The Best Dim Sum Restaurants In NYC
photo credit: Jing Fong
Dim sum is just as much of a NYC tradition as bagels and BECs. There are a lot of worthwhile options across the city, many of which are massive Cantonese banquet halls where you can supplement your taro dumplings and turnip cakes with family-style dishes. Whether you want to eat top-tier chicken feet in Flushing, have some sticky roast pork and beef tendon in Sunset Park, or enjoy a round of flawless xiao long bao at a Shanghainese spot in Bensonhurst, here’s where to go.
At Mr. Bun in Bensonhurst’s Chinatown, you can get dim sum and Shanghainese cold dishes at any time of day. This is especially appreciated on weekends, when we don’t get up early enough to avoid the hours-long wait at the popular banquet halls filled with roving carts around the city. Come here for sticky rice shu mai, perfect xiao long bao, and pan-fried juicy buns that are ASMR-level crispy on the bottom. With anime-style wall decals and a high-energy playlist, Mr. Bun is a great casual spot to grab dim sum if there are kids or teens in your group.
Asian Jewels in Flushing does just about everything at a high level. This expansive Cantonese restaurant is equal parts sleek and spacious—kind of like an upscale conference center—and it has an abundance of carts, which circulate quickly with a huge variety of dim sum. Expect everything from durian puffs and multiple kinds of tripe to sausage buns and soup dumplings. Those soup dumplings are, admittedly, not the most exciting—but the beef ribs are nice and peppery, and the chicken feet are near perfect, with a nice balance of sweet and savory.
Don’t weep for the old Jing Fong. Or at least don’t spend too much time doing so. Sure, you might miss the long escalators at the old space on Elizabeth Street, but the relocated version north of Canal is just as worthwhile—and maybe even better. Get some egg tarts and chicken feet, and don’t miss out on the fried turnip cakes. Jing Fong’s dim sum always tastes like it just arrived from the kitchen, and they also serve worthwhile non-dim sum dishes, including some of the crispiest roast duck in Chinatown. Unfortunately, everyone seems to know about Jing Fong. Either stop by on a weekday, or prepare yourself for an hour-long wait.
Sunset Park has nearly as many dim sum spots as Manhattan’s Chinatown, and most of them could have made this list. But if you want our all-around top choice, head to East Harbor Seafood Palace. On weekend afternoons, the bustling space feels like a neighborhood clubhouse, with TVs, chandeliers, and servers efficiently zipping around with carts of rice rolls and pork buns. They serve a good variety of dishes, and the standouts include beef tendon and crispy taro pork dumplings. Despite the fact that you’ll inevitably have to wait 30 minutes to get seated, East Harbor Seafood Palace should be one of your go-to spots for a casual group outing.
Did you recently get married or earn a degree in something? If so, have a celebratory brunch at Golden Unicorn. For special-occasion dim sum, this classic bi-level Chinatown spot is our top pick. The fancy curtains and colorful mood lighting make Golden Unicorn feel fun and festive, and the pig-shaped custard buns are both adorable and delicious. Get an order of those, and don’t skip the leek dumplings, crispy turnip cakes, or spare ribs in black bean sauce. Golden Unicorn also serves dim sum at dinner, so stop by then if you want to avoid the crowds.
Royal Seafood is a big restaurant—but it isn’t especially large for a dim sum parlor. Consequently, the tables are pretty close together, and you sometimes have to walk over to a cart and tell a server what you want. That might sound annoying, but it’s actually kind of charming. It helps that the dim sum here is some of the freshest in the neighborhood, constantly arriving in batches from a dumbwaiter near the entrance. We especially like the silky har gow and well-seasoned chicken feet, and we appreciate that it’s never too hard to get a table here. There might be a short wait on weekends, but it won’t be as intimidating as the one at Jing Fong or House of Joy.
The shu mai and har gow at this Sunset Park institution are great. In fact, all of the dim sum here tastes like it received a little extra attention in the kitchen, the seafood items in particular. But that’s not why Bamboo Garden is one of our favorite places for a daytime meal. We keep coming back for the roasted meats, which you’ll see on display near the windows up front. Be sure to get a plate of the juicy, caramelized roast pork for everyone to share. With its shimmering ceilings that feature enough glass fish to populate an ocean, this place feels just a little bit fancy, so it’s a good choice for when you need to impress some folks (your in-laws, say).
Tim Ho Wan is a modern, upscale dim sum chain from Hong Kong with two NYC locations—one in Hell’s Kitchen, and one in the East Village. We think the East Village spot has slightly better food, but there’s almost never a wait at the Hell’s Kitchen location, so pick based on what's more important to you. The selection at both is slightly more limited than what you'll find at other spots on this guide, but there's still plenty to choose from. Try the tiny baked pork buns with a crackly, sweet topping, and get the deep-fried eggplant stuffed with shrimp and lava custard sesame balls. Circle your order on a slip of paper, order a pot of tea, and settle in for a few rounds of food.