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Dim Sum

luttner Jan 22, 2012 10:20 AM

What are the best Dim Sum Restaurants in the Montgomery County Area?

  1. p
    pyatachok Dec 11, 2012 12:46 PM

    Hi Guys,

    Does anybody knows what happened to Red Pearl restaurant in Columbia, MD? They had very good dim sum brunches, but we came to the closed doors over this weekend. Does anybody knows where this owner and his team went? Might be they opened something new that we don't know about?

    Will appreciate your information a lot.

    1. d
      DLynne Feb 14, 2012 02:48 PM

      I went to the Silver Fountain for the first time last weekend. I didn't care for it nearly as much as New Fortune or Good Fortune. I thought the dishes seemed "unseasoned," no flavor of garlic, ginger, or cilantro, tastes I've come to associate with dim sum.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DLynne
        cfoodie Apr 22, 2012 08:25 AM

        It really depends on your palate. I enjoy lightly flavored food as they can't cover up the unfresh meats and others. Unfortunately I am very sensitive to unfresh foods, and most of the listed dim sum places are out for me. The heavy flavoring means hours of thirst (due to salt) and other problems for me. Silver Fountain was a good choice for me but the place is so full that I can't afford spending an hour or more waiting. Went to Asian Delight on Lockwood Dr in White Oak. It's a nicely decorated place, has decent dim sum, freshly steamed noodles and excellent soft tofu dessert. Excellent roasted meats. The service is excellent, none of the rudeness you usually encounter in a Dim Sum place. The price is very reasonable. The rest of the menu is extensive and excellent. Only drawback is the congee has no soup base. Otherwise it's the cheap Cantonese food joint with Americanized service and very little wait. I will be heading out there again now, third time in week and half.

      2. e
        Elyssa Jan 31, 2012 06:52 AM

        I'm looking to do dim sum out in the Maryland suburbs in a few weeks with a friend. I'm curious about the whole experience since I've never been before. How early do you think we need to get to some place like New Fortune or Hollywood East in order to get a table? How do you pay....is it by the plate? Pre-fixe?


        12 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa
          chowsearch Jan 31, 2012 07:36 AM

          By the plate--carts laden with choices cruise by, you choose, they write on your table slip what you had. Don't load up too fast, the idea is to sit a long time and chat over tea with family. Avoid the fired stuff to save room. And report your results during the current zagat voting period. If the place is good, 11:30 is too late. 11 is the time.

          1. re: chowsearch
            chowsearch Jan 31, 2012 07:53 AM

            I meant avoid the fried stuff...it looks good but you're full fast. Special trays are sometimes brought by that are not on carts, and these tend to be fresher/hotter/better/pricier specials and are a good bet. The cart people are not your server, that's a separate person who takes your drink order or requests for special items, sauces, non-dimsum regular menu items.

            1. re: chowsearch
              Elyssa Jan 31, 2012 11:11 AM

              Thanks! This is a super helpful.

            2. re: Elyssa
              comestibles Jan 31, 2012 07:57 AM

              It depends on which restaurant you choose. New Fortune is huge (seating 400) and getting there at 11:30a would not be too late. Oriental East - you should get there around 10:30 ish if you want to be part of the first group. Silver Fountain - 11:00a. Both OE and SF are small places.

              1. re: Elyssa
                DanielK Jan 31, 2012 08:17 AM

                Also - 2 people is a really bad number for dim sum. You really want a group so you can try a lot of different things.

                1. re: DanielK
                  VaPaula Jan 31, 2012 09:46 AM

                  I agree it's better with more people, but I wouldn't discourage Elyssa from going with her friend. I look at it as you get to try double what you could if you were alone. My husband and I have done some serious damage at dim sum restaurants over the years. :-)

                  1. re: VaPaula
                    Terrie H. Jan 31, 2012 09:54 AM

                    It's definitely more fun to go with more than 2, since you can have a bigger variety, but you can do pretty well for 2, especially if you are ok with taking a few treats home.

                  2. re: DanielK
                    Elyssa Jan 31, 2012 11:12 AM

                    I know we will try more with a group....but we don't want to take a group with us. haha So 2 will have to do this time around. Plus it is very likely that this will be our one major meal of the day.

                    1. re: Elyssa
                      chowsearch Jan 31, 2012 12:04 PM

                      They always have a couple desserts that may sell out--look for pineapple bun and take a couple home for later. They don't have pineapple, but sort of look like one of you squint right. First time you see it, order a pair and hold on to them for carryout. The shrimp items don't travel, by the way.

                      1. re: Elyssa
                        MoCoMe Jan 31, 2012 12:06 PM

                        So when are we-- as a group-- going???? We are a party of 2 and I agree it's better with a group. Pplus maybe someone could (though I doubt it) convince me to try the chicken feet. :-)

                        Let's put some non-holiday Sundays out there and plan it! Sadly, we are available Feb 26 and every Sunday in March!

                        1. re: MoCoMe
                          DanielK Jan 31, 2012 03:21 PM

                          Are you offering to coordinate? CH prefers that we organize offline, so I'd suggest that whomever offers to organize just raise their hand, put their email address in their CH profile, and then everyone sends them a message.

                          1. re: MoCoMe
                            KWagle Jan 31, 2012 05:27 PM

                            I'm planning to be in DC in Feb. March won't work for me.

                    2. c
                      cfoodie Jan 30, 2012 08:25 PM

                      Having re-tried many of the dim sum places lately, I was rather disappointed with New Fortune as it was the top of my list. I found two interesting ones that are decent, and after some debate, decided to post them. One is Silver Fountain in north silver spring area...now accessible via ICC. The selections are limited, but the food is delicate and excellent. They do it with care. The problem is, everybody seem to get it, so if you don't sneak into a seat 20 minutes before they open at 11AM (they are full by then), you will wait forever.

                      The other is Red Pearl in columbia. Again, the food is decent, the selection is better, but the bill is almost double what you will see elsewhere. I am only commenting on the food.

                      One Dim Sum place I heard about is behind the fried chicken place on Lockwood Drive in White Oak. Couple of friends told me it is excellent, and packed, but I am not sure whether it's because it's good or cheap. If you have been there, would you please post to share your experience.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cfoodie
                        KWagle Jan 31, 2012 04:46 AM

                        What hours does Silver Fountain serve dim sum? I've been spoiled by Winsor which serves from a menu all day every day. Before you ask, it's in Boston. (I've had just as good luck at HWE when they're at their best but Winsor is consistently excellent.)

                      2. Chocolatechipkt Jan 27, 2012 09:29 AM

                        I know it's not always popular here, but I like Good Fortune in Wheaton and have been going there for years. New Fortune in Gaithersburg is also good, though it can get crowded.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                          Smokeater55 Jan 28, 2012 12:15 PM

                          Ok I've got to admit, I use to think Hollywood East was good but indeed will agree that over the last few months, the quality has just not been as good. Seeing the rave reviews about New Fortune in the last few posts, I thought I might as well give it a try again. My last trip a year ago was so so but what the heck.
                          Well walking in the door today it was backed up a bit as the Dragon Dance was going on for the New Year. I love doing Dim Sum in Boston and San Francisco Chinatowns at Chinese New Year as they tend to bring out more than the typical spread of dishes and they try to impress. It was very cool to have the Dragon Dance thing as I know not a lot of places have that but after 30 minutes of that drum and ear splitting cymbals I was happy it was over and we could hear ourselves talk.
                          Well again the back up at the door was involved but no more than say at the Silver Fountain if you don't get in before 11:30. We were seated in 15 minutes but at the table next to the front door. No doubt this distance from the kitchen was the cause for a number of our plates being lukewarm. This was very disappointing with a dish of fried pork dumplings served from a special cart that has a fryer built-in. They have one like it at Red Pearl in Columbia were they put a final fry on the dumplings so they are hot at the table. I guess the unit at New Fortune was not on.
                          Next nit I have is a pork siu mai that had a taste of fish. Fried rice was ok but not out of this world. Summer rolls had a off taste. What did rock was a Walnut Shrimp w/ broccoli, it was nice and crisp had a great clean taste with a slight sweetness that was an above average rendition. The Mai Tai was also good, a nice pineapple balance that did not have the bar mix components so many can have.
                          I guess the overall problem I have is the place just did not wow me with anything that seemed better than Hollywood East or Silver Fountain on a normal day & as it was New Years I'd hope the food would be a bit more special. One note, when walking to the bathroom, my wife was able to see carts with other stuff we had not been served Maybe, the pressure of so many people slamming the place on New Years and this caused some of the problems. I guess I've still got to drive to Red Pearl in Columbia as it has it over Montgomery County.

                          1. re: Smokeater55
                            Chocolatechipkt Jan 28, 2012 03:35 PM

                            I agree about the walnut shrimp, but minus the mayo or whatever the creamy part is. Sorry the rest of the visit wasn't so good.

                            1. re: Smokeater55
                              DanielK Jan 29, 2012 09:35 PM

                              Siu Mai has both pork and shrimp, so maybe this is what you tasted?

                              I would have to say that CNY is about the worst possible day to try New Fortune for dim sum, since they fill the 400 person hall and have a wait for tables. No way the kitchen can keep up with that demand and still have hot food coming out without pre-cooking some things.

                              1. re: Smokeater55
                                Smokeater55 Nov 11, 2012 05:13 PM

                                11/3/12 Red Pearl in Columbia is now closed

                              2. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                somnig Apr 21, 2012 11:14 PM

                                Went to Dim sum today at Good Fortune in Wheaton and was a bit disappointed. On the positive side it was quite empty when we arrived at 11:15 am on a Saturday and we were seated right away. The carts were rolling around and before we could even get our 2 year old into her booster seat, we had several plates of dumplings on the table.

                                The menu was pretty standard fare for American dim sum places if not a bit limited. I'm told on Sundays the selection is larger. My favorite dish at dim sum is the "no mai fawn" or sticky rice in the lotus leaf. This was quite gummy here at Good Fortune, so I was disappointed. My other favorite dish is thes bean curd skins. This was in fact quite good. The other stuff was just average.

                                Overall the service was so so for a dim sum restaurant. For the Washington DC area, I would say this place was passable but not at the top of my list (would prefer Fortune in VA or China Garden in Rosslyn). Given the convenience to Upper NW DC where we live, and the fact that it was easy to get a table on a Saturday, I would return again but would not go out of my way to come to this place just for the food.

                              3. d
                                dinwiddie Jan 27, 2012 08:44 AM

                                I think that a general consensus would be that New Fortune or Oriental East are probably the best in terms of the food. I used to love Hollywood East on the Boulevard, but find that they have gone down hill ever since they moved to the mall. However, they do have some interesting things you can't get anywhere else. I give New Fortune (Gaithersburg) the edge because it is easier to get into and have more choices, at least on Sunday which is the only day I go. Silver Fountain is reliable and for me convenient, but the choices are not what you get at New Fortune. I haven't been to Good Fortune in Wheaton in years so I can't say how they are. As others have noted, A&J is northern dim sum, mostly fried stuff and not at all to my taste. I've been a couple of times and have no interest in going again. They are very good for what they are, but I much prefer the Cantonese style dim sum so I go elsewhere.

                                1. c
                                  cuisnatrix Jan 26, 2012 07:16 AM

                                  In Montgomery County I also prefer New Fortune, and it's a favorite in the ethnic Chinese community in the area. It's more typical Hong Kong style dim sum with a wide variety of steamed and fried dumplings and other small portions of dishes you might normally order at a meal(roast duck, pan fried noodles, clams in black bean sauce, pan fried green beans). It has the best variety of dumplings and dishes, is large enough that table turnover is pretty fast, and it's the only place I've seen beer carts. Warning, it can be hit and miss because of the size of the dining room and where you sit, some dishes may not be hot when you get them.

                                  A&Js is also excellent, but it's a northern-style dim sum, so the dishes are different. For example, the potstickers are done Beijing-style so they are not crescent shaped small dumplings, but open at either end. There are more noodle dishes and bread-like things, like tsung you bing (aka scallion pancake). Also, you have to order off a menu, and get little help from the servers, so for those who are novices to that style of dim sum, it can be a little challenging. The advantage of New Fortune is that they come around on carts so you can see what you're getting.

                                  1. i
                                    itlooksfast Jan 24, 2012 12:58 PM

                                    The only places I know of is in Northern VA which are the basics that have been here in VA.

                                    Marks Duck House in Falls Church, VA - They have been around for a long time but does not serve Dim Sum on a traditional steam cart. Food usually ends up on table being cold 85% of the time. No complains about the Dim Sum except the temperature and the dirtiness inside ruins my appetite.

                                    Fortune - Parking is horrible but also has been around for a long time. Lots of shrimp this shrimp that and deep fried food. Food portion smaller in my opinion than the others but cost are sometimes questionable.

                                    China Garden - Food is also cold but they have a huge floor for Dim Sum. I think the biggest in the Northern VA area. I love their curry fish balls but they only make one batch on the weekends.

                                    And lastly, Hong Kong Pearl Seafood - The name says seafood because the owner has been a long time seafood distributor. But don't let the name fool you, cause it did fool my family and I. They opened up 2 months ago (I know, verily new) and serves dim sum everyday on a steam cart which is a big plus for us. It was definitely a joy to see another authentic restaurant building and serving a true cantonese hong kong style goodies.

                                    Take your pick. Hope these helped

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: itlooksfast
                                      DanielK Jan 24, 2012 02:23 PM

                                      I don't understand the obsession with listing places in NoVA. We already have a separate topic for that. OP asked for Montgomery County dim sum.

                                      That said, none of the NoVA places compare with the better places in MoCo.

                                      1. re: DanielK
                                        Terrie H. Jan 24, 2012 04:45 PM

                                        Daniel, curious of you would recommend A&J to the OP since it isn't the typical cart service?

                                        1. re: Terrie H.
                                          DanielK Jan 24, 2012 09:47 PM

                                          I adore A&J, but it's not dim sum, just small plates.

                                          1. re: Terrie H.
                                            Mister Big Jan 26, 2012 06:08 AM

                                            No shrimp at A & J.

                                      2. n
                                        nova_ssss Jan 24, 2012 10:10 AM

                                        I know you only asked for Montgomery County but Oriental East has the best dim sum in the D.C. Metro Area.

                                        If you go on a weekend, make sure you get there by 10:30am to line up to increase your chances of getting a table when they open at 11am.

                                        Assuming you're in Montgomery County, if you go to Oriental East first and then decide to try Fortune, which is in Seven Corners and not Bailey's Crossroads (it used to be there when they first opened 20 years ago or so in the space currently occupied by Hokkaido Buffet), you'll be kicking yourself for wasting gas driving down there. I went to Fortune last year and the dim sum was very average.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: nova_ssss
                                          chowsearch Jan 26, 2012 06:53 AM

                                          Oriental East is staffed by rude people who clearly don't want you there. That makes me think the kitchen staff has the same mindset.

                                          1. re: chowsearch
                                            nova_ssss Jan 26, 2012 12:35 PM

                                            Can you be more specific as far as what rude behavior you encountered at Oriental East?

                                            Whenever I go to any Chinese restaurant, I don't expect the greatest service in the world. I expect adequate and that's typically what I get.

                                            Would you rather have excellent service but average dim sum or average service and excellent dim sum? I'd rather have the average service and excellent dim sum and that's what I get at Oriental East.

                                            1. re: nova_ssss
                                              chowsearch Jan 26, 2012 08:01 PM

                                              Busboys intentionally walking into people forced to stand in their way, for one thing. Manager acting as if ten cups of espresso were installed. Food no better than other places, on par with Good Fortune and New Fortune and Hollywood East. Waits much longer.

                                        2. d
                                          DCDOLL Jan 23, 2012 12:40 PM

                                          if you feel like a roadtrip, Fortune in Bailey's Crossroads VA is outstanding....i have a chinese friend who says it's very authentic too, and reasonable...if you go for lunch during the week it isn't too crowded either...weekends i hear are a mob scene...

                                          1. Mister Big Jan 22, 2012 12:28 PM

                                            IMHO, Hollywood East is fabulous as of late.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Mister Big
                                              DanielK Jan 23, 2012 10:23 AM

                                              Really? Exactly the opposite of my experience - I think Hollywood East is way downhill in the last 6 months. Not as good as when they first reopened in the mall, and definitely not as good from the University Blvd. days.

                                              I think New Fortune remains the class of MoCo dim sum, and in fact the entire Metro area. I'd lump Hollywood East, Oriental East (Silver Spring), and Silver Fountain (Aspen Hill) as a somewhat distant second.

                                            2. Terrie H. Jan 22, 2012 11:47 AM

                                              New Fortune in Gaithersburg is a good choice. They have dim sum lunch weekdays and the usual weekend midday service.

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