Go ahead and ask a few of your more food savvy friends where to get the best dim sum in NYC, and you're likely to get a whole slew of different answers. You'll probably hear some combination of Golden Unicorn, Jing Fong, Dim Sum Go Go, and maybe even East Manor in Flushing, assuming you've got some real showoffs in your midst. Nom Wah Tea Parlor will surely come up too, as it should.
For the novice dim sum consumer ("that means dumplings, right?"), it can be really difficult to discern where to find the best Chinese meal of tiny portions in this town. We're certainly not experts, and after doing tons of research and surveying Twitter, we essentially ended up just flipping a coin. Luckily, the coin landed on Nom Wah Tea Parlor last weekend and we had a very successful meal. But there are definitely a few key parameters by which you should make your dim sum dining decisions. Let us explain why Nom Wah worked for us.
First of all, we were high on Nom Wah because we didn't feel like having to fight an angry lady with a pushcart to get some food. Dim sum traditionalists will tell you that this is all part of the experience, but as far as we're concerned, we'll take the food without the conflict. Everything at Nom Wah is made to order and delivered directly to your table. Second, the simple fact that this place has been operating since 1920 tells us that they're doing something right. The restaurant feels like a relic from a different era, and the food seems to have changed little as the decades have passed. And finally, the people who work in this place are actually friendly. We watched our waiter basically turn the other cheek as a party of 14 and their awful "five that thinks she's a nine" ringleader talked down to him for the entire meal. If it were us, we would have locked her up in the walk in before the egg rolls showed up.
Check the Food Rundown for details, but Nom Wah is very simply an excellent place to eat some good dim sum and have a little fun. Is it the best in the city? We'll leave that to the experts to decide. Hint: None of your friends are experts.
A favorite at Nom Wah, these rice rolls are basically delicate sheets of rice gluten drizzled in a sweet soy sauce. They're delicious, but you gotta make sure to get lots of that sauce on there.
A simple steamed shrimp dumpling. We liked these a lot, because the shrimp was not overcooked, and because four of them cost $3.75.
This OG egg roll is another Nom Wah specialty, and it's really good. I guess they're called egg rolls because they are supposed to have egg in them? Who knew? These are basically an egg crepe rolled in a home made batter, stuffed with chicken and mixed veggies and then fried. A must order.
OK so maybe everything here is a house special. These are solid dumplings. They're not as greasy as you might think, and plenty of pork goodness is waiting for you inside. Get into it.
They're definitely not Joe's Soup dumplings, but they definitely don't suck either. Our only critique is that the skin was a little too tough. But again, for $3.50...who's complaining?
Look at these two pillowy balls of heaven. Inside that sweet bun is an incredibly tasty combination of roast pork and caramelized onions. This was a front-runner for best thing we had at Nom Wah. And no, they aren't like the ones at Momofuku.