Nom Wah Tea Parlor
We suspect that the perpetual line outside of Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown has more to do with its history than the actual dumplings inside. Nom Wah has been open since the 1920’s and claims to be the city’s first dim sum restaurant. But despite it being the first, you won’t find the classic dim sum experience here that you’ll get at a place like Jing Fong (where the line is also much, much longer). There are no big banquet tables and pushcarts. Instead, Nom Wah has a super casual diner feel with chrome barstools and waiters skirting around red booths.
Compared to the rest of your dim sum options in Chinatown, the food at Nom Wah is average. They could turn up the flavor, and a couple plates will inevitably be a bit overcooked. But there aren’t too many other places in the city where you can eat soup dumplings in a retro diner that doubles as a historical landmark. Nom Wah is worth going to with a small group at least once. If you want to skip the line, recruit three or more people so you can make a reservation. Bring cash—the only card they take is American Express.
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