Friday, January 14, 2011

Dim Sum Garden

Dinner with friends at Dim Sum Garden to fill up on dumplings and noodles on a sub-freezing January night.  Just a block off Market on 11th, don't be fooled by the sketchy looks or the proximity to the Chinatown Bus station.  Walk inside and experience the magic that are their soup dumplings - little purses of dough, enveloping pork or crabmeat and a bit gelatin aspic that liquefies when steamed.  The trick to eating these is not to sear your taste buds from the near boiling broth that runs out from the dumpling.  My method is to poke the little bugger with your chopstick, and drain the broth into your soup spoon - then knock out the dumpling and down the broth as your chaser.  I could eat hundreds of these without getting tired of them.

Also tasty are the scallion pancakes - we had to order a second round of these - and the steamed veggie buns that were surprisingly good.  Pumpkin fritters were a special of the night.  They were recommended by the quais-english speaking server and tasted a bit like funnel cake if the batter had squash in it.  We sampled the napa & pork dumplings, siumai, and triple steamed buns, which were all tasty, but just kept coming back to those juicy pork buns.  To give the cooking staff some variety, our server also recommended the seasoned vegetables which were basically sauteed chinese greens & the handmade noodles with what I think was a pork based sauce.  The greens added some needed color to our monochromatic sampling of dumplings, and the noodles were definitely a hit.

Saying the interior of the restaurant is sparse might be an understatement.  It's about as bare bones as you can get, with a stand-up pepsi cooler in the dining room serving as the prep fridge for hotel trays full of prepared pork and chicken.  It's BYO, but don't ask for wine glasses - if you're trying to stay classy you may want to bring your own.  After two tries, we got large tea cups for our bottle of House Wine red.  What it lacks in amenities and decor though, Dim Sum Garden makes up for in their menu prices.  Dinner for six of us came to $59 before tax & tip.  I dare you to find a better meal for $10 a person anywhere in the city.  I wouldn't take a first date here, unless you've got an adventurous foodie on your hands, but this is the perfect place for a dinner with friends.

-T. Kaso

Dim Sum Garden

59 N 11th St
PhiladelphiaPA 19176
Neighborhood: Market East
(215) 627-0218


Mon-Thu 11:30 am - 10 pm
Fri-Sat 11:30 am - 11 pm
Sun 11:30 am - 9 pm

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