comparable meal at Chinatown Brasserie would be $45, and wouldn't be as good as what I would get for a little over $20 at a modern dim sum place in LA. A comparable dim sum meal at Yank Sing in SF would probably be about $35, and once again would not be worth the premium.

                          -----
                          Chinatown Brasserie
                          380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Chandavkl- Can you rank NY/TO/LA/SF dim sum (ie sea harbour / elite, in your opinion)

                            I'm also going to TO and LWH is on my radar.

                            1. re: ns1

                              The best places in Toronto (actually Richmond Hill-Markham-Scarborough) are notably better than anything on this side of the border, though there are ordinary places there, too. My favorites were Lai Wah Heen, Casa Imperial and Casa Victoria, though I figure I've only been to half of the really good places there. Check the Toronto board and especially posts by Charles Yu. As far as the US goes I'd say Koi Palace in Daly City (Bay Area), followed by the SGV menu restaurants (Sea Harbour, Elite, Lunasia, King Hua, Happy Harbor, Mission 261), then Chinatown Brasserie in New York, then Zen Peninsula, Hong Kong Lounge, Hong Kong Flower Lounge and maybe Asian Pearl in SF Bay Area. I probably forgot somebody, but that's my off the top of the head ranking.

                              -----
                              Chinatown Brasserie
                              380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                Thanks Chandavkl, this post has been quite helpful. I'll probably try to do LWH just to say I've done it and skip NY dim sum.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Some of the dim sum places in Flushing are comparable to the next tier down in SGV (to Capital Seafood, 888, NBC), which on an absolute scale isn't bad. I think Lai Wah Heen has a sister restaurant which is just as good.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    I know I forgot one--Yank Sing. Haven't been there in years and don't intend to due to their pricing, so while it belongs near the top, I don't know exactly where since i'm not bothering to monitor it.

                                  2. re: Chandavkl

                                    Oh yeah... Koi Palace is sooo good! I wish they would open one up in NYC! I have to say I have been going to Chinatown Brasserie since I discovered it a couple of years ago and Chandavkl is right, it's not cheap. I am glad he ranked it higher than HK Flower Lounge though... because I went there years ago and thought their food was pretty good :) At least we have something decent (although not perfect) here in NYC, right?

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      Sorry but CB is closed while relocating in the neighborhood. Stay tuned.

                                      1. re: cello55

                                        It was open when he made the post.

                                  3. re: Chandavkl

                                    Discounting the drop in the dollar value - NYC is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. Plus we get almost 49 million visitors a year. Take that, Toronto! (Or LA, or SF...)

                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      I guess the Kaifeng Four Treasures or Qualisquaducken ($225 before 20% tip) is out of reach for you then. Gee I wonder why this dish is only available in NYC!

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786078

                                    2. re: scoopG

                                      I was wondering about that too. It seems curious to me that folks would consider $40 to be exorbitant. I haven't eaten dim sum in NYC in a while but do so sometimes in Chicago (yes yes, not up to LA/Vancouver/TOR let alone NYC/Flushing) or Indy and easily spend $40+ by myself after tax and tip, with 5-7 dishes or so plus maybe some veggies as well. Even within the misconception of Chinese food being cheap, dim sum is not an inexpensive meal, really, and I would have thought that one orders more than just a few dishes (as in just 2-3) and was glad to see one poster reported ordering 9 dishes (but for how many diners?) I find it striking that even Chandavki considers $35 at YS in SF to be a premium price... (is that in total or just food?) Just wondering out loud.

                                2. I was in NYC in May and "ran into" the Red Egg and have to say it was very good....

                                  Garlic Spare Ribs
                                  Roast Pork Bun
                                  Octopus in Sweet Bean Sauce
                                  Crispy Seafood Dumpling
                                  Red Egg Puff
                                  Pork and Cilantro
                                  Taro, Pork and Cilantro
                                  Seafood Pork Sui Mai
                                  Pork Sui Mai

                                  Then after having that we JUST HAD TO HAVE THE ...Peking Sliders, in which they bring a half Peking duck to the table and slice and place on the warm steamed buns tableside...they were amazing!

                                  -----
                                  Red Egg
                                  202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                    Yes, Red Egg, Dim Sum Go Go, and Full House Cafe have menu driven dim sum, and not surprisingly provide the best dim sum in NY Chinatown.

                                    -----
                                    Dim Sum Go Go
                                    5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

                                    Red Egg
                                    202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

                                    Full House Cafe
                                    97 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

                                    1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                      I went to Red Egg yesterday. I went with my in-laws and my kids. We showed up around 10:30. The service was great. The food was very good. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                    2. Really impressed with dim sum at Oriental Garden recently(June'11). $100 dor three people with razor clams, salt roasted chicken, 2 types of dim sum, stir fried pea shoots, drinks.

                                      -----
                                      Oriental Garden
                                      14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                                      1. based on remarks in this thread, the Better Half and I, visiting from San Francisco, organized today around getting to Nom Wah Tea Parlor mid-day. Enjoyed the experience, ... Gave our name to the owner, were advised to wait in the street, found the wait tolerable.
                                        at the table, were presented with an ordering form and two laminated menus that showed actual pictures of the dishes. good idea.
                                        We had:
                                        * scallion pancakes
                                        House special pan fried dumplings
                                        turnip cake
                                        * shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings (steamed)
                                        pork shu mi
                                        ( * indicates a dish we thought was particularly special)
                                        Herself felt some of the dishes could have been more flavorful (I was going to disagree, except in the moment, I was dipping a bit of turnip cake in hot sauce...). Service was a little slow and herky-jerk, and a couple times food runners started to leave dishes we had not ordered on our table.
                                        But that's no big deal.
                                        Do wish there were a free-tea option. Did like the decor and watching the scenes at other tables. (Families, dates, groups.)
                                        would we go back? yes.
                                        Would we recommend? quite likely.
                                        If we were going for dim sum with other people who had some other place in mind, would we kick and scream and demand Nom Wah? likely not.
                                        But I like the back story a lot (owner's family opened the place; he was working in the finance industry but really wanted to do restaurants, he did stages in dim sum places in SF and elsewhere, he took it over when his uncle wanted out...).
                                        it was a good experience.

                                        -----
                                        Nom Wah Tea Parlor
                                        13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chairbc

                                          I am no Dim Sum expert but I have done it several times in Manhattan and Flushing and with Chinese friends. I am not exactly reviewing the Golden Unicorn. I just want to recommend one of their dessert items. Please try the green sesame ball with oozing almond filled liquid in the interior. It was amazing!!! I wish that I had eaten three of them.

                                          -----
                                          Golden Unicorn
                                          18 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002