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Nov 30, 2013 05:41 PM

Looking for Dim Sum in Chinatown.

Visiting NYC looking for dim sum in Chinatown. Any recommendations?

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    1. Golden Unicorn for carts or 88 Palace.

          1. re: AubWah

            What I really hear is dim sum in Manhattan is not good.

            1. re: AubWah

              IMHO Nom Wah is not good. okokok IMO.

            2. re: bcc

              It's fine for what it is: A trendy, tourist-accessible Chinatown diner that serves dim sum dishes that you order from a menu. Service is provided Western-style by an English-speaking staff, so there are few surprises for the casual diner who has just dropped by not knowing much or anything about the cuisine.

              1. re: foodmonk

                I wouldn't criticize a menu-based dim sum place. That's my preference as the dishes seem 'fresher.'

                1. re: c oliver

                  I hope I didn't sound too critical. But just describing what Nom Wah is like. I quite like it because it is low-fuss for me. I was there yesterday, in fact. The food is fine. The only negative really for me is the crowds. It can be very busy in there on a weekend at lunchtime.

              2. re: bcc

                The thing I like about Nom Wah is the ambiance. The street hasn't changed so much since the 19th Century and the Restaurant looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1920s. There were some shrimp dumplings that were by far the best thing we had (skip the scallion pancakes, those were rather mediocre).

                The array of sauces provided on the table was a bit 1950s (duck sauce and the yellow mustard). Could have used more sambal/sirracha type things.

              3. The question is what, if anything, you are used to. If you're coming from a city that doesn't have much dim sum then the recs here are fine. If you're coming from LA, SF, Vancouver, Toronto or even Houston, don't bother.

                41 Replies
                  1. re: Biggmouth

                    You shouldn't be eating chinese food in nyc if you are from vansterdam

                    1. re: AubWah

                      That's just a ridiculous reply. What, should we all head to China to eat Chinese food?

                      1. re: mitchleeny

                        Having eaten dim sum in various Left Coast cities, including Vancouver, and Manhattan AND Flushing, I agree with Chandavki that OP should save his/her dining dollars and time for things that are better than that gotten in Vancouver. To me that just makes sense.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          A better choice for someone from Vancouver would be Western (Henan, Lanzhou, or Xian) cuisines, Fuzhou, or Sichuan. These are much better represented in NY than Hong Kong (dim sum). On the other dim sum can be seen as much as entertainment as cuisine per se--in that one the big palaces is OK.

                          1. re: swannee

                            Vancouver is changing. Lots of non-Cantonese choices there now.

                        2. re: mitchleeny

                          That's just a ridiculous reply. What, should we all head to China to eat Chinese food?

                          No. Vancouver.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Where should we head to eat Canadian food?

                            1. re: mitchleeny

                              Do you mean Chinese food in Canada or Canadian cuisine?

                              1. re: mitchleeny

                                Define Canadian food.

                                Canada, by land mass, and if you don't melt the ice, is larger than the U.S.

                                Your question, then, taken as-is is stranger than asking "Where should we head to eat American food?"

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Actually, my question was asked because I think the whole "don't eat Chinese food in NY" meme is absurd.

                                  If that were the case, we shouldn't eat any "ethnic" food other than in the country where it originated.

                                  1. re: mitchleeny

                                    No, not really.

                                    One shouldn't eat Chinese in Manhattan -- not necessarily because it's not authentic (which is what I take you mean when you say "country where it originated") -- but that it's just not very good, authentic or not.

                                    I similarly wouldn't suggest anyone eat Chinese in DC, Phoenix, San Diego, etc. but would recommend trying Chinese in LA/OC, SF, Houston, Vegas, etc.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Agree. (Sheesh, I seem to be agreeing with you a lot!) Like Mexican food. Yeah, it's available in NYC and if you don't live someplace with good Mexican then go for it.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Agree. (Sheesh, I seem to be agreeing with you a lot!)

                                        You're supposed to take "two a day" -- not just on Tuesday.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        That's interesting because right now NYC has some great Szechuan going on. Fujianese as well.

                                        1. re: mitchleeny

                                          Szechwan Gourmet has good Sichuan going on, but the rest of the Sichuan places in Manhattan generally do not. (And don't get me started on Lan Sheng's and it itty-bitty Michelin star)

                                          Little Fuzou in the eastern part of Manhattan's chinatown has a plethora of Fujianese cuisine, which really isn't a new thing given that Manhattan has for years now been dominated by a strong Fujianese immigrant population.

                                          But beyond hand-crafted fish balls (at a place like Super Taste perhaps), I'm not sure there's any one dish in Fuzhou cuisine that is so particular or unique to the region that would prompt me to choose a Fujianese restaurant over any other regional Chinese restaurant that would offer the same or similar type of dish (i.e. peanut noodle, dumplings, beef / tripe noodle soups, etc.)

                                          By the way, C&L Dumpling House makes the best rendition of Fujianese peanut noodles (or 拌麵). Good shit, it's real authentic 福州式麵. The peanut noodles are also good at Shu Jiao Fu Zhou up the street on Eldridge, but still prefer the C&L iteration. Fuzhou's doppelganger to Sichuan's dan-dan mian -- so simple to make, but so difficult to prepare.

                                          And, here's the kicker, you know what's sort of sad? Even some of the more substantive Fujianese cooking can't seem to gain traction in Manhattan -- where the Fujianese population is abundant. Double Dragon, for example, opened up some 3 or 4 years ago, and to generally good crowds -- due in no small part to its rather creative and well-executed menu. But, alas, gone in the past year or so.

                                          Not that restaurant turnover is indicative of anything, or surprising in the abstract, but to see a really good joint serving regional ethnic food in an area dominated by that regional ethnic population is, well, a bit disheartening.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Ipse. Thank you so much for letting us all know that. I'll make sure to never eat any regional or broad Chinese food in NYC. I'll make sure to wait until I'm in Vancouver or Houston. Cheers

                                            1. re: MVNYC

                                              Me too. I'm planning a trip to Houston right now just to have some Chinese food.

                                              1. re: mitchleeny

                                                In addition, I believe a very good point has been made that Little Fuzhou does not really belong in Manhattan. For completeness, I'd recommend to remove the area occupied by Szechwan Gourmet from all maps of Manhattan. Congenially, one can assign the Vancouver municipal area to the Aberdeen (鴨脷洲) special nutrition region.

                                                No one denies that there are too few good authentic Chinese restaurants in Manhattan but "few" is not the same as "none"; also, an adjective (such as "good") typically deserves a qualifier.

                                                As it happens, I really like 456 on Mott for their JiangSu cooking; I really, really do... Can someone please explain why I am wrong?

                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                              What makes C&L's peanut noodles better and more authentic than the other dumpling houses/Fujian restaurants?

                                              1. re: Humbucker

                                                The noodles, as noted above in my post, are Fuzhou-style hand-made. The peanut sauce (combo of PB and soy sauce) is well balanced and proportioned.

                                                This is a simple dish to make, but doing it right takes a bit of deft skill.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    Well, I guess it's time for me to go back to Vancouver. I ate Chinese food on several occasions in Victoria. I didn't think it was as good as NYC. Now I must say that I have not been to Vancouver in over 35 years. So from what everyone is saying Vancouver must have changed over the years. I plan on going to Banff and then to Vancouver and Vancouver Island when the weather warms up .. I'll definitely check out the Chinese food.

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                      In the decade or so leading up to 1997, the diaspora of people from Hong Kong really picked up steam and many found refuge in Vancouver, and Richmond in particular.

                                      Now that the threat of China clamping down on Hong Kong culture and economy have basically been put to rest, many are returning "home". Nonetheless, these HK-immigrants have made their mark.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Thanks. I am sure I will be shocked ( in a good way) at the change. I was in Chinatown in Vancouver,, It seemed like Mott St. There were several Chinese restaurants all with neon signs, similar to NYC Chinatown but way smaller. that was in 1973 or 74. Richmond sounds like the place to checkout.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          So based upon a visit to Vancouver 40 years ago you can accurately rate the difference between Chinese food in two cities?

                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                          IMneverHO, LA is #1 and Vancouver #2 in dim sum. Since I live where there is NO dim sum I will generally get it wherever we are when traveling. But I know the really good from just good and then, of course, there's not so good.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Actually I think it's Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles in that order, so it's not that far for New Yorkers to travel to get superior stuff if they are so inclined.

                                            1. re: Chandavkl

                                              Good to know. I've not been to Toronto (yet). It and Quebec are on my short list.

                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                About two years ago I asked on the Ontario board where to find the good Chinese I had heard about. I was then basically told that Chinese was better in NYC. Seems everyone is miserable.

                                                1. re: MVNYC

                                                  That is a very profound remark. Except for Californians, who always have the best of everything, everyone else always sees the grass greener on the other side of the street.

                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                    Well very technically, New York Chinatown food is better than Toronto Chinatown. Where the fantastic Chinese food is in the GTA is suburban areas like Richmond Hill, Markham, and Scarborough. Food there doesn't rate with what you might get in Hong Kong, but is a little better than Los Angeles.

                                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                                      Very technically it's all opinion.

                                                      1. re: MVNYC

                                                        Definitely my opinion, shared by many others. I hope it's an informed opinion.


                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                          Not that anyone's opinion is more important than anyone else's but yours is the most informed that *I've* ever seen.

                                        3. re: mitchleeny

                                          Actually you should go to Toronto (well, Richmond Hill, Markham, Scarborough).

                                          1. re: mitchleeny

                                            We're losing sight of the fact that the "don't eat Chinese food in NY" suggestion was directed not to most of us on this board but specifically to someone visiting for a short time from Vancouver, which has world-class dim sum (the subject of the original query) and other Chinese food. Nothing ridiculous about that advice. No one's suggesting that New Yorkers eat Chinese food only in China.

                                            1. re: squid kun

                                              I disagree with that suggestion because Chinese food is regional and there are certain cuisines, such as, e.g., North-Eastern, that are better in NY, IMHO. That might have changed since my last visit 18 months ago.

                                              I would also like to point out that generalizations (such as from dim sum to Chinese food in general) can be difficult.

                                              1. re: diprey11

                                                Yes, and OP was very specifically talking about dim sum.

                                              2. re: squid kun

                                                EXACTLY!!! If I lived in LA, I wouldn't eat ANY Chinese food when visiting SF. It's not a slam against NYC. Not every area can or should even have as a goal to make the best of everything.

                                            2. re: AubWah

                                              That strongly depends on what kind of food. Chinese food is regional too, ya know...

                                              For visitors from BC, it makes sense to focus more on in-land food styles, North-East/Manchu, and perhaps Fuzhou (definitely skip any TW food); maybe Sichuan/Hunan (outer boroughs only); definitely not dim sum.

                                            3. re: Biggmouth

                                              Unfortunately, the Chinese food in New York is nothing like in Vancouver.