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Sunny Palace East Brunswick .... or a plea for Chinese food

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What a mistake. We had gone once before and it wasn't bad, not great but certainly worth a second trip. We went yesterday. We were there for about an hour and three carts rolled around for dim sum around 1l:45 and finally I asked our waiter if there were any more carts coming. I was about to order from the menu or go home and cook. The shrimp dumplings were fishy. My husband loves chicken feet said they were ok, and I had about two bites of bland " vegetable dumplings". They then came out with sticky rice balls and I ate all three I was so hungry! At this point I can't tell you if they were good or bad, but simply food for a starving woman. By now Shanghai Bun starts steaming the shao lin bao the minute we walk in, surely there must be some other place besides wonder seafood to go for Chinese food. Have food will travel. Help!

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  1. Chinese food or dim sum? The closest for Cantonese dim sum (not counting Wonder) would probably be Dynasty on Route 22, and I think Royal Seafood on Rt 1-9 in Avenel. There are also Hong Fu and Grand Shanghai for soup dumplings, and King's Village for "Northern style appetizers". If you mean Chinese food in general, there are a ton of places. What exactly are you looking for?

    1. Qin Dynasty...Parsippany, Morris County. ....There's also Noddle Chu across the highway, but the family and I prefer QD. It takes us about 30 minutes from Bergen County.


      In past days, we all used to hop into two cars and head to Chinatown.....but while we all still enjoy making a trek into the city, the convenience of Parsippany is much easier....especially for my 84 year old mother. The way I see it, between tolls and parking...each car saves approximately $40 in expenses.....which means the it can be applied to the Dim Sum bill....or the Lobster Noodles you see in the pictures.

      1. I have only been there once for Dim Sum recommended by others. I thought it was reasonable, but not great. Where approximately do you live? And what kind of Dim Sum are you looking for? Philadelphia Chinatown offers reasonable (not great) Cantonese Dim Sum. I know Shanghai Park in Princeton has decent Shanghai soup dumplings (小籠包) and 八寶飯 ...etc.

          1. re: wench31

            West Lake's dim sum is fairly mediocre with everything arriving at the table lukewarm at best. Try Crown Palace (on Route 79), where the fry cart comes to your table and cooks to order, rather than the items being cooked in the kitchen and then sitting on the carts for a while.

          2. Believe it or not, dim sum here used to be pretty good, but they've gone downhill in the past 4 years. Try Dynasty as a previous poster suggested.

            2 Replies
            1. re: RUSK97

              <dim sum here used to be pretty good>

              "Here" as in Sunny Palace or "Here" as in New Jersey?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Sunny Palace used to be great for dim sum. This is going back maybe 10 years or so (before the economy crashed), but every weekend, they used to have lines to get a table for dim sum. The lines would be up to an hour long. I'm not sure if the food declined first or the throngs of people declined first, but things definitely went downhill.

            2. Thank you all for your much appreciated suggestions. I forgot about Dynasty and Royal Seafood. We went to both of them years ago. Worth a try once again. Definitely will try them once again. Hong Fu is a new name where is it, will gladly try it! Grand Shanghai I did not care for, though family members did. King's Village another forgotten place I will try. I am looking for Chinese food that offers more than just " American Chinese". Dim Sum, dinner we are a mixed group so need to appeal to those who like authentic Chinese and others who are not so daring. I appreciate your suggestions very much Chuck. Qin Dynasty in Morris county will put it on my list too. Unfortunately we no longer go to Chinatown. It is too difficult to find parking and we are not as energetic or young anymore. It used to be a weekly trip for us, now we need parking and less walking! Thanks Fourunder.

              Chemicalkinetics we live near Freehold and would try Phiadelphia Chinatwon if it were some place really great. Shanghai Park in Princeton, there used to be Shanghai Park in Hyland Park which was really good, they sold it and now it is not soo good. That is definitely worth checking out. Much appreciated.
              Wench and Rusk appreciate your help.
              We went to West Lake and it was awful. We tried both dinner and Dim Sum both times I said I wont ever be back. I know lots of people like it, but not me.
              We also tried Kings on route 9, but that doesn't do it for me either. We have been heading into Brooklyn and Flushing Chinatowns on occasion and find that even though the trip is long we really eat well no matter which restaurant we try. Unfortunately we can't do that often enough. I appreciate all the great suggestions and help.

              5 Replies
              1. re: EL7

                Hong Fu is in Highland Park, it used to be Shanghai Park. Same menu. Some other good Chinese places:

                China Bowl, Cantonese, Rt 27 Edison

                China Star, Korean-Chinese, Rt 1 Edison

                Thumbs Up, Sichuan/Hot Pot, Rt 1 Edison

                Sichuan Spring, Rt 27 Edison/Highland Park

                East Noodle House, Hunan, Old Post Rd Edison

                Szechuan Ace, Rt 27 Somerset/Franklin Park

                Go-Go Noodle, Cantonese, Stelton Rd Piscataway

                Noodlelicious, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, Rt 27 Edison

                And while I go there less frequently, decent menus at

                Shanghai Noodle House, Old Post Rd Edison

                Edison Noodle House, Korean/Chinese, Old Post Rd Edison

                If you want buffet go to Teppenyaki, Rt 1 East Brunswick, several authentic items including dim sum.

                Although it's not Chinese, you should try the curry beef noodle soup at either of the Malaysian places, Coco, Rt 27 Edison or Penang, Old Post Rd Edison. I think that's the single best asian dish in the area. Honorable mention to beef rendang.

                1. re: chuck98

                  Chuck thank you! A very informative useful list! Will put it to great use! Much appreciated! My friends and family will be really happy!

                  1. re: chuck98

                    Chuck, thanks for the list. Having read many of your comments over the years, I look forward to taking advantage of this post. Is there any chance you could suggest some dishes at the various places for us to try on a first visit. No need to be timid about what you think best. If it's funky and off menu, that's cool by me (and likely others too).

                    1. re: MGZ

                      Sure, I'd be happy to. I'll mention a dish or two that I like, but caveat emptor. You may hate tofu skin as much as I hate bitter melon. My meals are almost always lunch, so the dinner options may be different.

                      In general: anything mentioning tofu skin, preserved vegetable, casserole, fungus.

                      King's Village - mu shu, chopped deep-fried ribs, shredded pork and preserved veg soup.

                      Wonder Seafood - eggs with dried turnip, whole pan-fried flounder, tofu skin roll (dim sum), tofu/tofu skin and fish casserole

                      China Bowl - bbq pork/bbq pig (crispy skin) combo, tofu skin+tofu hot pot (casserole), beef brisket in casserole (may not be on menu, but ask)

                      Coco or Penang - curry beef noodle soup, asam laksa (very aggressive), udang mee (or prawn mee), nasi lemak

                      Hong Fu - 8 treasure spicy bean paste noodle soup, lion's head

                      Crazy Burrito - chiles rellenos en salsa verde

                      Sigiri - lamb in black curry

                      Hailey's Harp & Pub - Irish Breakfast, with breakfast tea

                      Four Seasons - pad mi ga ti (coconut noodles)

                      China Star - noodles with black bean (jajangmyeon?)

                      Szechuan Ace - deep-fried tofu with a tomato sauce?

                      Thumbs Up - fish filet and spinach soup

                      Pan Asia - drums of heaven, spicy chili noodles

                      Tete (peruvian, Highland Park) - avocados del mar

                      El Tumi or other standard peruvian - green spaghetti

                      Somerset Restaurant and Grill - honduran or dominican breakfast

                      Little Spain Restaurant - clams and pork

                      Pho Anh Dao - chicken curry noodle soup

                      Viet Cafe - pho with sate? spicy

                      If anyone else has some similar suggestions in the area, I'm interested

                      1. re: chuck98

                        Also, I left out the standards like beef rendang, mapo tofu, pho, bulgogi, etc.

                2. I was never impressed by SP's dim sum, even as it was years ago. Wonder Seafood on Rt 27 in Edison is much better.

                  1. Went back there again today. The speed was slow. 2-3 carts rolling, and the foods were not super fresh. I ordered 6 dishes.

                    Objectively speaking, some of the dishes were fine, and some were not great. I thought the Steamed BBQ Buns were good, way better than the ones I had on Saturday from Imperial Inn in Philly Chinatown.

                    You certainly cannot compare to the great dim sum from California or Toronto. That would be an unfair comparison.

                    I do have extensive experience with the Philly Chinatown Dim Sum scenario. If you factor out the slowness of the Dim Sum carts and lack of variety, and just focus on the quality, then I think quality come close to the Philly Chinatown Dim Sum level. Maybe a tad lower, but not much.

                    Maybe I will try Wonder Seafood next time.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I have pretty much given up on Dim Sum in central NJ. I agree Wonder Seafood is the best of the bunch.
                      It seems that decent Sichuan food and noodle houses (Taiwan/Shanghai style) are popping up all over the place, so i am shifting my attention to them instead of dim sum.

                      1. re: yCf

                        We still like Crown Palace Marlboro, but it may be at a comfort food level rather than really good cuisine. (It's also fairly close to us.)

                        1. re: eleeper

                          i would go across the street to Sichuan Cottage. (um.. that thought makes me hungry)

                          1. re: yCf

                            We like Sichuan Cottage too, but for regular meals. Do they do dim sum?

                            1. re: eleeper


                              But on the topic of Philly Dim Sum....

                              I still love Dim Sum Garden. I think their soup dumplings are the best around the tri state area and they have a nice selection of other choices for dim sum. OK, so the atmosphere stinks, but I don't mind.

                              1. re: seal

                                Dim Sum Garden's soup dumplings are pretty good. I will actually put Shanghai Park (Princeton) soup dumplings at the same level if not a touch better. Dim Sum Garden does a decent (not large) selection of other dim sum, but not all of them are great. For example, I don't think the regular dumplings are great.

                                The newer menu has some interesting items I like.

                          2. re: eleeper

                            I always thought Crown Palace had perfectly good Dim Sum...

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              Maybe I will give that a try. Thanks. I frequent the Philly Chinatown Dim Sum scene. I eat there almost every week -- because I go there every week.

                              I had some really great Dim Sum this winter in Toronto. I have to say the Toronto Dim Sum is noticeably better than those from Philadelphia Chinatown (Ocean City, Ocean Harbor, Joy Tsin Lau...etc), so I was wondering if I can get better Dim Sum traveling in land toward New Jersey. A long shot, but....

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                If you are ever up north ....Qin Dynasty


                                I drive about 40 minutes to get there...it saves me the tolls and parking to get to NYC Chinatown or Flushing....so I figure I have about $60 extra to cover for the Lobster Noodles.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  Nice photos. A few of them look tasty just from looking at them. Shrimp Sui Man look good. Shrimp dumplings look to have thick skin, but it may not be true. Rice rolls look good too. Of course, I won't know for sure until I get there.

                                  It is a bit far (1 hr 15 min), but good Dim Sum is worth it. Two questions. You do consider this place to be better than Sunny Palace and Crown Palace? Second, it this place offers Dim Sum 7 days a week or only Sat and Sun?

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    never been ti either for Dim Sum....only went to Crown Palace for dinner many, many moons ago....I thought it was simply okay but great for the shore(Middletown?)

                                    I believe you can order off the menu 7 days a week....perhaps a call in advance to Tracy(?) , and she can be more specific. Usually when my family goes we number 14, and she takes of of my reservation without a hitch between 11-1130 on a Sunday morning....

                                    they also give you a 5% discount for cash.

                                    Noodle Chu is across the highway, but my family prefers Qin....

                              2. re: joonjoon

                                Dim Sum at both Crown Palace and Sunny Palace are fine (just want to add CP's dinner was awful the last time i went) but it just not something I would crave for, nothing surprising or new... it's been the same exact thing with no variations or improvement .... so i guess i am just tired of it.

                                So it's really just a preference for me to go to noodle houses or Sichuan places when given the choice.

                          3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            HATE sharing tables at Wonder Seafood.
                            Not enough parking spaces.
                            Too aggravating to enjoy the food.

                            The noodle houses are "eh". Not impressed.

                            I am perfectly content to go to either Sunny Palace or Crown Palace for dim sum.

                            1. re: ieee488

                              i agree with that... especially when a dim sum meal supposed to be a brunch where you relax, enjoy the tea, read the paper (or phone/tablet nowadays). Wonder Seafood has the worst location despite having the best food. With two young kids, i just have no interest in going there for Dim Sum... selfishly, I wish they can swap location with Crown Palace

                              1. re: yCf

                                The parking situation at Crown Palace isn't that great either. We always try to go there after the crowds so about 1pm, so can usually find a parking in their main lot. Have you ever parked in their secondary lot?

                                1. re: ieee488

                                  I have used their secondary lot, and also the lot diagonally across the street (where Sichuan Cottage and the Post Office are. It's only a problem in bad weather, and may actually be preferable to trying to maneuver around the main lot when people are going both directions and sitting waiting for spaces.