PHLGuide

The 14 Best Dim Sum Spots In Philly

Big tables, siu mai, and steamy pork buns.
The 14 Best Dim Sum Spots In Philly  image

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo

Dim sum usually means giant tables, families waiting in lines on weekend mornings, and, if you're lucky, Jolin Tsai blasting in a banquet hall. But there are also places in Philly where you can eat turnip cakes by yourself without feeling weird about it or maybe just grab a box of buns that'll power you through the day.

Whether you’re looking for a Northeast institution where the carts go 10 mph or a place in Chinatown to take your cousins for spare ribs, this guide has all of our favorite options for dim sum in Philly. And if you’re just here for dumplings, we have a lot more ideas.

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo

Dim Sum

Northeast Philly

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchLunchLiterally EveryoneCheap EatsQuick EatsCasual Weeknight Dinner
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We get choked up just thinking about the quality of China Gourmet's ripping hot pork siu mai, crispy spring rolls, and bouncy sesame-coated buns. It’s the first place we recommend for dim sum in Philly, even if there’s usually a line on weekends. Their massive space in the Northeast opens at 9:30am every day and could fit several family reunions. Bring a group on a Sunday and you’ll see kids pretending to be DJs while spinning lazy susans, overhear neighborhood gossip over lunch, and pop shrimp balls covered in golden strips of wontons that make each one look like a mound of hay. 

Reasons to drive to South Jersey include cheaper gas and not having to pump it, cheaper wine, the shore, and the soup dumplings and buns at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao. Sure, the Shanghainese mini-chain makes flaky scallion pancakes and tripe in a spicy chili sauce. But it’s the dumplings and buns that have us considering moving across the bridge. When you want range, order the colorful “Lucky 6,” which comes with dumplings filled with things like black truffle, scallop, and chicken. They also have a separate dim sum menu for breakfast, and some doughy red bean buns and durian puffs that are worth the toll.

In many ways, this cash-only BYOB in Chinatown is like other dim sum spots in the neighborhood: full of people getting mini facials after opening the lids on their steamer baskets. But the specialty here is Shanghainese pork soup dumplings, which come in orders of eight and cost less than an Uber from Fishtown to Queen Village. Build your meal around these soft, thin wrappers loaded with salty mounds of pork. The menu also has dependable go-tos like softball-sized buns, scallion pancakes, and crispy shrimp on sticks.

Ocean Harbor in Chinatown has everything we look for in a dim sum spot: convenience, consistency, and variety. It’s open from 10am-9pm every day (except Wednesday), which means you can eat wonton soup and fried seafood rolls for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Expect to see a fairly crowded room and a super-efficient operation. Pick a number, wait a few minutes, and then grab whatever you want from the carts.

This daytime Chinatown spot serves deep-fried curry chicken dumplings and steamed pork-and-leek dumplings that are just as memorable as their specialty tea and siphon coffee. Come starting at 8am to eat chewy, thick-skinned dumplings for breakfast instead of that granola that's been haunting your pantry since the Trump presidency. The small shop also makes Taiwanese beef noodle soup and crisp spring rolls filled with napa cabbage, carrots, and shrimp—both of which will get snatched up by anyone you bring.

With well-made ribs and crystal dumplings that always have translucent skin, Dim Sum Factory in the Northeast is as reliable as a Denzel Washington performance. The laidback BYOB opens at 11am, so it’s easy to walk in for a quick lunch or grab a booth with a few friends on a night when the only cure for a bad week is soup dumplings in a room full of dragons. And since the restaurant has its own parking lot, you won’t have a long walk to your car after eating siu mai like popcorn.

Tom’s is run by the same team as Dim Sum Garden and feels almost like a carbon copy of the place. Of the 40-ish items on the menu, we always stick with the vegetable steam buns with a soft exterior and mustard green filling, spicy pork soup dumplings, and beef skewers. Since this restaurant is next to Reading Terminal Market, the crowd tends to be lively and, more often than not, heading to a Big Red Bus tour. Tom's doesn't take reservations, but you can book their back room if you have a group that needs extra space for moon-shaped dumplings and BYOB wine.

Nom Wah in Center City works well for quick, casual dim sum. It’s a small space, but there’s a decent variety of soup dumplings, buns, and rice rolls. You order everything by checking off boxes on a sheet of paper, and most dishes cost less than $5. Come to this BYO with friends, circle the entire top half of the menu, and you'll have some cash left over for someone to sprint over to Fine Wine & Good Spirits nearby. 

There aren’t many options for dim sum in University City, which makes Dim Sum House super useful. We typically bring a group and go for the scallion pancakes or honey-vinegar spare ribs, plus a couple of spring rolls and golden egg tarts. So come with a few people, engulf some wontons in chili oil. You can make reservations ahead of time, in case you don't want to risk having to wait for dim sum elsewhere in the city.

South Philly’s Wokano has the classic setup with carts, big families, chandeliers, and tablecloths. It's easy to get swept up in all the egg tarts, fried squid, and king crab claws in your peripheral vision. Our favorites here, though, are the seafood crystal dumplings. They have translucent, paper-thin skin that clings to the filling like a t-shirt in a rainstorm. Like most places on the list, Wokano opens before noon (10:30am), but the menu stays the same throughout the day. 

When we think of this counter-service bakery in South Philly, the first thing that pops into our head is buns. No matter what situation we're in, we always walk in here, stare at something sweet behind the counter, and leave with five things we didn’t plan on ordering. Dodo Bakery closes at 6pm, so this is also a useful option if you want to pick up red bean buns later in the day.

Han Dynasty has locations in Old City, University City, and Manayunk. At all of them, you’ll find Sichuan dishes and bars crowded with people watching a game or celebrating another week of not getting fired. The dim sum menu only has eight or so options, but they're all pretty good. We especially like the pan-fried chicken dumplings coated with garlic-soy and the pork belly in a sweet and spicy chili oil.

This tiny Center City spot works best for dumplings and buns on the go. It’s a little too tight to sit in here for a full meal. Also, it's inside Suburban Station. Options like cheesesteak gyoza and chicken pot stickers with ginger sauce are just ok. Others, like the pork soup bao, are head-turners. This is a soup dumpling wrapped in a thick, doughy coat. Yes.

Bing Bing Dim Sum in East Passyunk makes pork soup dumplings and chicken wontons, but we know them mostly for their twists on classics like cheesesteak bao, turnip cakes made with matzo meal, and caterpillar bread stuffed with BBQ pork. Bing Bing gets points for serving dim sum during dinner and having a liquor license. Come for Happy Hour and sit on the sidewalk.

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