Dim Sum Sundays

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Is there anything better than a no-holds-barred dim sum feast on a Sunday afternoon? If there is, I haven't come across it. 

I love everything about dim sum, from the steaming little parcels cradling all manners of culinary treasures to the aggressive little old ladies that throng around the carts, battling for the best stuff. That I am able to cure nasty Sunday hangovers with massive doses of har gow and chicken feet is a blessing from the Chinatown gods, and I have been wholeheartedly grateful on more than one occasion.

I've been told that it's just as good to give than to receive so I'm going share my favorites for others out there who share my penchant for medicating hangovers with dumplings. It would be great if you could share your favorite spots, too—particularly the New Yorkers who may know the boroughs better than I do. Because nobody wants to spelunk through the boroughs for food when you're already saddled with a hangover.

Some say that Dim Sum Go Go is too Westernized and pricier compared to other dim sum spots. But I like it. When you're having one of those mornings when you just want to plow through piles of shrimp dumplings without having to elbow a little old lady at the dim sum cart, this is the place to go. The biggest hurdle is getting seated as this is a popular spot, but once you're in, it's smooth sailing. Just tick your orders off on a paper menu, sip your jasmine tea, and appreciate how clean and modern the interiors are compared to some truly dodgy spots in Chinatown. In good time, a feast similar to the carnage displayed above will be delivered and you will enjoy it. I would recommend this as an entry point for those without too much dim sum knowledge—and to those who prefer their dumplings without the drama.

The Golden Unicorn is located at 5 East Broadway between Bowery and Catherine Street.

If you want dim sum just the way they have it in the Far East, the Golden Unicorn is your spot. This means stumbling upon odd Chinese medication promising "hard ten days" at an adjacent store while waiting for your table; getting chummy with complete strangers you'll have to share a table with if you're a party of 4 or less; and chasing the dim sum cart to get your share of har gow (that would be the lovely specimens of shrimp dumpling perfection pictured above right—and they are absolutely worth the chase). My last outing there was unfortunate as we were seated at the table farthest from the kitchen door. You don't want to be too far from the kitchen because by the time the dim sum cart gets to you, all the good stuff will be gone. As a result, we ended up getting just decently full and not I'm-so-stuffed-I-want-to-die full (which is obviously the goal). But what we did get to eat was absolutely delicious, and I intend to come back ready for dim sum cart battle the next time around.

The Golden Unicorn is located at 18 East Broadway (at Catherine Street).

I like to think of Royal Seafood Restaurant as one of those truly authentic dim sum spots in the city. So authentic that I once arrived to find my group of non-Chinese friends relegated to the basement floor, where one dourly remarked "they put the white folks." This didn't turn out to be such a bad thing as our very capable waiter delivered our har gow, siomai and salted fish fried rice in an expedient and beneficent manner. On another visit, a friend and I sat with the locals who, at first, were indifferent towards us. But when our order of a large steamed fish arrived, smiles erupted all around. Two tiny girls who can dig into a dim sum feast and thereafter order and devour this huge hunk of fish, they will welcome into their fold.

Royal Seafood Restaurant is located at 103 Mott Street between Hester Street and Canal Street.

Ping's Seafood is another go-to spot where succulent dumplings can be had without the dim sum cart chase. The dumplings are solid, and their pork spareribs remind me of the ones served in Manila. On my last visit, I thought they were a tad heavy handed on the salt and oil, but that could've just been me fumbling with the soy sauce in a hungover daze. Plus points for proximity to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Ping's Seafood is located at 22 Mott Street (at Mosco Street).

For extra credit: Get a scoop or two at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. My favorite flavors are black sesame and taro, but there's a wide range of choices ranging from plain vanilla to ginger. Palate cleansing, refreshing, and plain old delicious.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is located at 65 Bayard Street between Mott Street and Bowery.

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  1. No mention of dim sum in Flushing? My favorite is Asian Jewel.

    1. Thank you! I wrote this post hoping to get tips on the borough dim sum spots because I only know Manhattan spots. I will have to make a pilgrimage to Flushing, for sure!