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Dim sum questions

Dover, Ohio
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Dim sum questions

Hello to all!

Several years ago, we made our first trip to NYC, and one of the highlights was an excellent lunch at Jing Fong's in Chinatown. I have two questions:

-- Is Jing Fong's still a good choice for dim sum?

--OK, this one may sound a little weird, but we would really love to have a "guide" for a dim sum lunch. Does anyone have any idea how we could get in touch with someone whom we could hire to have lunch with us on a Saturday and help us understand more about what we are eating/what is available? Last time, we pointed at things that looked interesting, and with rare exception really enjoyed it. We just feel like we could have gotten even more out of the experience if we weren't so clueless.

Thanks!

ee

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New York City, New...
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1. Re: Dim sum questions

I think it's a great idea and would love to know if you find someone. ;) My only thought was to go to the official tour guide website and find guides who speak Mandarin and give tours of Chinatown. It's the very short list

http://www.ganyc.org/search_results2.asp

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Dim sum questions

Foods of NY run very popular food walking tours and offer one of Chinatown. It's an option:

http://www.foodsofny.com/chinatown.php

Dover, Ohio
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3. Re: Dim sum questions

That's an excellent link...Thanks so much! I've emailed a guide whose profile mentioned culinary tours. This is a spur of the moment trip for us (just a day in the city, unfortunately, but better than no day at all) so I'm hoping that he's not already booked. I'll let you know how it turns out.

ee

Dover, Ohio
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4. Re: Dim sum questions

The Foods of New York tour looks great, but is already booked for our date. Thanks for the link. We'll try to plan ahead next time!

ee

New York City
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5. Re: Dim sum questions

Jing Fong is great if you get there early for lunch (like 11:30) but lousy if you get there late (like 1:00), because they put lots of stuff out at once and let it go cold and greasy.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Dim sum questions

I just happen to come across this thread for someone else asking a dim sum question. Worth reading, esp. our foodies the Crans.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k2651085…

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7. Re: Dim sum questions

Im not an early person, so never go to Jing Fong. The place is too huge, making the food cold.

Sunshine 27 and Golden Unicorn are my go-to spots. If you're thinking of doing this around Christmas - I guarantee they will be packed.

suitcaseready.com

Dover, Ohio
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374 posts
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8. Re: Dim sum questions

We've set up a "culinary tour" with one of the guides from a link posted by nywhiz above. (Thanks, nywhiz!) We'll have congee and crullers for breakfast, then do a walking tour of the area, including groceries to learn about ingredients we can't get at home, followed by a dim sum restaurant, then a soup dumpling restaurant. We're really excited and will report back after the trip. I don't know how much we're allowed to post about a particular guide, but if we're as pleased with the tour as we've been with the prompt and thorough communications we've had with him so far, I'd like to be able to pass on a recommendation for him.

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9. Re: Dim sum questions

I really look forward to hearing how this goes. ;) Please post a report. Thanks!

Dover, Ohio
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10. Re: Dim sum questions

Wow! What an awesome day we had in NYC on Saturday!! (Now the red-eye bus trip there and back...ugh! Never again...)

Our guide, Nils Cho, met us right off our bus at Canal and Bowery and suggested we start with a traditional breakfast. We went to Big Wong (I think...I should have written it down) and had two steaming bowls of congee, one with beef in it, the other with pork and "thousand year eggs", my favorite of the two. They were served with "crullers" to break up and put in the porridge like croutons. All was very delicious, hot and filling.

We then started our walking tour of the Chinatown/Fivepoints area, even deciding to go out part way across the Brooklyn Bridge as it was such a beautiful day and we'd never been on it before. Nils is usually a tour guide for travellers from China, so he had a lot of good information to share with us about NYC in general. I think we may have been the first American people he's had request a tour of the culinary delights of Chinatown. He gave us just exactly what we were looking for as he expertly guided us through the vast unknown (to us) world of Chinese/Shanghainese cuisine. We also enjoyed seeing the city "through the eyes of an immigrant", he showed us where he lived and worked when he first arrived forty years ago, etc... His English was quite good, although with an accent that made us have to listen carefully. (Not a complaint, just an observation.)

After a good long walk, we were hungry enough for our second round of food. He took us to a dimsum restaurant that was much smaller than Jing Fong's and appeared to be patronized by a nearly exclusively asian clientele. I am sorry that, right now, I can't remember the name. If someone is interested, I'll check with Nils. We tried six different dishes (including chicken feet, which I'd heard about but never tasted...not my personal favorite, but I'm glad to have tried them), all of which were hot, fresh and tasty. We were happy to have Nils order for us and explain what we were eating.

Next we spent time in the market area which was truly amazing. I'm not sure what was more incredible, the variety of fresh and/or dried fish and shellfish or the assortment of produce which I'd never seen in my life, including what appeared to be every form of fungus known to man. It was truly an eye-opener for a couple of rural midwesterners.

Our last stop was at Joe's Shanghai. which had a line out the door. Nils was able to secure us a spot at a table pretty quickly though, and had ordered for us even before we sat down. We loved the soup dumplings (and it was nice having Nils show us the best way to eat them with the ginger in vinegar), and the crispy skinned duck (salt and pepper duck, maybe?) was out of this world! We finished with a dessert of red bean paste in a dough...quite tasty and not too sweet. We loved sharing a table with others, the highlight being a darling 3 yr. old girl who put our chopstick skills to shame...lol.

Overall, I have to say that Nils was a wonderfully gracious host. He was fun to be around and did all he could to make sure we enjoyed our day with him. We asked for a tour that would educate us about the cuisine available in Chinatown, not focusing on fancy or touristy options, and I feel that is exactly what we got from him. He even walked us all the way down into the subway and pointed out which platform/train we needed to get to our next destination. I hope that we can get back to NYC for another day with him someday.

I'll try to answer any questions.

ee

P.S. Thanks again to NYWhiz for the link that got us in touch with Nils.