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dim sum

  • j

I am opting out of thanksgiving and bringing my family for dim sum or other delicious Chinese. Can go Manhattan or Queens. I have read the advice posted in the past but nothing particularly jumping out at me. Thoughts?

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  1. Despite the naysayers....I like Jing Fong and Jade Asian.

    Pictures at Jade Asian

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8843...

        1. I constantly read that Hakkasan is great.

          65 Replies
          1. re: UES Mayor

            Hakkasan dim sum is good and more upscale than the others. Is it great? Nope.
            OP wants Thanksgiving meal, to me that means dinner. Dim Sum is not dinner. Hakkasan might be a good choice for dinner. Lau and others recommend the Peking Duck, or the Pipa duck.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              Hakkasan as "best" dim sum in Manhattan just means identifying the tallest midget at the circus. Maybe even the second-tallest.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  It's a California term we use on the Los Angeles board.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Compared to China/Taiwan or US? Chinese food in China/Taiwan is on another level compared to most of the world.. but it's sort of irrelevant. I'd like to see Parisians bemoaning how there's no Guy Savoy in NYC and that Per Se is the tallest midget at the circus.

                  And if you're comparing Hakkasan dim sum to the US, I haven't been back to Koi Palace (loved it but don't think it was better) in many years but I just came back from multiple meals (2-3 hour wait for dim sum) at Sea Harbour and taken as a whole Hakkasan's dim sum is as good or better, even without the extreme, hunger inducing wait that seasons food. Just at a much higher price point. Would I prefer to pay Sea Harbour or Koi Palace dim sum prices? Yes. But I do not agree that NYC Hakkasan dim sum is some poor cousin to California dim sum.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Hakkasan, price notwithstanding, does not compare to Sea Harbour, Elite, or many of the other better SGV dim sum joints. And it is a far cry from Koi Palace.

                    Hakkasan has very good dim sum *for* Manhattan. We can just leave it at that.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I disagree strongly. I've eaten at Sea Harbour many times. I've eaten at Hakkasan many times. Saying they do not compare is highly inaccurate. From my experience. We may disagree and leave it at that. But what bothers me is this painting of a very inaccurate portrait of Chinese food in NYC vs. CA. I'd give the edge to CA in price and quality of produce, not cooking.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        Right. Exactly.

                        We disagree.

                        The mere breadth of variety at places like Sea Harbour and Koi Palace give them several notches above Hakkasan. Then you factor the quality of cooking and it's game over.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Variety does not equal quality and the quality of cooking at Hakkasan is in no way inferior to Sea Harbour. The quality of produce in California is superior, fine. But it seems people confuse quality of produce with quality of cooking. My most recent meals, the dao miao I had at Sea Harbour was overly gelatinous and yellowed instead of blanched and bright green, the water cooked lamb was lacking in seasoning, sweet sour pork was overly bony, the coating was coming off the sauteed squid, the shrimp with wasabi should have been crisper and less sauced, shumai were fresh but the texture very firm/compact, spare ribs with black bean very fatty, meatballs one note, pot stickers not better than Prosperity or Nan Xiang, etc. etc.

                          I really enjoy Sea Harbour, but it's simply not head and shoulders above Hakkasan based on anything other than value. I used to live in CA, and I never understood the raves of CA vs. NYC Chinese food on Chowhound. I see the good. That Chinese food in CA is better bang for the buck. But I don't downgrade Hakkasan simply based on price or lack of variety. Skillful cooking is skillful cooking. What bothers me is the unfair disregard of the skill that the cooks at Hakkasan possess. With all the negative reviews, many on this board were reluctant to acknowledge ANYTHING good about Hakkasan for fear of seeming ignorant. But with a tide of changing opinion, there is grudging acknowledgment Hakkasan's dim sum is now... "ok". This only makes me feel that some opinions on CH are just lemming-like popularity contests rather than based on merit. Pity the cuisine or restaurant that is out of favor because supposedly things are so much better in XYZ city.

                          I haven't been to Koi Palace in over 6 years so I'm not going to comment.

                          1. re: Pookipichu

                            Just to throw my two bits in, Hakkasan (both Beverly Hills and Manhattan) definitely among the best dim sum in the US. But I have to rate it below Koi Palace, Sea Harbour, and probably Lunasia and Elite. And a plus one for Full House Cafe on Bowery.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              NY vs LA: so out on this conversation

                              Chandavkl: full house is good? what did you like?

                              1. re: Lau

                                Snow pea leaf dumpling and fish cake were the highlights. But I have to wonder if they still serve dim sum since I only found the Shanghai items on their online menu.

                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                  ahh yah they mainly have a shanghainese menu

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    Yeah, they had a couple dozen regular dim sum items served until 6 pm. Wonder if the chef jumped ship.

                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                Is Full House a good option for the OP's needs?
                                The pumpkin tofu soup on their menu sounds interesting..... Any favorites there?

                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                  Well it's not clear if they only do Shanghai style dim sum now. Of course with possibly 400 menu items, there should be something for everyone.

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      The menu numbers actually go into the 500s. However if you look closely there are some missing numbers.

                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        they really need to stop doing that

                      2. re: Pookipichu

                        Since Hakkasan is in both New York and Los Angeles, as well as Miami and Las Vegas I don't think comments about Hakkasan are directly a New York vs. Los Angeles thing.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          I don't mean it just in the context of Hakkasan. People will disagree but I find the whole theme of CA Chinese superiority vs. NY an old trope that is significantly exaggerated. Unfortunately, NYC's best is a chain. Still, pricing aside, I found flaws in the cooking at Sea Harbour just as there are flaws at Hakkasan. There are things that Hakkasan does better, vice versa.

                          Furthermore, when someone is asking for a Chinese food recommendation in NYC, is it really helpful (or accurate) to chime in that Chinese restaurants are terrible in comparison with xyz other state/country? I really see this mostly with Chinese food, to a lesser extent Indian food. Indian food in London is awesome, yes I agree, let's move on, this is NYC and there's good food here...

                          1. re: Pookipichu

                            Really? most Indian food in W1 London is bad, as is London's awful branch of Hakkasan which serves us gluey dimsum...

                            1. re: Simon

                              :) how did I know what you would say.

                            2. re: Pookipichu

                              Problem is, the dim sum in NY right now is typically pretty mediocre, with favorites often being of the overly greasy, mystery meat variety. Finding a good taro cake or egg roll isn't a problem, and some dumplings are do-able, but other basics like pork buns tend to disappoint. I don't think one needs to make a comparison to recognize that, unless they're referencing what quality dim sum is supposed to taste like.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Dim sum, and really Chinese food generally, in Manhattan just isn't very good.

                                Hence the tallest midget analogy.

                                Not even sure why that's even debatable. Sort of like arguing whether water is wet, or if "b" follows "a" in the alphabet, or if jaywalking in midtown is considered a "pedestrian right of way".

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  We probably shouldn't make unsubstantiated claims like that. Rather we should explain that New York does not have the food centric, geographically concentrated, upper middle class mass of Chinese residents you have in the San Gabriel Valley that demands the best food. Fact is that the Chinese food in the rest of Los Angeles outside the SGV is no better than New York, and I'll take Manhattan Chinatown over Los Angeles Chinatown any day.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    The real "Chinatown" these days is SGV.

                                    And I mean that in terms of the entire U.S., not just Chinatown in [insert metro city of choice].

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      We should make it clear that this is much more than food. While the Bay Area and New York may have comparable numbers of Chinese, the unique combination of events that have come together in the San Gabriel Valley has created a different subculture, particularly among the second generation.

                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        Chandavaki, I appreciate your viewpoint and Ipsexdixit's, because we have different experiences and I eat far less Chinese food in CA than I do in NY. I'm assuming this is the opposite for both of you. However, I did live in LA and I have never been impressed in comparison to the food in Asia nor have I seen the perfection that is waxed on these boards in comparison to NYC Chinese food. I think that based on some of these posts extolling SGV, people would be very disappointed by actually going to SGV because their expectations will be completely out of alignment with reality. It can be really good for the price you pay, that's the reality, not that it blows NYC Chinese food out of the water.

                                        I enjoyed my recent meals at Sea Harbour, which is acknowledged as one of SGV's best. But the cooking is not without flaws, in a very general sense I can get food that is as good or better at NYC Hakkasan, I'd have to pay more of course, but the room is lovely and the desserts are amazing. The ambiance of Sea Harbour is not a wow factor. (Not to mention I was shocked by how expensive dao miao is at Sea Harbour). Secondly I had some really awful Chinese/Asian food at various well-reviewed places at Diamond Jamboree. It made me really appreciate what I have in Flushing.

                                        That being said, yes I would LOVE to have Sea Harbour prices and quality in NYC. In the meanwhile, I will be nom nom-ing on the duck and dim sum at Hakkasan.

                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                          Diamond Jamboree generally kind of sucks btw...irvine is not the SGV although there is some decent chinese food in the older part of the "chinatown" in irvine

                                          pookipichu - if you're ever in orange county again email me via my blog and ill send you to some really good food in OC, i know OC food very well since im from there and usually there 4-5 times per year and spend all my time either at the beach, eating or working out to work off what i just ate haha

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            I know that Diamond Jamboree is not in SGV :) I was giving an example of CA. I appreciate your offer though.

                                            I don't drive so I was depending on people to take me around, they like Diamond Jamboree and I didn't want to push to hard because I sort of coerced them to eat at Sea Harbour several times :P

                                            1. re: Pookipichu

                                              Yeah, Diamond Jamboree proves my secondary observation, i.e., that Chinese food in the L.A. area outside the SGV isn't anything to write home about. In a recent article I made the observation that no Chinese restaurant outside the SGV would make the top 300 Chinese restaurant list for the LA area. Also, I do NOT mean to compare Chinese food in California to that in Asia. Indeed, I don't even compare it to Canada, though it has narrowed the gap.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        But how does any of this help the original poster get dim sum. Not everyone has the chance to get to the San Gabriel Valley. I've lived in Southern California and frankly have no desire to return. Simply don't like LA as a city and work never sends me there. So I may never get to the San Gabriel valley. If I want to try stellar Chinese food I will travel to China.

                                        1. re: MVNYC

                                          Like so many hijacked Chow threads, the answer is in there someplace. I think is that you could go upscale at Hakkasan or head on over to Flushing.

                                          1. re: MVNYC

                                            It helps the OP understand and appreciate dim sum in the context of the Manhattan food scene. And as my original suggestion suggested, go to Flushing, or take out a second mortgage and go to Hakkasan, or just get by at Full House Cafe.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Or buy a (same day) round trip ticket to Toronto and save on Hakkasan. Seriously: it will cost about same.

                                              1. re: diprey11

                                                Just personally, I would pay the price of Hakkasan just *not* to have to fly. (And, I'm TSA Pre✓™).

                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                            I am not in a position to dispute this, Ipsedixit, but there 200,000 more Chinese in NYC than in LA county.

                                            1. re: swannee

                                              It's not about raw numbers, but the demographics which are totally different. SGV is suburban and upper middle class, with a huge new post-1960s immigration reform second generation of Chinese Americans adults (as opposed to us Toishanese Chinese, now into our fifth generation), concentrated in one geographic area. This contrasts to New York 's Chinese population, which is more urban and working class, more recently arrived in the US, without this geographically concentrated second generation, and rather dispersed across the metropolitan area.

                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                In other words, it's about money. New money. And lots of it. Lots.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  And where some of that money comes from, don't ask.

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Not necessarily where it comes form, but *how* it got to the U.S.

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                This being the Manhattan board, Hakkasan seems like a solid recommendation. If it's the second-tallest midget, what's the tallest, by your measure?

                                1. re: squid kun

                                  Dunno. Maybe Full House Cafe?

                                  What really holds Hakkasan back from being the tallest midget in Manhattan are the prices. They're exorbitant even for midtown.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    The thread confuses me a bit. Firstly I've never eaten dim sum in China, but have been eating dim sum for decades. I find Hakkasan's dim sum fancier than the other NY dim sum, next "fancy" might be DSGG. I don't like DSGG. Some of my dim sum likes i.e. chicken feet, duck web, tripe, lo men gai, more, I didn't see at Hakkasan. Is this "great" dim sum in SGV , just part of the new breed dim sum, "fancier" more modern, or is it actually better. I think we are lucky to have the quality of dim sum we have in NYC, Chinese food in general. Next to LA, or maybe SGV, NYC has the best Chinese food in this country and including Canada.I've been to Chinatown in every state that has one and also in Canada. I had decent Chinese food in Hawaii, but not memorable.
                                    I've had SF dim sum many times and I found it no better, actually not as good as NYC dim sum. Years ago 30 Pell St under various names had the freshest, most well made dim sum around. I have never had a char siu bao as good as I've had in NYC. I did have a good one in Paris once.
                                    So do you CH'ers who rave about West Coast dim sum, like it because it is more modern, more fancy or high end ingredients, more inventive,,,or is it apples to apples and it is just better?

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                      What's your benchmark for Pork buns in NY?

                                      And what's fancy about what Dim Sum a GoGo serves?

                                      Irregardless if people are looking for newer inventive styles, the food prep has to be fresh, with quality ingredients handled properly, wouldn't you agree? Isn't that just what makes for good food? That's where NY dim sum often fails.

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        I like the pork buns at Hop Shing and at the place that used to be Golden Carriage ( now called just EH or EB I forget but i'm there several times a week). I used to prefer steamed pork buns but over the years have gotten a liking for baked. Contrary to popular opinion I do not like the ones at Mei Li Wah (sp)on Bayard St. as much, because they are denser, not as sweet and very little if any onions. They are more like the Filipino pork buns I eat. Although Mei Li Wah is the only place I've ever had pork buns at night , right out of the oven.
                                        I guess i thought of DSGG as "fancier" although I am not saying good by any means. I have had the worst dim sum ever at DSGG. I've also had some good meals there. But dim sum like Three Star Dumplings, Abbott's delight, Jade Dumplings, even soy bean dumplings , to me were fancier than places like Golden Unicorn, Hop Shing, other places. Maybe it was just perception.
                                        In any case, to me freshness counts a lot. So does preparation and quality of ingredients. I won't eat at Jing Fong because their har gow (sp) has iodine tasting, low quality shrimp. I've had bad experience at the highly acclaimed Red Egg also. I do like Amazing 88, Golden Unicorn, and Lake Pavillion these days. Hakkasan has very "fancy" dim sum, but some are not that great tasting. And the place is overpriced for dim sum. I do want to try their duck dishes though.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          Do you mean 162 E.B. Corp on East Broadway? Funny how some Chinese don't realize that it's OK to use a DBA. Remember Dining Room Management Group on Mott St?

                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                            Yep E.B. Corp on East Bway, formerly Golden Carriage, next door to the little place that makes the hand cut $1.50 rice noodles with meat, veggie, or seafood,. Catchy name E.B. Corp. is, don't ya think?

                                          2. re: foodwhisperer

                                            I'll have to give Golden Carriage another try because I don't remember much of it.

                                            Hop Shing though? Interesting. They've always struck me as entirely pedestrian, that would only play as passable in NY. Texture wise, they've even reminded me of the frozen ones. I'll revisit both just because you've got me curious, but I can't get a steamed pork bun that approximates anything close to the West Coast, and for baked, I've had some decent ones at the random bakeries, and mostly liked Taipan's, when fresh.

                                            I don't think a solid dim sum meal exists in Manhattan. Red Egg and DCGG become notable simply because they don't serve anything you think about spitting out. Still hopeful it's out there. It's kind of like Burritos. All the tools are there, but nobody is doing it.

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              Hop Shing is the choice of many Chinese people I know, who have been to HK many times. Not that it compares with HK, but the place has a big turnover ( mostly takeout) so everything is fresh. I know Lau has been to Hop Shing and if I remember correctly he thinks it is decent for NYC.
                                              Golden Carriage is now E. B. Corp good for bao, good for egg custard, curry beef pastry, sponge cake bread and more.

                                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                You can find Chinese people eating in some of the worst Chinese dumps too, so I'm not sure what that proves...Also, a lot of Chowhounders give Nom Wah the sign off as decent, so it's all a matter of opinion, but none of this stuff really rises above the junky shops in other regions, with stacks of dim sum sitting in the windows.

                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                  Some Chinese diners are attracted by (1) price, or (2) quantity.

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Don't you mean ... "some diners are attracted by (1) price, or (2) quantity"?

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                      I know some Chinese diners that go to Red Egg, ( which I thought was expensive for dim sum),, they say if you get to Red Egg before noon, it has special pricing that is very inexpensive.

                                                  2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                    i wrote about dinner which is decent but not great old school cantonese
                                                    https://www.lauhound.com/2012/06/hop-...

                                                    i dont think their dim sum is good

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      Sorry about the misquote Lau. I did remember your father knew the owners. I have been coming here for years and I believe when they changed the name from Hop Shing to Chatham, the Chinese sign stayed as Hop Shing. Anyway, I've had lunch there but never had dinner. The pictures and description of your dinner dishes actually look fantastic. The steamed shrimp and the oxtail dish especially. So, as far as NYC not having good Chinese food goes, I'm very excited to try these dishes. I sure hope I enjoy them , regardless of the general consensus about NYC having not very good Chinese food. I personally don't look for bargain price or quantity, just good taste.

                                                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                        not my father, my friends father knows the owners; its a very old school place, the waiters don't even really speak mandarin

                                                        the shrimp dish is a classic chinese dish, you need decent quality shrimp but its very good when made right

                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                          I thought this discussion was specific to dim sum.

                                                          Maybe some previous conversations with CH'ers are bleeding in, but I don't think anyone is making blanket statements about NYC Chinese food, just that the level of dim sum can be mediocre in this city, and it's not where Chinese shines.

                                              2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                It's a combination of factors. Perhaps the leading reason is that most of the top California dim sum restaurants, as well as Hakkasan, do not use carts, but rather are menu driven. This is a plus for diners since they get fresher food, but it is also a plus for restaurants who can stuff more tables in because they don't need wide aisles for carts to pass. Also, Chinese food evolves more than most other cuisines, both dim sum and non dim sum. I was at one of the better SGV restaurants for dinner recently when I realized that most of the dishes we were eating did not exist 5 or 10 years ago. There's a similar effect with dim sum on the West Coast whereas you just don't see that innovation in New York. Also, I have an unconfirmed suspicion which I'd be pleased if somebody can confirm or deny. All the top dim sum places in California are owned and manned by people originally from Hong Kong. I'm guessing that at least some of the dim sum places in New York are run by Fujianese.

                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                  All the top dim sum places in California are owned and manned by people originally from Hong Kong.
                                                  _____________________________

                                                  Manned, but not necessarily operated (at least in SGV). This is especially true nowadays in eSGV.

                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Chandavki thanks for your explanation, and it makes sense and is really along the lines I am thinking. The standard NYC dim sum places have evolved much and the dishes pretty much have remained the same. No innovation. That being said, I guess I like the "old school" stuff very much. I also did like some of the innovative dishes at Hakkasan. I have known some of the owners or managers of NYC dim sum establishments, although the carts may take up space, their biggest complaint was when someone would order a big soup and sit there for over an hour. Hop Shing is "old school" NYC but never had carts, the place is too small for them. I have found if I ask for dishes not passing on carts, they come out fresh from the kitchen ( sometimes I have to wait).
                                                    All of the owner/managers I knew at dim sum places in NYC are Cantonese. I really must get to HK, and try the food there. Perhaps this Spring that will happen.

                                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                      I would expect Manhattan Chinatown Cantonese restaurants to be largely Cantonese run since that's the last bastion of Cantonese influence. However I have read a couple random references on this board to particular Manhattan Chinatown Cantonese restaurants being in fact Fujianese operated. I'm really curious about the dim sum places in Flushing, where there are few Cantonese residents. There are Chinese communities where there are few, if any Cantonese residents (e.g., Atlanta) and in those cities the dim sum restaurants appear to be run by Fujianese.

                                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                                        I've eaten Fujianese food in NYC around Rutger St, I forget the other streets off East Broadway, I believe all the fish ball places are Fujianese. I like the food in that area, perhaps because it is different.
                                                        Cantonese dim sum in Queens ( of course see OB board) Lake Pavillion is the one I like.