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.
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Best dim sum in NYC
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 in New York. At the East Village outpost, the chain’s first in America, diners can find standbys like those baked BBQ pork buns, pan-fried turnip cakes and steamed rice rolls.
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 the farm-to-table twists on traditional bites, like Katz's Pastrami Egg Roll.
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.
Most restaurants don’t list Seasoned Soy Sauce Duck Tongue among their usual brunch repertoire. Tuck into some unusual dim sum in Sunset Park. With more than 150 menu items, there’s a body part for everyone. Takeout is also available in case you want some of that sea cucumber and fish maw on the run.
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. Sampler platters offer one-of-each selections for those who can’t choose (or aren’t sure how to).
In the dark dining room, European tourists on the hunt for Chinese food on Mott Street tightly hug tables next to fine-fare-seeking regulars and sample staples like pork shumai. For a bit more flair, order the unabashedly hot chili peppers (jian niang qing jiao). The pan-fried water-chestnut cake (ma tai gou) is a lightly sweet refresher, with cool, crisp chunks of the star ingredient.
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 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 of flour dumplings stuffed with pork, peanuts and mushrooms and braised bean-curd-skin rolls with a thick coating of sweetened soy sauce.
The London flagship of this luxe Cantonese chain, which includes seven locations worldwide, was the first Chinese restaurant to achieve Michelin-star status. At this 11,000-square-foot outpost, diners can find the original's signature plates, like cripsy silver cod and stir-fry black-pepper rib eye with merlot.
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 under $7.