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Looking for Dim Sum in Chinatown.

Biggmouth Nov 30, 2013 05:41 PM

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

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  1. c oliver RE: Biggmouth Nov 30, 2013 06:00 PM

    A favorite topic here:


    1. f
      foodwhisperer RE: Biggmouth Dec 3, 2013 04:08 AM

      Golden Unicorn for carts or 88 Palace.

      1. b
        bcc RE: Biggmouth Dec 3, 2013 07:07 AM

        Nom Wah is very good.

        8 Replies
        1. re: bcc
          AubWah RE: bcc Dec 3, 2013 09:36 AM

          That's not what I heard

          1. re: AubWah
            Monica RE: AubWah Dec 3, 2013 09:47 AM

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

            1. re: AubWah
              foodwhisperer RE: AubWah Dec 3, 2013 09:07 PM

              IMHO Nom Wah is not good. okokok IMO.

              1. re: foodwhisperer
                bcc RE: foodwhisperer Dec 4, 2013 02:49 AM

                Opinions differ.

            2. re: bcc
              foodmonk RE: bcc Dec 8, 2013 08:09 AM

              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
                c oliver RE: foodmonk Dec 8, 2013 08:11 AM

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

                1. re: c oliver
                  foodmonk RE: c oliver Dec 8, 2013 08:21 AM

                  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
                jcmods RE: bcc Dec 11, 2013 11:02 AM

                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. Chandavkl RE: Biggmouth Dec 7, 2013 09:25 AM

                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: Chandavkl
                  Biggmouth RE: Chandavkl Dec 7, 2013 11:05 AM

                  I'm from Vancouver.

                  1. re: Biggmouth
                    AubWah RE: Biggmouth Dec 7, 2013 11:21 AM

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

                    1. re: AubWah
                      mitchleeny RE: AubWah Dec 7, 2013 11:39 AM

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

                      1. re: mitchleeny
                        c oliver RE: mitchleeny Dec 7, 2013 11:46 AM

                        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
                          swannee RE: c oliver Dec 7, 2013 12:52 PM

                          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
                            Chandavkl RE: swannee Dec 8, 2013 08:52 PM

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

                        2. re: mitchleeny
                          ipsedixit RE: mitchleeny Dec 7, 2013 06:42 PM

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

                          No. Vancouver.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            mitchleeny RE: ipsedixit Dec 8, 2013 07:41 AM

                            Where should we head to eat Canadian food?

                            1. re: mitchleeny
                              Biggmouth RE: mitchleeny Dec 8, 2013 07:46 AM

                              Do you mean Chinese food in Canada or Canadian cuisine?

                              1. re: mitchleeny
                                ipsedixit RE: mitchleeny Dec 8, 2013 10:54 AM

                                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
                                  mitchleeny RE: ipsedixit Dec 11, 2013 09:18 AM

                                  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
                                    ipsedixit RE: mitchleeny Dec 11, 2013 10:07 AM

                                    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
                                      c oliver RE: ipsedixit Dec 11, 2013 01:40 PM

                                      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
                                        ipsedixit RE: c oliver Dec 11, 2013 03:06 PM

                                        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
                                        mitchleeny RE: ipsedixit Dec 11, 2013 02:04 PM

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

                                        1. re: mitchleeny
                                          ipsedixit RE: mitchleeny Dec 11, 2013 03:02 PM

                                          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
                                            MVNYC RE: ipsedixit Dec 11, 2013 05:27 PM

                                            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
                                              mitchleeny RE: MVNYC Dec 11, 2013 05:49 PM

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

                                              1. re: mitchleeny
                                                diprey11 RE: mitchleeny Dec 11, 2013 06:39 PM

                                                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
                                              Humbucker RE: ipsedixit Dec 12, 2013 06:24 AM

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

                                              1. re: Humbucker
                                                ipsedixit RE: Humbucker Dec 12, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                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
                                    foodwhisperer RE: ipsedixit Dec 10, 2013 08:41 PM

                                    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
                                      ipsedixit RE: foodwhisperer Dec 10, 2013 08:53 PM

                                      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
                                        foodwhisperer RE: ipsedixit Dec 10, 2013 09:32 PM

                                        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
                                          MVNYC RE: foodwhisperer Dec 12, 2013 04:55 PM

                                          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
                                          c oliver RE: ipsedixit Dec 11, 2013 08:11 AM

                                          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
                                            Chandavkl RE: c oliver Dec 11, 2013 08:11 PM

                                            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
                                              c oliver RE: Chandavkl Dec 11, 2013 08:14 PM

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

                                              1. re: Chandavkl
                                                MVNYC RE: Chandavkl Dec 12, 2013 02:40 AM

                                                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
                                                  swannee RE: MVNYC Dec 12, 2013 05:41 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Chandavkl RE: MVNYC Dec 12, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                    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
                                                      MVNYC RE: Chandavkl Dec 12, 2013 04:55 PM

                                                      Very technically it's all opinion.

                                                      1. re: MVNYC
                                                        Chandavkl RE: MVNYC Dec 12, 2013 08:57 PM

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


                                                        1. re: Chandavkl
                                                          c oliver RE: Chandavkl Dec 12, 2013 09:03 PM

                                                          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
                                          Chandavkl RE: mitchleeny Dec 8, 2013 08:51 PM

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

                                          1. re: mitchleeny
                                            squid kun RE: mitchleeny Dec 12, 2013 12:34 AM

                                            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
                                              diprey11 RE: squid kun Dec 12, 2013 07:26 AM

                                              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
                                                c oliver RE: diprey11 Dec 12, 2013 08:13 AM

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

                                              2. re: squid kun
                                                c oliver RE: squid kun Dec 12, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                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
                                              diprey11 RE: AubWah Dec 7, 2013 03:07 PM

                                              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
                                              RogueFoodie RE: Biggmouth Dec 11, 2013 03:35 PM

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

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