Joy Luck Palace is a new dim sum mega-hall in Chinatown that took over the space from older dim sum mega-halls Grand Harmony and 98 Crystal Palace.
In classic dim sum style, carts are pushed around the restaurant offering delicious bites of dumplings. Confusing wafts of hot sterno and crystal shrimp shumai overwhelm you when you enter the large space. But soon, your nose settles in and your stomach takes over.
There really isn’t a bad item here. There are just some that are way more successful than others. Some seem like they are purely for affectation or Instagram fodder, while others are truly inspired culinary genius. In addition to those fun items, there are plenty of tried and true dim sum classics. And everything is cheap!
Since we came here with a big group of food bloggers and high-traction Instagrammers, we were able to sample almost every item on the dim sum menu. As such, I’m going to hit you with a photo-dump style review, where I highlight my favorites here and there with extra words other than the identity of the dish. I will say that this is one of the better dim sum joints I have been to, so I definitely recommend giving it a try.
Shrimp and pork:
Stewed pork meat:
Sticky sweet rice inside these leaves:
Beef rolled up in wide, flat noodles:
Same thing with shrimp here – both were good:
Another shot of the shrimp and pork:
One of my favorites is next: a fried pastry cruller wrapped in a wide rice noodle and then topped with soy dumpling sauce, green onion and cilantro. The play of different textures here was awesome.
These doughy pig buns are deceiving. They look like they might be porky and savory, but they were very sweet with an egg filling; more like a dessert. Very nice for Instagram posting.
That was a kiss of death:
Savory yet sweet pork bun:
There’s BBQ pork inside this flaky dough:
Assorted shrimp dim sum:
I’m a huge fan of tofu skin. Below is tofu skin wrapped around chicken. Very nice as well.
Assorted shrimp dim sum:
Dim sum for days:
The tripe was a bit rubbery for my liking:
Savory filling inside this noodle nest:
These had a savory filling inside as well, not the expected sweet red bean paste that you often see in Asian pastry shops and bakeries. The outside “shell” is more like that gummy rice flour dough:
This noodle dish just needed a bit more salt, otherwise the texture and flavors were great:
Another favorite here. This is called “Buddhist’s Paradise.” Inside the noodle wrapper is a fried vegetable spring roll. Another awesome texture combination with winning flavors.
Another home run was this shrimp roll. Chopped shrimp, shrimp paste “sausage” and veggies are wrapped up in tofu skin and then fried. At first I thought the tofu skin might have been an egg pancake or crepe, but I was mistaken. Absolutely awesome.
More Instagram fodder here. This carrot-shaped cake/bun is filled with a sweet mashed taro or lotus root type of filling. The outside “shell” is more that same gummy rice flour dough I mentioned in another dish above. But perhaps a savory rabbit meat filling would be a nicer play instead?
Here’s that carrot with The Hungry Rabbit in the background:
These short ribs were a bit too chewy/fatty and lacked a grilled or charred flavor, but the sauce and meaty bits were actually pretty tasty. A slight tweak here and there would make them great:
Shrimp ball ala Trump toupee noodle nest:
Deep fried bacon wrapped around a shrimp ball with mayo? SURE! These were excellent with chili oil too, instead of the mayo:
Egg custard tarts:
Durian fruit pastries:
So I think that’s a good guide to this joint. If you stick with the basics, and try a few flourishes that I highlighted here and there, with any LUCK you will come away overJOYed… KNEESLAP!
JOY LUCK PALACE
98 Mott St
New York, NY 10013