|Vegetarian Dim Sum House, Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 24 Pell Street New York NY 10013
|Recommended Dish: Adventure!|
||Times Visited: Too Many to Count|
The Stumptown Vegans Travel! A Travel Guide.
My pilgrimages to NYC in recent years include a few mandatory stops: great bagels, cheap falafel, Teany, LifeThyme, Soy and Sake or Red Bamboo or Vegetarian Paradise 2, phew, something upscale, the vegan ice cream shoppe showdown, and the famous Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown. Ironically, it wasn’t until after my departure from the East Coast that I dove into the dim sum menu. Prior to that, I’d stop in for lunch and naively think “well, they sure offer a lot of appetizers….”
The Vegetarian Dim Sum House has a huge regular menu available during lunch and dinner. That being said, you should go for the 30+ namesake menu: steamed buns, rice flour rolls, and dumplings galore. Dim sum is traditionally served from morning until noon, alongside Chinese tea. At the VDSH, there is no time limit, and you can share your dumplings and small plates in the morning, in the afternoon, and into the late evening. Appropriately, a small pot of complimentary tea is brought to every table upon seating. Warning – you may have to prompt for refills when it’s busy, which is often.
I think VDSH is best experienced with a small to medium group of diners. I doubt any hungry member of your party, from the picky to the adventurous, will be able to resist peeking at the versatile options continuously arriving at tables around you.
On my most recent visit, my small group for dinner included three seasoned vegan dim sum fans (featuring two omnivores!) and an eager vegan friend. We followed our self-imposed VDSH rules and passed around the dim sum check list and mini pencil. With over 34 dim sum selections to choose from, your visit can become a dim sum study.
Our ordering guide:
- Every member of your group should pick at least one safe dish. Think steamed Spinach Dumplings and Fried Wontons.
- Every member of your group should pick at least one strange dish. Think Turnip Cakes, or Corn Congee.
- Every other member of your group should pick at least one explorative dish. Think Sweet & Salty Dumplings, or Rice Flour Rolls with Chinese Kale.
With a group of four, this brings your table at least ten small plates to share. This is incredibly reasonable, considering the dim sum prices ($2.95-5.95) and miniature offerings. The prices have risen slightly in the past couple years, but you can still dim sum generously for $10-$12/a person.
I’m clearly a fan with a few years of dim sum exploration under my belt, so I wanted to share some of my personal recommendations:
- Pan Fried Dumpling 4.95 – basic shredded cabbage and various vegetable stuffed dumplings. an easy, appealing order when nervous omnis are with you.
- Spinach Dumplings 2.95 – featuring tender, green dough.
- Deep Fried Vegetarian Crescents 2.95 – the name says it all. easily one of the greasiest items I’ve tried here.
- Mini Vegetarian Spring Rolls 2.95 – really mini, really adorable, really filled with cabbage.
- Sweet Yam Soup with ginger juice 3.15 – small cups of clear, almost dessert-like broth with a sweet, ginger-infused bite and small cubes of cooked, orange yam. Wait a minute after it comes to the table, the staff will ladle it out for you.
- House Special Corn Congee 3.15 this corn pudding-like dish isn’t quite my thing, but it sure is interesting and well worth the cheap shock value to see if anyone will eat it.
- Vegetarian Mock Shrimp Dumplings 2.95 firm, yet semi-gelatinous (think, thick kanten) pieces of faux shrimp – if you don’t know if you can go faux-shrimp or not, this is a cheap way to test the waters!
- Vegetarian Mock Roast Pork Buns 2.95 – quintessential explorative success. Steamed buns with a mildly spiced, seemingly soy, mock roasted pork filling.
- Sesame Paste Buns (Steamed Or Fried) 2.95 – round and soft buns with a sweet sesame paste filling. I’ve tried these fried, and I think that’s overdoing it with these winners.
- Rice Flour Rolls with Chinese kale 2.95 – until I actually tried these, I did not think they looked appetizing. however, I’m a big fan and always order them! actual green kale inside curious folds of tapioca
- Buddha’s Rice Flour Rolls 2.95 – the same rolls, filled with an assortment of vegetables and liberally topped with a dark, brown sauce.
In short, let me be roughly, the one millionth vegan to recommend this as a NYC vegan must-go.
If you’ve been, please share your favorites!
Vegan Note: According to VegGuide.Org, “Everything on the menu is vegan except for the mango pudding and some of the bubble teas”.
Sweet Yam Soup
Bowls for Soups
Vegetarian Mock Roasted Pork Buns
Buddha’s Rice Flour Rolls
Rice Flour Rolls with Chinese Kale
Mini Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Pineapple ‘Chicken’ Entrée