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Feb 26, 2006 12:30 PM

dim sum in Sacramento suggestions please

  • s

When I am not craving sushi, I am usually craving dim sum. Only problem is that Sacramento dim sum has become unexciting for me. New Canton is good, but has not gone to the next level. Kings' in West Sac has fallen, and Rice Bowl is gone. Capitol Tea Garden is pedestrian, and Happy Garden inconsistent.

So, if you disagree or have other suggestions, please post on the board. Also, are they any places in Sacramento that pretty much does dim sum take out 7 days a week, like those places on Clement St in SF?

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  1. I don't know what the next level is, but I think New Canton rivals some of the best in the Bay Area. If that don't satisfy you, then fly to Vancouver, LA, or Hong Kong.

    There is a tiny little place about a block from New Canton that does take out dim sum. Quality is just so so. This is Sacto, not Clement Street.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      Sorry Peter that you have not had the opportunity to experience truly excellent dim sum. If you believe New Canton is all that there is to be among the best in dim sum, equal to the best in the Bay Area, you are really missing something. I really hope you have an opportunity to try the Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae or Koi Palace in Daly City. For me, they are the next level in dim sum because they offer greater variety and consistent fine quality. While New Canton offers a good variety, it does not compare to the massive variety offered by Koi Palace. And variety is important because I don't really want to order all the standards every time I eat dim sum, which is pretty much what my choice is in Sacramento. And while New Canton prepares some things well, like their har gow, I do not particularly like their wo quok or shark's fin gow. That makes New Canton good to very good, and probably the best in Sacrmento, but certainly not the level of Koi Palace or Hong Kong Flower Lounge.

      In my desire to find the next level in Sacramento, it was not my intenton to insult New Canton as I did say it was good. However, I am a foodist and don't want to always settle for good when "great" or at least better might be avaiable. Thus, while I can appreciate your loyal and parochial defense of the hometown eaties, I did find your suggestion about flying to possible places for excellent dim sum to be quite unnecessary, as well as underinclusive. Why not include New York and Toronto while you were at it? In fact, I've been to all of those places for excellent dim sum, but don't need to go there when I could go to Daly City or Millbrae. However, if I can save the drive and get a comparable meal in Sacramento, that would be even better.

      So, if people think that New Canton or some other place is the best dim sum place in Sacramento, please say so. With encouragement, they may reach the next level if they are not there yet.

      1. re: sushidog

        I have had dim sum in Hong Kong, LA and Vancouver, and countless restaurants in San Francisco, including the two you mentioned. Koi Palace is arguably the best of the bay area dim sum places. I believe that New Canton is, while not at the Koi Palace level, certainly comparable to the better ones in SF. You are right that New Canton does not offer the variety of dim sum available in some of the better places. But they are very steady in their execution in the standard offers. And believe me, New Canton beats Koi Palace hands down on customer service. Judging from the dim sum business New Canton has (new expanded open hours), I am sure they know full well that they are the best dim sum place in Sacto.

      2. re: Peter

        i agree with peter that new canton is the best in sacramento. however, i also agree with sushidog that new canton is not on the same level as koi palace and the hong kong flower lounge. those places are great (and crowded like the shinjuku station in tokyo during rush hour -- well, maybe not that crowded). i also agree that with sushidog that i wish new canton would offer more consistent quality and variety in their selections; but as peter says, this is sacramento, not san francisco, and who knows if sacramento tastes would support more variety. after all, chowhound company excluded, the core of sacramento diners pretty much still have chocolate and vanilla tastes. while i would love for a dim sum place in sacramento to go to the next level, it will probably be awhile before sacramento tastes are acclimated to some of the more exotic offerings, enough to make it a profitable expansion.

        1. re: vinovert

          Just consider that with SF's much larger Chinese population with much more recent immigration experience you are still talking about only 2 restaurants that you'd consider top shelf. How would one expect Sacto with a much smaller Chinese population to be able to support even one such place.

          1. re: Peter

            so peter is essentially saying that that sacramento cannot support a world class restaurant because of our smaller population. i have to disagree. for example Masque Ristoratne with its world class chef, Angelo Auriana, has been a great success, being named by Gourmet magazine as one of the top new restaurants in amerca, and enjoyed the support from the greater sacramento community. (unfortunately, Auriana recently left masque - can't be for the lack of business because that place was always packed. time will tell if it emains popular.)

            there is no reason to beleive that sacramento cannot support a world class dim sum place, though as i said in my other post, sacramento tastes will probably have to broaden a bit. also, last time i looked, all types of people enjoy eating dim sum, not just the chinese. just like all types of folks enjoy eating sushi. (the Mikuni chain is another good example. they have literally pioneered a new style of sushi, offering new variety that is wildly popular in sacramento. in fact, our small community is supporting five mikuni restuarants in the greater sacramento area.)

            so, i don't think our problem is that sacramento is too small to support a world class dim sum place. unless someone tries to push the envelope by offering a bit more variety than the standard selection, we probably won't ever get the opportunity. and that is too bad for us.

            if fact i beleive new canton already has the customer base to move to the next level. I am hoping it someday will. who was it that said, "a journey begins with a small step." Confucious?

            1. re: vinovert

              No you got me wrong. Sacto can't support a world class dim sum place because of the small Chinese population. This does not apply to other world class cuisines.

              Sure all types of people eat dim sum. But that's not comparable to sushi. Look at the percentage of Chinese eating dim sum in New Canton, Koi Palace, or HKFL, compare that with the percent of Asians eating sushi in any of the sushi restaurants. You simply can't compare across cuisines.

              Another point, in comparing New Canton with Koi Palace or HKFL, look at the difference in terms of the size of these restaurants. New Canton is about half (or smaller) the size of the other two.

              1. re: Peter

                You hit the nail on the head. There isn't the Chinese population in Sacramento to support a higher caliber of dim sum restaurant. Sorry if any non-Chinese readers are offended, but high quality dim sum, Hong Kong style seafood, and Chinese regional cuisine restaurants are supported first and foremost by Chinese clientele. If there are non-Chinese chowhounds who appreciate such an establishment, that's fine, but that's not the target audience. If somebody has the ability to open up a world class dim sum restaurant in California, they're going to do it in Daly City, Millbrae, Alhambra or San Gabriel and not Sacramento or San Diego.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  i don't get the logic. if New Canton is flourishing with predominantly chinese support, why can't New Canton go to the next level (offer more variety, obtain more consistency), keep that same clientele and still flourish?

                  people seem to agree that New Canton is not at the next level, but i wonder why it can't get there if it wanted to. the same people supporting now will still support it, and perhaps even more enthusiastically. i know i will. is the suggestion that the predominantly chinese supporters won't support the additional variety? that seems counter to logic as the present chinese clientele would likely be familiar with and welcome the additional variety.

                  or, is it the lack of the highest skill or lack of desire that keeps New Canton from advancing? truly, i don't see how size of a restaurant matters particularly when they already flourishing with their existing size.

                  as i said earlier, i think new canton is the best sacramento dim sum place, and it is pretty good. people should not skip it because of the lack of greater variety. however, to paraphase another man in another context, some people ask why new canton should try to get better, i ask why not?

                  1. re: vinovert

                    Simple economics. New Canton doesn't *have to* step it up. They do a booming business as it is, so without the large enough customer base to support a competitor, why should they?

                    1. re: ricepad

                      ok, i agree with that. you're right. business is good enough for them and, they don't feel the need to get better. too bad for sac (and sushidog).

      3. I'm going to revive this thread, because in the last week I've had dim sum at both Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae and New Capital in Rowland Heights, and IMHO, New Canton is superior in terms of execution. The quality is there, without question. They only lack the variety of HK Flower Lounge and New Capital...but not by much.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          I understand that New Canton changed owners and the food has gone down hill. I take it that's not your experience?

          1. re: SteveTimko

            Hmm...that's news to me. The last time I was there was about a month ago, perhaps six weeks, I think...? It was still good then.

            1. re: SteveTimko

              We've been there twice in the last month and didn't notice any change in quality, still very good.

          2. I recommend King's in west Sac they do dim sum on the weekends and it's pretty and cheap.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Burly

              King's is fun but it's tremendously greasy and sugary. I would not recommend it unless you're in the mood for a Chinese "greasy spoon."

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I'm with Hewn. King's is totally old. A reasonable alternative I've found is King's Palace on Stockton. A friend recommended it, and it was very reasonable in price, maybe 15% less than New Canton. Quality was good to very good, much better than King's in West Sac, though not across the board as good as New Canton (haven't been there in since May, so I can't say it is if new ownership has changed quality), but, alas, not even the variety of New Canton. Still, for basic dim sum, a reasonable alternative (Caveat: I might have detected a bit of msg in their selections; I will have to check the next time I eat there.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: sushidog

                  Thanks - I'll try it! I love New Canton but have gotten a bit bored. Some of the seafood palaces on Stockton seem to have a wider range and maybe more adventurous choices - more porridges, stews, tripe dishes, fish and fowl - and while I've only been to a few I'll keep looking and will report back here if anything really catches my fancy.