Monday, September 24, 2012

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Nom Wah. It's been written about a lot recently. You might have heard that it's the oldest dim sum place in NYC (since 1920). The management changed over the years and recently found itself in the hands of Wilson Tang who not only kept the vintage decor but also the delectable dim sum it was known for.
I found myself there one night with The Feisty Foodie, Dessert Zombie, and Mr. M&P. I'm always on the lookout for new dim sum places in Manhattan. I don't always have time to go to the outer boroughs for superior Cantonese food. So when the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. You see, I like going to dim sum with at least a group of four people. We can order and share many more plates that way.

The dim sum at Nom Wah is ordered by menu. There are no hot steam carts rolling around. More and more dim sum establishments are changing to this type of service now. I know that Hong Kong is pretty much cartless these days.

And here is the plethora of dim sum we had that night. First, the shrimp and chive dumplings ($3.50). The tapioca wrappers on these were too thick and became quite gummy. However, I did enjoy the crispy bottom from pan frying and the filling was decent.
The shrimp rice roll ($3.50) was just okay. It was two medium shrimp wrapped in a too thick rice noodle roll. The sweet savory soy sauce was nice.
The cilantro and scallion roll ($3) fared much better. Thinner noodles brightened up by the freshness of the herbs.
The stuffed eggplant ($3.50) can be a greasy affair but not in this case. Shrimp paste stuffed in sweet long eggplant then fried and tossed with gravy. This is one of my favorite dishes.
The pan fried dumplings ($3.50) were mediocre as well. The filling of pork and chives were in a too thick wrapper. Though, again the frying was very well executed and gave me a crunchy skin.
The turnip cake ($3.50) was soft and strands of the root vegetable strewn throughout. The accompanying salty oyster sauce paired well with this otherwise naturally bland cake.
The shrimp dumpling/har gow ($3.75) contained large pieces of shrimp as well as minced shrimp. I could tell they didn't use too much filler which was appreciated. And the thin translucent wrapper was expertly thin.
The rice roll with fried dough ($3.50) was subpar. The fried cruller inside was cold and soft. It must have been fried earlier in the day. It was unfortunate because the rice noodle was on the thinner side.
The steamed pork dumpling/shu mai ($3.50) was of standard fare with fatty minced pork, shrimp, and mushrooms.
The steamed spare ribs ($3.50) lacked the black bean and garlic flavor that I've come to enjoy at dim sum restaurants. And I can see why. They black beans weren't chopped.
The sticky rice in lotus leaf ($5.25) wasn't what I was expecting. Usually they have minced pork, chicken, Chinese sausage and mushrooms. This was a simple chicken rendition. It was too simple for me and lacked the punch of flavor.
Overall I thought Nom Wah's food was just okay. I've had better in Manhattan and it certainly won't replace my go to establishment right now. However, I do want to say there are plenty of positives about the place. The service was very good, they speak English there, and you can get dim sum at night. And if you happen to stumble upon there when Wilson Tang is at the counter, say hello. He's the nicest guy and certainly appreciates his customers.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 962-6047


  1. Sorry to hear everything was just ok. Every time I get dim sum at night, I'm not happy with the food.

    I had their eggroll once and it was the best egg roll I've ever had!

  2. Wilson was very nice. Their har gow and siu mai was really it for me. Sigh. I enjoyed it better time the first time. Not bad though when craving dim sum dinner.


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