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The best dim sum in NYC

Gather a hungry crew to feast on dumplings, egg rolls and more at the best restaurants for dim sum in NYC

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

A by-product of traditional Chinese yum cha, or afternoon tea, New York’s best dim sum isn’t just a midday Chinese snack—it’s some of the best Chinese food in the city. From old-school Chinatown restaurants doling out soup dumplings to modern Chinese spots serving pastrami egg rolls, here are the best places to go dumpling-crazy for dim sum in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best dim sum in NYC

1

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Given Doyers Street’s notoriously grisly gang wars in the early 20th century, it’s a surprise that the original owners of Nom Wah decided to set up a dainty tea shop there in 1920, turning out reputation-making moon cakes. Today, the biggest fight on the block is the weekend wait for Nom Wah—now the oldest dim sum parlor in the city. The classics remain, alongside brunch mimosas and gluten-free options. The historic house specialty, almond cookies (xing ren bing), are as big as dinner plates. Roasted-pork buns (char siu bao) explode with shredded meat and caramelized onions. “The Original” egg roll (chun juan), is the size of a prizefighter’s meaty fist and comprised of a soft, eggy crêpe, stuffed with shredded chicken and mushroom.

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Chinatown
2

Tim Ho Wan

The Hong Kong–born dim sum parlor—notable not only for its exceptional pork buns but also for being the world’s most inexpensive Michelin-starred restaurant—is finally coming to New York. At the East Village outpost, the chain’s first in America (it has five locations in Hong Kong, along with offshoots across Asia and Australia), diners can find standbys like those baked BBQ pork buns, pan-fried turnip cakes and steamed rice rolls, as well as two location exclusives: a custard-filled French toast and deep-fried vegetable spring rolls. As is dim sum tradition, plates are ordered via forms left at the table, but alas, there are no roving carts here.

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Greenwich Village
3

Jade Asian

Jade Asian has been quietly setting itself apart from the Flushing competition since 2008, bypassing a gilded-banquet-hall crescendo for modern understatement. The food follows along these lines, with clean, well-crafted updates on the classics. Turnip cakes (jiang chao luo bo gao) are chopped into cubes and stir-fried with chilies, scallions and bacon, turning a typically bland side dish into a spicy, crispy update on home fries. Seafood-stuffed hot peppers (jian niang qing jiao) have a lighter filling that allows the lip-singeing chili heat to really zing. The barbecued-pork buns (char siu bao) are meatier than most, skipping a showy, overly saccharine sauce in favor of hearty chunks of grilled meat.

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Queens
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4

RedFarm

The appeal of this dim sum innovator doesn’t seem to have dulled since its smash opening in 2011. The hand of serial Chinese restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld is evident in the whitewashed and gingham-ed “urban barn” interior, which is neatly themed to complement chef Joe Ng’s farm-to-table twists on traditional bites. Try the Katz's Pastrami Egg Roll and the shrimp-and–snow-pea-leaf dumplings, embellished with black sesame “eyes” atop dabs of red sauce. The lobster version—decadently overstuffed and lounging on a bed of braised mushroom chunks—is also a delight.

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West Village
5

East Harbor Seafood Palace

The wait for a table can extend into hours at this Sunset Park hall, and once seated, it’s jostle or be jostled in the hangarlike dining room. Steamer carts move fast, and snap decisions usually result in fortuitous discoveries. Glutinous flour dumplings (chaozhou fun guo) stuffed with pork, peanuts and mushrooms have a sweet, nutty flavor. The braised bean-curd-skin rolls (pei guen) are drenched with a thick coating of sweetened soy sauce. Fresh noodle wraps (ji si fen juan) may have a precious presentation, but it’s worth using roughhouse tactics (if needed) to snag them off a cart.

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Dyker Heights
6

Pacificana

Fit for a blowout, Real Housewives–style wedding, this nouveau-rococo banquet hall, opened in 2006, is a testament to how far Sunset Park’s once-derelict Chinatown has come since it first started sending up shoots in the mid-’80s. For all of Pacificana’s showy decor, though, the local families filling the perpetually packed space are just there to kick back with old favorites. The menu largely sticks to comfort-food classics, like deep-fried pork dumplings. Crispy tofu-skin rolls stuffed with shrimp paste (fu pei guen) are a hungover bruncher’s dream: deep-fried on the outside, salty and succulent on the inside.

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Sunset Park
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7

Joe’s Shanghai

This Flushing mainstay is famed for its soup dumplings; each purse-shaped morsel contains a meatball surrounded by broth. An order of eight crab or pork dumplings is a steal at $5.

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Queens
8

Asian Jewels Seafood

A gilded and chandeliered palace, this Flushing staple is a proud prototype of dim sum grandeur, but when the crowds swell on weekend mornings, every available cranny (including some that possibly double as supply closets) is put to use. A contrast with the stuffy finery, the dumpling options trundling by on carts are refreshingly elemental. Shrimp dumplings—shaped to resemble little bunnies—are superb in their simplicity: translucent steamed wrappers bursting with thumb-size nuggets of unadorned prawn. Slow-braised chunks of eggplant (niang qiezi) are held together with crusted dollops of dense, briny seafood paste.

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Queens
9

Dim Sum Go Go

Having dropped into the midst of Chatham Square’s hustle in 2000, this mod spot is starting to show its age. But the streamlined selection of healthy, slightly Westernized dishes still reels in regulars and steamer-cart-phobic tourists. Prime examples of the house style are the pumpkin cakes (nan gua gao). Stuffed mushrooms (niang dong gu), an oft-overlooked dim sum classic, make a welcome appearance, their velvety caps topped with dabs of dense, shrimp-heavy seafood paste. Sampler platters offer one-of-each selections for those who can’t choose (or aren’t sure how to).

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Chinatown
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10

Dong Yi Feng

The name of this bi-level Flushing establishment roughly translates to “good kitchen.” Filling a gap in the market for slowpoke souls who can’t handle hard-nosed steamer hustling, things move at a sedate pace. Considered choices yield results like deep-fried crullers (zhaliang) packed with sautéed bean sprouts and carrots and wrapped in soft rice noodles. Chunks of daikon in the pan-fried leek dumplings (jiu cai bao) add an unusual crunch and radishy tang. Even the simple glutinous rice balls (jian dui), usually an afterthought, have extra-generous globs of nutty lotus-paste filling.

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Queens
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Comments

6 comments
Matthew E
Matthew E

Dim Sum Bar is a new place on the corner of Bedford and Metropolitan (Williamsburg) and it is phenomenal, I was surprised it didn't make the list. 

Null S
Null S

no Buddha Bodai?

Vegetarian, Kosher and good.

Load o
Load o

These lists are always full of shit.

Joris B
Joris B

After your raving, yes one could say drewling, review of Nom Wah Tea Parlor, we decided to have a look ourselves (we are tourists from the Netherlands and Italy). We had high hopes that this would be an incredible experience!


Unfortunately, when we arrived at the place, we were greeted by a grumpy mainland Chinese waitress who forcefully led us to a table to our liking. Then she proceeded to leave us sitting there without a menu for 10 minutes. After ordering some drinks, which took another 10 minutes to arrive, we ordered a sampler of dim sum and spring rolls.


The spring rolls were exploding with oil and one bite was enough to fill up our grease quota for the next week. The rest of the orders were chewy, tasteless and unimaginative (having lived in Hong Kong, we know what we are talking about). The service continued to be unresponsive and grumpy throughout the meal and only improved when it was time to pay the bill...


All in all, the worst dim sum I have ever had and most likely the worst service in a Chinese restaurant ever.


Why this restaurant is on top of your list I can only guess. Maybe the fact that there were NO Chinese visitors should have alerted us before entering...


Sorry...



Yum Y
Yum Y

@Joris B I am sorry that you were influenced by this list, the writer either does not know Chinese food and/or has bad taste.  Next time you're back in the US, try Hakkasan's dim sum, it's the best in NY.

Guest
Guest

You didn't include HAKKASAN? I'm Chinese and I know my dim sum. Oh well, more for me then.