Vegetarian Dim Sum, Chinatown

During our August staycation, we spent a couple days playing tourist in NYC. Dim sum in Chinatown before a long walk to the ferry terminal to ride the Staten Island ferry. We originally wanted to go to Governor’s Island, but that ferry only runs on the weekends.

Having spent most of my life in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, I’m quite spoiled when it comes to dim sum. In Hong Kong, my parents would take us for dim sum every Saturday. So good, so so good. Every dim sum place I’ve visited in the US hasn’t really impressed me much. When I heard of Vegetarian Dim Sum (yes, that’s what it is actually called), I figured it was worth a try. It’s been a while since I’ve had dim sum and Asian mock meats are always good.

My first impression? It feels, looks and smells very much like all the dim sum spots I’ve visited back in Asia. It’s hard to order dim sum for a party of two. We set a four dish limit, which ended up being plenty of food for the two of us. We ordered the roast pork buns ($2.95), fried turnip cakes ($2.95), steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves ($4.95), fried wontons ($5.95). The first 3 dishes are my classic must-have dishes. The fried wontons are for John. That man loves fried food. Vegetarian Dim SumVegetarian Dim SumThe fried wontons were shaped differently from what I was expecting. Uhh, more like fried envelopes than the classic wonton. Lightly fried, with not much filling. They were okay. Wouldn’t really recommend them. We both enjoyed the roast pork buns quite a bit. Soft, fluffy buns filled with mock meat. The “pork” had the right texture, color and flavor. Vegetarian Dim Sum - Fried Turnip CakeEven though the turnip cake was lightly crisped on the outside, the inside was too soggy. Instead of fried shrimp and Chinese sausage, it included little pieces of mushroom. Overall, a little bland, and the texture wasn’t great. I’m really fussy when it comes to turnip cake. It has always been my favorite dim sum dish. I ate it, but it really didn’t hit the spot. Vegetarian Dim Sum - Glutinous RiceI was a little surprised that the glutinous rice was listed as $4.95 on the menu. Then it arrived at our table, and I was shocked by how big it was. There was way too much rice. It was way too sticky, mostly flavorless. Once we got to the center, the mock sausage and mushrooms were pretty good with the rice, but the rest of it was not so great. We both hate to waste food, but we just couldn’t finish this bland, sticky rice blob.

Sorry, Vegetarian Dim Sum, not too impressed. Probably won’t be back. I hear Buddha Bodai has veggie dim sum too. Next time I’m craving dim sum, that’s where I’ll go.

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    My mom used to make turnip cake from scratch with lard (she’d buy a chunk of pork belly and make her own lard too). I think some Chinese food is just not quite the same without animal fats…. : P

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      Mmm, porky belly. Mmm, animal fat… haha. :P

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