Nom Wah Tea Parlor New YorkPosted By Jennifer Ho Aug 12 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out
Making our way through the perpetual crush of people in New York City, we headed towards Nom Wah Tea Parlour for a late dim sum lunch. Our journey there was seemingly maze-like – I couldn’t tell where we had come from, how we had got there or how we even got out. Almost hidden, the restaurant is tucked into a bend on a street just off the main. After reading up on the history of Doyer street, I learned that it has been called the “Bloody Angle” for the numerous shootings and gang related violence that occurred there back in the mid 20th century. Whoa.
That being said, Nom Wah is one of the oldest dim sum restaurants in the city and it certainly looks the part and channels the vibe. Having made a seemingly natural transition from the 20’s vintage feel to contemporary aesthetics, the restaurant has diner booth style seating, worn checkered floors and an old cash register sitting on the counter. I have to say that I really loved the whole experience of being in there – I’ve never been to a dim sum restaurant with such a unique sort of atmosphere and decor.
After being promptly greeted and seated, we checked off our desired menu items and handed the paper over to our server. Overall, we stuck to dishes that can be called classics in the traditional dim sum cuisine: tried and true combinations of seafood, vegetables, meats, herbs and spices deep fried and baked and steamed all according to the book. We started with eggplants stuffed with fried shrimp paste. Steaming hot, we cut into them gingerly and started to eat. Soft, flavorful and just salty enough, these were pretty golden.
The turnip cakes I come across usually come in a rectangular shape which is then cut but the cart lady/man with scissors. Here, they come in cubes, tossed with green and red peppers along with some authentic XO sauce. I know when I go back to Taiwan, I can’t come back home without promising to bring back jars and jars of this stuff since we can’t get it back in Montreal. It has a particular taste that adds a ton of depth and flavor to almost any dish, truly.
And then, one of my personal favorites. Chicken feet. Some people have qualms with this dish I think purely because of how it looks. Yeah it looks like a chicken foot… Because it is. Get over it. Is it bony? Sure. Is it tasty? Oh my god, you don’t know what you’re missing! Marinated with black bean, soy and oyster sauce, it’s just got this flavor and taste unlike anything else. Pretty sure we didn’t stop until they were done. Or… maybe that was just me.
We ordered the steamed shrimp and snow pea dumplings which were great. The rice paper wrapping was moist and slightly sticky, as it tends to be. Yum.
Same sort of feelings for the fried shrimp and chive dumplings, except fried.
To balance the whole meal out, we deemed it necessary to eat some greens. Hence the Chinese greens with oyster sauce, another staid classic. Crunchy and wholesome, every stalk just tasted healthy and delicious.
So, quick recap: everything we ordered tasted true to traditional Chinese dim sum cuisine. Everything was also delicious. Paired with the unbeatable atmosphere, this place is a must go!
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