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Jan 6, 2012 03:10 PM

Any good dim sum left in Chinatown

I'm going to Chinatown ,I've been disappointed w the Imperial any recs

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  1. Not a place with carts, but the soup dumplings and other noodle dishes are terrific at Dim Sum Garden. Four of us feast for $40.

    1. Dim Sum Garden and Sakura Mandarin both make good dumplings especially if you like juicy buns, but are not your quintessential Hong Kong Style push cart Dim Sum. Frankly after Lakeside closed, I do not consider Philadelphia a Dim Sum destination. Some people like Ocean Harbor ... your pickings are slim.

      15 Replies
      1. re: cwdonald

        Totally agree with cwdonald.
        After closing Lakeside we couldn't find anything close not to the great dim sum but at least good one. Our experience in Dim Sum Garden was absolutely awful. Sakura was a little better, but the food tasted very blend (not even salty enough). Nan Zoew noodle house was even worse then Dim Sum Garden. The only good experience from the whole asian scene of restaurants was Pho75 and unfortunately it moved from Race St. We totally gave up on Pilly's Chinatown .

        1. re: pyatachok

          Wow I thought that Pho 75 was awful, worse than the one on the Washington Ave, which itself is not that great compared to the alternatives. I also like Nan Zhou though not as much as others seem to. I had a great meal at Four Rivers recently. BTW Nan Zhou is moving into the Pho 75 space.

          Have you explored the Vietnamese restaurants around Washington Ave in South Philly? There are also some interesting Cambodian and Indonesian options farther south.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              I had to look up what that was. Most of the places are very casual hole in the walls that couldn't pull it off, but it looks like Indonesia Restaurant on Snyder Ave does it:

              1. re: barryg

                Thanks for the research. Hopefully it is a good one. Traditionally it has 20-30 dishes, little ones, with obviously a great many tastes. All served with a big thing of rice.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I see. This sounds more like a fixed dinner menu than that, might not be what you are looking for. SInce I discovered this, thanks to you, I'm planning on checking it out soon... will let you know.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    I think the closest thing to a real rijstaffel you will find is Hardena. It is one of the holes in the wall, but they offer a variety of dishes (not 20-30). However, the cost is less than $10 a plate, so if you want a bigger variety, order two plates. You get a plate of rice and can choose 3 items to top it.

                    They are located on Moore and Hicks St (down the block from South Philly Tap Room).

              2. re: barryg

                Yes, we tried Vietnam Palace long ago. The impression was just the same "unimpressive" like all the rest of them I've mentioned. Though I have to say all the meals we ate were at Lunch time right at the opening hours, so it might be that the staff wasn't ready for a clientele, but still it can't be an excuse, because at Lakeside we ate at the same hours and they always were ready.
                And speaking about Pho 75, this was one of the very few Pho places that never gave us that huge thirst for water afterwards and sleepiness, (believe me we ate in many, many places around the country). That alone can show you the quality of the broth, unless you like "artificially tasty" MSGed broth. I even won't mention a wonderful aroma of cinnamon that was present in their broth unlike many other Pho places were you know it's supposed to be there, but can't even catch a hint of it.
                We didn't try any Indonesian places and plan to do it at the time of our next visit to Philly. Hope it will change our opinion about Philly's Asian food scene.

                1. re: pyatachok

                  Vietnam Palace is in Chinatown and is not especially good. The good Vietnamese restaurants are in South Philly, try Nam Phuong or Le Viet. Nam Phuong has very good pho, too.

                  Interesting that you found Pho 75 in Chinatown to be flavorful and not MSGy, because my experiences were the opposite which I why I don't care for it... maybe the quality varied from batch to batch. Either way, there are a number of Pho restaurants in South Philly, most of them better than Pho 75 IMO. And there is still a Pho 75 on Washington Ave if you want to try that one.

                  1. re: barryg

                    We have been going to Pho Saigon on Columbus Blvd and like it there. The parking lot is a definite plus.

                    1. re: barryg

                      There is also a Pho 75 on Adams Ave in the Northeast. And that area is not bad for decent bahn mi if you dont want to venture to south Philly. Cafe Saigon, (right next door to Pho 75), Viet Kitchen a block down and Nam Vang a few more blocks further down Adams Avenue. Not exactly Washington Ave but pretty nice cluster of Vietnamese food.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        We usually stay at Hilton Garden Inn right across the mentioned Dim Sum Garden. We heard that south of Philly is not very safe area lately due to teenagers bad behavior. That's why we are trying to find some good choices of Asian food around downtown, and also because all the interesting museum and attractions are there and you don't want to loose the focus on that. But thank you Guys for your help and advice. I'm sure we'll use it some day.

                      2. re: pyatachok

                        The Vietnamese part of South Philly is safe and not too far from CC, and teenagers are not a real threat anywhere. The Indonesian places are farther into South Philly and on smaller streets, you may be uncomfortable doing that. I do understand wanting to stay in Center City. If you're willing to give Chinatown another shot, I'd suggest Four Rivers, Ting Wong, Sang Kee and Rangoon (Burmese). In Old City, Han Dynasty is excellent Szechuan. There are a couple decent Korean places too but nothing amazing. Other than that and some others in Chinatown I like, I agree that traditional Asian cuisine in Center City is lacking, the better stuff is outside of CC.

                        Also, Pho Cali in Chinatown is ok, you might like it. Better than Vietnam, Vietnam Palace, and Pho Xe Lua Viet Thai.

                        1. re: barryg

                          Thank you Guys for all your suggestions. We'll definitely try some of them next time in Philly :).

                2. we went out to dim sum a few sundays ago. i want to say it was at Joy Tsin Lau? One of the old chinatown classics, in any case.
                  my wife and her family like it, and they're from hong kong.
                  i liked it fine, although other people like dim sum in general a lot more than i do.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bob Loblaw

                    I just wish Joy Tsin Lau (and their sister outfit Golden City in the burb) would clean the place up just a little...

                    1. re: borntolovefood

                      I ended up at Ocean City Seafood without intending to go their for lunch recently, their Dim Sum (with carts) was quite good. It is right next to Sang Kee at 234 North 9th Street Philadelphia.

                      btw, I'm sad that Pho75 is no longer in Chinatown, that place was great!