Tag Archives: dim sum

Tim Ho Wan

Michelin star winning dim sum joint Tim Ho Wan opened up a second NYC location in Hell’s Kitchen last week, and my wife and I gave it a shot for her sister’s birthday. I found the experience to be pretty standard, to be honest. They’re known for their pork buns, which are very good by all objective measures, but not really my thing. Too sweet. Here’s a photo dump of all the stuff we had. My favorites were the fried milk sticks (dessert) and the rice roll wraps.

TIM HO WAN
610 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Joy Luck Palace

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.

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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.

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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:

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Stewed pork meat:

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Sticky sweet rice inside these leaves:

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Veggie dumplings:

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Beef rolled up in wide, flat noodles:

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Same thing with shrimp here – both were good:

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Another shot of the shrimp and pork:

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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.

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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.

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That was a kiss of death:

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Savory yet sweet pork bun:

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There’s BBQ pork inside this flaky dough:

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Assorted shrimp dim sum:

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I’m a huge fan of tofu skin. Below is tofu skin wrapped around chicken. Very nice as well.

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Assorted shrimp dim sum:

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Beef meatballs:

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Dim sum for days:

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The tripe was a bit rubbery for my liking:

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Savory filling inside this noodle nest:

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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:

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This noodle dish just needed a bit more salt, otherwise the texture and flavors were great:

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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.

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Veggie dumplings:

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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.

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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?

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Here’s that carrot with The Hungry Rabbit in the background:

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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:

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Shrimp ball ala Trump toupee noodle nest:

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Curried cuttlefish:

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Deep fried bacon wrapped around a shrimp ball with mayo? SURE! These were excellent with chili oil too, instead of the mayo:

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Chicken feet:

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Egg custard tarts:

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Durian fruit pastries:

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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

Golden Unicorn

My wife picked up a Living Social deal for an eight course Peking duck dinner at Golden Unicorn, which is otherwise famous for its dim sum service. I was pretty impressed overall. But let me babble about a few other things first…

First off, I absolutely love this part of town. East Broadway and the surrounding side streets encircling the Manhattan Bridge still feel like old NYC. Not much has changed, save for a few new buildings poking up here and there. Walking around, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, possibly even into another country.

This area is the real deal Chinatown, unlike the tourist-laden, knock-off selling, shitty DVD purveying hustle on Canal street. Take a closer look in these parts, or allow a lingering eye to glance into some storefronts, and you’ll spy people working at a ground floor dumpling factory. You’ll see produce, dry goods and health products that most white people have no idea about, and you can’t even read the signs to get more info, because they’re all in Chinese. It has a busy, bustling vibe and I love it.

Okay on to the fucking food. First up was egg drop soup with chicken. This was pretty good, though I did have to add a little bit of hot sauce to punch it up slightly.

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Next were two types of dumplings: crystal shrimp and siu mai. Both were excellent. If you swing by this joint for dim sum, these are some of the delights you can enjoy from the carts. Both were packed with ingredients and nicely steamed.

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Then the spring rolls came out. They didn’t look like much, but they had great flavor. I was actually surprised, although they were a little bit too greasy on the shell.

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Our waitress then brought out the Peking duck. YES!

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She cut off a good deal of the crispy skin and more generous portions of meat, and, with that, assembled six steamed buns for us, accompanied by hoisin sauce, scallion and cucumber. They were awesome. Crispy, fatty, juicy… all around excellent.

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The rest of the duck was chopped up for us and served on a plate:

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The meal kept on trucking along with this ginger beef and broccoli dish. The ginger was fresh and sliced thin. The beef was tender and flavorful. I think it was a mix of flank and rib eye. And the broccoli was steamed in the sauce, so it tasted awesome.

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There was also some fried rice with shrimp, roast pork, ham, peas, onion and egg. We were really too full to dig into this too far.

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At the end of the meal, some honeydew and orange arrived at the table. A nice, refreshing, smiley-face looking end to the meal.

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Excellent deal. Jump on it if you see another Living Social or Groupon offering for this place. And definitely check out their dim sum on the weekend for lunch.

GOLDEN UNICORN
18 E. Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Radiance Tea House & Books

Me, my wife and her cousin came in here for a quick lunch that ended up being a pretty big, delicious meal. Check out all the shit we ate. I pretty much liked every bit of it, but the least favorites were the chicken rolls, egg custard had the BBQ pork bun.

The ladies had lemongrass mint tea. I smelled the lemongrass, but in the sip I took it was only mint that I tasted, and very light in terms of flavor as well.

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This is silky tofu in chili oil. A very nice dish indeed, and good spice to it.

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These little fuckers are the pork soup dumplings. These were my favorite of all the dim sum, but you have to get on them quickly otherwise the liquids may leak out. But be careful: have it too soon and you will burn your mouth.

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These packets of yum are the chicken with wood ear mushroom dumplings. These were my least favorite of the dim sum, but they were my wife’s favorite.

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This was egg custard. The texture was nice, similar to a soft creme brûlée, but it needed just a bit more of the sauce on top to make it perfect.

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Crystal shrimp dumplings. These are always good when they’re done the right way. I liked them. Good snap texture, soft, flavorful and briny.

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The BBQ pork bun was a little lacking for me. Too much dough, and the meat was more like sloppy Joe mix to me.

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This was one of the stars. Pork belly steamed buns with cilantro, onion and tomato. Great flavorful bites, and the pork was nice without too much chew fat. Loved it.

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These are the curry chicken rolls. I liked them. The chicken is pounded flat and used as a wrapper to house the veggies inside. Maybe could have used a bit of salt. Otherwise I liked them. My wife wasn’t a fan, however.

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Ice cream with green tea drink. Simply and delicious.

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Assorted mochi: sesame, peanut, red bean, green tea, mango, and taro. My favorites were the peanut and red bean.

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Some of the decor: the place is a cross between a coffee shop, a restaurant and a book store. Neat little place. Glad we came.

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RADIANCE TEA HOUSE & BOOKS
158 W. 55th St.
New York, NY 10019