Maybe you associate dim sum with dumplings. You’re not wrong. But dim sum isn’t just a dish—it’s a whole category of dining experience that might include custardy tarts, meat-filled fritters, fluffy buns, and packets of sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. The term dim sum roughly translates to “warming the heart,” and if these delicious little plates of food don't have that effect on you, you either need to see a doctor or you might be The Grinch. Miami doesn’t have the dim sum options of a city like New York or San Francisco, but there are some great places where you can pick your food right off a steaming push cart, order from an all-day à la carte menu, or get take-out dim sum for those days when you simply need dumplings in bed. You’ll find all those options and more below.
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Kon Chau is a great Chinese restaurant just off Bird Road, and one of the best dim sum options in Miami. They serve dim sum all day, so you don’t have to set an alarm clock or risk missing out. There are over 70 options to choose from here, and we’ve yet to try one we didn’t thoroughly enjoy. The dumplings are all great, especially the green tea mushroom dumplings, which have a subtle green tea flavor. The steamed roast pork buns are an essential order, too. Plus, Kon Chau is also in the same shopping complex as Lucky Oriental Mart, a little Chinese grocery store where you can buy some frozen dumplings to store in your own freezer.
Tropical Chinese is another classic Miami dim sum spot, and it’s just a couple blocks away from Kon Chau. Although locals have heated opinions on the matter, we really think the dim sum at Tropical Chinese and Kon Chau is neck and neck in terms of flavor. The big difference is that Tropical Chinese is a more energetic dining experience, with its bright, colorful, busy dining room and dim sum carts weaving around the tables. There can also be a wait during the weekends, and dim sum hours are slightly more limited: Monday through Saturday from 11:30am-3:30pm and Sunday from 10:30am-3:30pm.
163rd is a street known for having Miami’s best Chinese food, and one of the street’s best options is Sang’s. They offer dim sum every day from 11am-4pm, and it’s casual enough for a solo lunch but there are also round tables perfect for big groups who want to split the entire menu. The siu mai are a must—plump and meaty with paper-thin skins and topped with little dollops of crab roe. The Chinese eggplant stuffed with minced shrimp is also a winner with its contrasting textures of springy shrimp and silky eggplant. If you’re bringing along someone who’s not in the mood for dim sum, Sang’s also does great Cantonese and Chinese-American dishes, and their version of General Tso’s chicken (which they call General Cheng’s) is a sticky, sweet, crunchy masterpiece.
South Garden Chinese Restaurant
This Kendall Cantonese restaurant serves dim sum every day from 11am to 3pm, but Sunday is the best day to come for the full push cart experience. The big dining room has a 3D wall installation of two phoenixes looking over the lacquered dark wooden tables, where you’ll see a mix of abuelitas who lunch and aunties meeting for a cup of tea, a few bao, and some gossip. South Garden serves great baked roast pork buns with a generous amount of char siu filling, along with solid fun gor, which features a smooth, chewy skin concealing a crunchy pork and vegetable filling. But do not leave here without getting an order of steamed lava buns filled with salted egg yolks. It strikes a perfect balance between savory and sweet.
For vegan dim sum in Miami, you’ve got exactly one option: Minty Z. Luckily the cute little Grove spot is a good option. This place serves an assortment of dumplings, bao buns, and other plant-based dishes like buckwheat scallion pancakes. But the must-order dish here is the carrot and black sesame bao, a pillowy soft bun that has a slightly nutty taste and walks the ideal line between sweet and savory. It's one of our favorite dim sum dishes in all of Miami—vegan or otherwise.
Canton Palace is a Chinese restaurant serving really good dim sum in Westchester. They've got a pretty minimal dining room with some big round tables perfect for all eight of your very hungry cousins. The vast dim sum selection includes classics like dumplings, pork buns, and rice noodle rolls. This is another all-day option, so if you wake up late, don't cry. It's available till they close—and they do takeout too.
Zitz Sum is a different sort of dim sum experience than the other places on this guide. There are usually a handful of rotating dim sum options on the menu—but each one is so delicious that you’ll have to fight the urge to storm into the kitchen and interrogate the chef. There are numbing pork potstickers, crispy-bottomed sheng jian bao, and plump chicken wontons floating in a brodo so good you’ll be slightly angry when it’s gone. Zitz Sum is certainly a more upscale (and expensive) dim sum experience than most places, but it’s also easily one of Miami’s very best restaurants.
As you have probably noticed by now, there really aren’t a ton of dim sum options within the City of Miami. That’s one reason why Foodies, a casual spot on the northern edge of Downtown, should be on your radar. Another reason is that the food is good. They not only offer a selection of dim sum dishes like dumplings, pork buns, and beancurd skin roll—but also have Szechuan dishes that are hard to find in Miami, period—like mapo tofu and Szechuan pepper soft shell crab. If you plan on ordering any of that (in addition to the good dumplings) don’t be shy about telling them you want it spicy. If your server senses any spice hesitation from you, you won’t get that numbing tingle one expects from a proper Szechuan dish.