WORLD TONG SEAFOOD
6202 18th Ave, Brooklyn
Best Dim Sum in Brooklyn
Dim sum lovers were delighted to see an authentic Hong Kong-style dim sum house open up in Brooklyn. They were even more delighted to learn that the quality of the food surpasses most places in Chinatown and Flushing. And the tastefully appointed interior provides a relaxing setting for a leisurely meal, even when it's filled to capacity, mostly with Chinese families from the Bensonhurst area. The most popular items include bean-curd rolls filled with vegetables, shrimp dumplings, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, shrimp cheung fun and chicken and peanut rice rolls. The prices aren't the lowest but quite reasonable given the quality of the food and the ambience.
136-28 39th Ave, Flushing, Queens
Best Big Dim Sum Palace in Flushing
As in the L.A. and San Francisco Bay areas, the dim sum action is shifting away from downtown Chinatown and toward the suburbs where most middle-class Asian families live. Gum Fung is the best known of the growing number of dim sum places in and around Flushing. Traditional Cantonese-style fried dumplings of all kinds, as well as buns and the usual assortment of exotic delicacies like chicken feet, pork tripe, shark fin are served to healthy crowds from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Prices are reasonable, with most dishes ranging between $1.95 and $3.50. The exterior is grade-school gaudy, but the interior ambience is tasteful enough to host celebrations and even formal functions.
20 Mott St, Manhattan Chinatown
Best Dim Sum Experience in Manhattan Chinatown
Despite it's tacky name Sweet-n-Tart may be the most pleasant dim sum experience in New York for three reasons: it serves dim sum until late evening so you don't have to get up early on weekends, you order off a menu, and you get to pick from three levels of dining rooms. Thanks to menu ordering, the majority of us who don't want to contend with confusion over those exotic seafood dishes can rest assured of getting precisely what we want fresh out of the kitchen. Cantonese-style seafood items like fried shrimp in mango sauce and seafood dumplings are supplemented by crowd-pleasers like shu mai, scallion pancakes, and asparagus dumplings. Desserts like sweet buns, ice cream and boba tea help make Sweet-n-Tart a satisfying dim sum outing.
20 Elizabeth St., Manhattan Chinatown
Busiest Chinatown Dim Sum
The chaotic energy and seemingly infinite possibilities of dim sum as a dining form are very much the central attractions of one of New York's busiest dim sum palaces. The armada of carts are pushed by aggressive ladies who will put as many dishes on your table as you fail to keep away. You won't find too many novel delicacies but an abundant selection of hot and fresh standards like har gow, shiu mai, cha shiu bao, chicken feet, and egg tarts. When the right carts fail to present themselves, Jin Fong is informal enough to let diners chase the carts with tally sheets in hand. Novices finicky about what they eat will find the place daunting because it's next to impossible to tell what's inside many of these rolls and dumplings. In typical Cantonese fashion there is no compunction about mixing shrimp with pork or chicken. Not recommended for vegetarians or seafood haters.
46 Bowery, Manhattan Chinatown
Best Steamed Dumplings in Chinatown
Many small factors add up to make HSF a perennial Chinatown favorite. You don't have to worry about being late because dim sum is served until 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Its selection of mostly steamed dumplings and buns, fragrant with fresh chives, is a relief from the oily fried dumplings that are the mainstays at most dim sum places. And it's nice to be able to augment a dim sum feast with dishes like sauteed scallops, shrimp rice noodles and even fresh lobster. But HSF's popularity also means sacrifices, like being called on frequently to share a table with strangers, or having to wait too long for items like Chinese broccoli or turnip cakes.
GOLDEN POND SEAFOOD
113-15 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, Queens
Best Dim Sum in Forest Hills
If you hate navigating the congestion of Manhattan's Chinatown or even central Flushing, Golden Pond in Forest Hills is your cup of yum cha. The steamed dumplings and the exceptionally flaky curry and barbecue pork buns are outstanding. The leek buns and turnip cakes aren't bad either. The hardcore will also enjoy the shark-fin dumplings in soup and braised duck feet. An extensive selection of soups and entrees are also available, as is the full lineup of dim sum desserts like egg tarts, fried sesame seed balls, bean curd buns and sweet puddings. It gets crowded weekends and dim sum ends at 3 p.m., so best to arrive by noonish.
EAST LAKE DIM SUM
42-33 Main St, Flushing, Queens
Best Economical Dim Sum in Flushing
If you consider a bit of a jostle for parking and a half hour wait to be de rigueur for good cheap dim sum, this is your kind of place. East Lake is the stereotypical dim sum place, with fresh seafood tanks lining the walls and carts squeezing between noisy crowded tables. But when you check out the prices on the well-translated menus, it all seems worthwhile. Popular items like fried taro dumplings (those delicously fuzzy fried oil balls, not to be confused with those weird minced taro cakes embedded with itty bitty pieces of meat and seafood), pan-fried turnip cakes, green leek fried dumplings, steamed vegetable buns and steamed bean buns only run $1.95 to $2.25. For a little more you can also get elaborate entrees like steamed spare ribs with X.O. sauce, baked lobster with garlic sauce or scallops in black pepper sauce.
5 Mott St, Manhattan Chinatown
Most Creative Vegetarian Dim Sum
This delightful dim sum palace may be the surest sign that dim sum has arrived. Not only do the offerings satisfy strict vegetarians and orthodox Jews seeking a safe change of pace but also demanding Chinese professionals willing to pay more for healthful fare so long as it's as tasty as traditional dim sum. First-time diners will need several mid-meal reassurances that, indeed, all these dishes are crafted with nothing but soy, wheat gluten and other vegetable matter — even the barbecue pork, general tso's chicken and all those shrimp-like bits inside the dumplings and har gow! It's an ideal place for dim sum lovers who aren't overly demanding about ambience and would rather not have to worry about odd bits of seafood being snuck into their dumplings and rolls.
21 Mott St, Manhattan Chinatown
Best Cheap Seafood Dim Sum in Chinatown
If tasty seafood dim sum and saving money are more important than atmospherics, you will be deeply impressed by Hop Kee. It's renowned for delicious lobster, crab, squid and shrimp, but also serves up excellent porkchops, sweet and sour pork and Cantonese soups. The bare walls, funky bathroom and offbeat location don't dampen the enthusiasm of the youngish crowds that stream in from morning until nearly midnight.
VEGETARIAN DIM SUM HOUSE
24 Pell Street, Manhattan Chinatown
Most Popular Vegetarian Dim Sum Feast
Dim sum lovers who are vegetarian (or just squeamish about the ideas of mixing sea critters with land animals) — but want the variety of traditional dim sum — will love this place. Every standard dim sum dish is skillfully replicated using soy protein, roots and other vegetarian ingredients. The mock pork, chicken and beef are so realistically textured that real vegetarians may feel squeamish anyway. Vegetarian Dim Sum House also serves freshly-squeezed juices. Considering that the prices are low enough to let small groups enjoy full meals for $12-15 per person, the ambience is surprisingly pleasant.