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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NYC: Nom Wah Dim Sum @ Doyer Street, Chinatown

Having spent over a month without a kick ass Asian bite saw my cravings for good Chinese peak when I was in Manhattan. After a few quick reads over the net, I quickly planned a short eating trail through Chinatown. Once done, I got on the tube and was there in a matter of minutes. First up was a random Chinese place a minute or two from the Canal Street Station. I believe it was New Wing Wah Bakery. Not expensive at all to my surprise. Including tax it was around 90 cents. In saying that, all it took was 2 mouths full to finish. Now wonder the aunty at the counter said in a familiar Asian accent “Only 1 enough?!”. It clearly was not enough to fill a hungry tummy.

3 streets down and I was at Tai Pan Bakery on Canal Street. The egg tart at Tai Pan was bright yellow (pic above) showing how eggy the custard was. In terms of taste, it was not too sweet and had a nice custard that is not too runny/firm. It wobbles just the way it should too. But I definitely did not find it significantly better than the one I had earlier at New Wing Wah. Both of them sported an equally amazing crusty. Love how short and buttery they both were. But because the one I had at Tai Pan was fresh out of the oven, the warmth made more pleasurable to savour compared to the other. The milk tea at Tai Pan bakery is terrible though. Too diluted! 

If you have read a post of me at an old lane way stall serving great packed Nasi Lemak back in Penang or my post at Mido Cafe, Hong Kong, you would know how I am a bit of a sucker for shops with a long history. Here in Chinatown, no one knows DimSum better than Nom Wah Tea Parlour. Handed down from one generation to the other, this was the first restaurant in Manhattan to offer Dim Sum. Modernised by the current owner, this place still proudly displays its dated past. Stained signboard, mosaic tiles and other furnitures from the past was a clear statement of its age. 

But despite my fondness of “all things old", it was not the main reason I was here. Nom Wah Tea Parlour understands the dilemma of the solo eater during a social meal like Yum Cha where sharing is a must. Hence, it offers a steamed or deep fried sampler which allows solo diners to enjoy all the perks of Yum Cha without having to bring the whole brood to town. 

First up was my steamed sampler.
Great assortment of little dumplings. While I only had one mouthful of each to judge, I quickly found my favourite amongst the crowded steamer. The dumpling wrapped in yellow wanton skin (not the pork siu mai) was the tastiest of the lot. Very good. The Pork Siu Mai did not quite pack the meatiness of the one I would usually get in Hong Kong or Australia. Not bad though. Then came the prawn filled dumplings, expect a crunchy prawns bursting with great flavours. The seafood in NYC is really fresh I have to say. The two let downs of the platter, the Taro dumpling and the Vegetarian dumplings! Whilst the fillings were great, the thick dumpling skin was not so great. It masked the taste of all the other ingredients in there. Nothing a little chilli oil will not fix though. 

Next up I ordered a serve of panfried dumplings in fear that I might not be able to finish a deep-fried sampler. On second thoughts, I could have finished it anyway.
The panfried dumplings were nice. Skin a little too thick but it was every bit crunchy. To pack an extra kick to the dumplings, I mixed a concoction of black vinegar, chilli oil and soy sauce. Damn it was good altogether. 

The dim sums at Nom Wah were not mind blowing but it was what I would call typical good. High and lows were apparent but still, hard to fault. Edible in every bite, I disliked nothing. Then comes my dramatic talk. Culture, history and legacy. What more exciting than a place older than myself.   Perhaps I am charmed by it being old because one can sometimes get sick by the sharp edges and clean lines of modern cuisines no? Lets dine at somewhere less pretentious. This is where Nom Wah fits in. ;)


Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Urbanspoon