In Asia, dim sum is a way of life. It’s part brunch, part bloodsport, part cultural experience, and all delicious. Thankfully here in the good ol’ US of A nearly every major US city has legit dim sum available to you at almost any time of day. Depending on where you live, it might take some digging and research but we promise you, it’s worth it. Go in with an open mind and a big appetite because every spot offers a massive spread and all manner of delicious things. To kick start your dim sum quest, we’re setting you up with our favorite dim sum spots across the country. Happy eating gents...
NEW YORK CITY
Jade Asian - Sure, Queens is a hike, but once you make it out there you’ll realize that it’s the closest you’ll come to taking a trip to Asia. Jade Asian’s massive dining hall gives you a truly authentic experience and the food is equally impressive. All the classics are great; the pork buns and shrimp dumplings are especially delicious, and the Zhaliang (fried, noodle-wrapped crullers) are can’t miss items. Don’t skip dessert, the wide variety of exotic and tasty sweets and cakes are impressive as well.
Red Farm - Featuring the cooking of dim sum master Joe Ng, Red Farm is a definitely not a traditional experience. By combining traditional dim sum recipes and dishes with a farm-to-table approach, the restaurant has created an incredibly delicious new take on beloved dim sum heavy hitters. A hip, welcoming space, outdoor seating, and terrific drinks don’t hurt either.
Winsor Dim Sum Cafe - A local legend and always packed, you’ll see why once you sink your teeth into their incredibly flavorful dim sum classics. Anything with pork is going to blow your mind and the xiao long bao (soup dumplings) will make you wonder why you don’t eat soup dumplings every day.
MingHin Cuisine - This Chinatown essential has the go-to dishes nailed; shrimp dumplings and beef meatballs are both outstanding. But don’t overlook some of the more traditional offerings like Cantonese-style roasted meats (the pork belly is like candy) and the congee (rice porridge) that’s like getting a warm hug from the Chinese grandmother you never knew you had.
Cai - A classic dim sum experience, Cai’s specialties include all manner of dumplings and a delicious version of spare ribs. Fried items, their rolls in particular, definitely deserve your attention as well. Cai is run like a well-oiled machine so the quick service makes it an ideal lunchtime spot.
Oriental East - It’s a ways out and the lines can be long, but your courage and fortitude will be rewarded at this mouth-watering D.C spot. Their har gow (shrimp dumplings) and roast pork are the stuff dreams are made of, but make sure to leave room for dessert because their Hong Kong-style egg custard tarts are truly phenomenal.
Ping Pong - Don’t let the name fool you, dim sum is not a game at Ping Pong. This hip locale combines traditional dim sum dishes with modern techniques to create a great mash-up of flavors. Classics are well represented and interesting varieties of dumpling preparations and vegetarian dishes set it apart from the rest.
Sea Harbour Restaurant - An old standby for many, Sea Harbour has been tantalizing taste buds since 2002. Located at ground zero for incredible Chinese food in LA, the San Gabriel Valley, you can be sure that you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to Hong Kong. You pretty much can’t go wrong with anything on their menu, but we particularly love the seafood dishes like whole fish, baked barbecue pork buns and taro cakes. Pro tip - try and get their early around 10:30 to avoid long lines.
Bao Dim Sum House - If you’re not able to make the trek out to San Gabriel Valley, fear not, you can satisfy your dim sum craving at Bao Dim Sum House. It’s loungey and low-lit atmosphere make for a unique, but authentic dining experience. Try one of their inventive cocktails while you savor some of our favorites like the juicy pork dumplings and any type of, obviously, bun. And of course, if there’s room for dessert, the milky bun.
Yank Sing - Located in the heart of the FiDi/Embarcadero, this San Francisco institution is swarming with people at pretty much any given time of the day (a great sign). The good thing is, you can reserve a table, which is basically unheard of at dim sum restaurants. Prepare yourself for the carts racing by your table, it gets real up in here, so be prepared for battle. The noodle dishes are legit and don’t forget to try the mushroom dumplings and shanghai-style soup dumplings.
Good Mong Kok Bakery - If you can survive the out-the-door wait, it’s totally worth it. This isn’t your typical sit-down dim sum spot though, you wait in line, order what you want and walk out with your food in small, clear bags with a fork and a few napkins. Post up on a bench and start out with the chive dumplings, they’re huge and delicious, then the steamed pork buns. They’re known for these bad boys so don’t even consider walking out without one. Finally, the pièce de résistance, the melt-in-your-mouth char siu baos. Boom, mind blown.
J.S. Chen’s Dimsum and BBQ - Located in Plano, just outside of Dallas, this brightly lit banquet room is where families gather on the weekends for a traditional dim sum meal. Plus, the traditional hanging Peking ducks in the window definitely tout its legitimacy. It’s easy to over-order as the carts cruise by, so start slow and go for the classics - har gow and shu mai. Once you’ve filled your belly with that shrimpy goodness, grab some barbecue pork rolls. It is Texas after all, right?
Arco Seafood - If you can’t tell by the name, seafood is the name of the game at this Houston spot. Made-daily shrimp items are obviously a must order but don’t ignore the buns and pan-fried turnip cakes as well.
Kon Chau Restaurant - Kon Chau is what some might call a hole-in-the-wall destination, so don’t bring a date, unless you know for a fact they’re a bona fide aficionado. For us though, that’s one of the many things that make this spot great for a quick fix. Menu highlights include the green tea duck dumplings, fried shrimp balls and roast pork buns.
We don’t know about you, but we’re ready to eat. Pass the chicken feet.