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Flushing Dim Sum: Menus instead of carts

Gonna be in Flushing this weekend and would like to have some dim sum

Here's the problem:

1) We aren't novices, but we are far from experts
2) Language is a huge barrier....we speak zero Chinese and we don't know the correct Chines name for many items

3) And the clincher: one in our group has a shellfish allergy

So, while we are somewhat adventurous, not being 100% sure what we are ordering/eating isn't an option.

In consideration of the allergy, we would feel a lot more comfortable ordering from a menu as opposed to choosing off the carts.

I know dim sum spots with menus instead of carts exist in Manhattan's Chinatown.......how about in Flushing?

Thanks!

(we know the "best" dim sum comes from a cart.....but as long as it is good, we are willing to pass up the "best")

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  1. Actually I think the best dim sum (at least on the Left Coast) comes from menus cause it's cooked to order. The shellfish allergy thing came up on a recent thread (SF maybe?) and the solid opinion was don't do it! Chinese food in general and dim sum in particular can 'hide' shrimp in more ways than you can shake a stick at. Especially if there's a language barrier. There's not going to be a single way to determine if something does or doesn't have shrimp in it. If you ask and they don't understand, then you can have an emergency on your hands. Soooo, not a regional board answer but my two cents.

    1. Go to Good Kitchen it is carts but all the staff speak English especially the managers, who will be highly attentive to your needs and more than happy to assist you. I assure you not speaking Chinese is no barrier, shellfish is easily avoided. The food and ambiance will whisk you away to Hong Kong Island, or perhaps the glitzy lights of the Las Vegas strip, and they have a free parking lot

      1 Reply
      1. re: AubWah

        Sorry but shellfish is hard to avoid. Dried shrimp 'hides' in many Chinese dishes that you wouldn't suspect. This gets discussed periodically and the consensus is it's just not safe.

      2. My advice: go to one of the dim sum parlors that have carts. Seat yourself next to the aisle the carts are passing through. Look at the items the women (why, women only, but that's a different issue) are selling from the carts up close.
        See whether they are appealing visually to you and then make your choices.
        This seems preferable than looking at a menu where you don't know what you're getting.

        1. The only restaurant in Flushing I know of that served dim sum off a menu was Mulan and they discontinued their dim sum service last year.

          Other than that, the dim sum in Flushing is served in carts. If you have a dumpling craving, you might want to go to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao or Biang, both restaurants have a variety of small eats that may not be as varied as a Cantonese dim sum restaurant but will offer you the ability to navigate the menu more confidently since you'll know what you're getting.

          Lastly, wait times for dim sum on the weekends are really long... be prepared.

          1. Can think of a few selections at every dim sum parlor where shellfish wouldn't pose an issue...rice noodles with meat (?beef?), char siu bao, sesame balls with bean paste center, beef balls, small plates of sauteed green vegetables.

            Try to avoid the added sprinkled-over sauces.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Mike R.

              As an example Andrea Nguyen s recipe for char siu has dried shrimp in it. It's not uncommon.

              1. re: c oliver

                I don't recall dried shrimp in hers, but oyster sauce is another problem.

                1. re: saria

                  I found it this morning but can't now :) But one of the recipes had a couple of teaspoons of dried shrimp. I also remember going for dim sum a couple of years ago with a vegan friend. We had THE most wonderful eggplant dish...only to find out later that what made it as wonderful was the shrimp paste.

                  While this post was regarding soy, it painted a good picture I thought:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9679...

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I dont think the shellfish allergy concerns argues for menu over cart since no menu will list all ingredients and the eater is thrown onto his or her own knowledge and judgment and that of the servers. Questions will be key, what is the sauce, etc. Even places with carts will have menus from which extra dishes can be selected, noodles, vegetables etc.

                    In my opinion someone with an acute seafood allergy will need to exercise extreme caution in any chinese restaurant, dim sum or no.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      I agree that menu or cart is going to make no difference. Well, except I generally find the ladies who bring the carts around speak the least English of the staff. I further agree that Chinese restaurants can be a real minefield for seafood allergies.