Eating on the Cheap in New York, Part Two

By Chef Judi Gallagher.

NYC is a mecca of fine food, international style, and some of the best dim sum available for pennies on the dollar.

On our last visit we had a plan. We armed ourselves with a list of ‘must try’ dim sum restaurants in Chinatown. Our goal – to try five places on a Sunday early afternoon. Well that part NEVER happened, as our overly ambitious appetites gave out after three stops.

Dim sum in NYC is part of the urban lifestyle, but is also a way to enjoy exotic flavors and tastes for about $3-$5 per plate. You need only to stroll around Mott Street to hit the jackpot of Hong Kong dim sum cart dining.

The winner of this Chinatown adventure was a place called Mandarin Court, a highly recommended stop from our culinary skilled concierge. This is exactly what you want for the legendary Sunday Chinese brunch-feast! Don’t miss the pork and shrimp dumplings, as well as sweet buns, filled with barbecue pork. After two or three more plates, we paid our $17.95 (total!) and made the decision to cross the street to Jing Fong.

The huge dim sum dining room was filled with hundreds of families sharing tables and plates of Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, siu mai, and a variety of steamed dumplings. Though not our favorite, Jing Fong was worth the experience  just to see the enormous dining hall as well as to watch the multitude of workers. They took their food break together. After five plates (total $22.45), with a few leftovers to share with our new friends seated next to us, we disembarked for our third and final stop. A $5.00 platter of Chow Fun, wide egg noodles stir-fried with strips of barbecue pork and chopped scallions. It was enough to feed two without needing any other dim sum stops.

There were easily three dozen other reputable places that we could have experienced, but bellies quite full – having passed on the numerous offers for tins of chicken feet and only $46. ‘poorer’ – we instead chose to spend the rest of the afternoon strolling around SoHo, quite content from our dim sum heaven!

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