April 16th, 2014
04:45 PM ET
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(Travel + Leisure) Dim sum calls for dumplings, and about 55,000 are sold annually at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco. But not classics like shrimp-filled har gow. Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski prefer their dumplings with guinea hen. “Dim sum service offers a slew of freedoms with our cooking,” explains Brioza, whose menu includes steak tartare in lettuce cups.

The pleasure of a dim sum meal also comes from the showmanship and ordering experience. At Seattle’s New Hong Kong, for example, carts glide past diners and attendants raise the lids off steamer baskets, bellowing out what’s inside, whether sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves or garlicky spareribs. It’s all washed down with generous cups of fragrant tea.

Read on for more of America’s best dim sum destinations, and share your favorites in the comments below.

Hakkasan - Miami, Florida
This debut U.S. location of London’s Michelin-starred Hakkasan has become one of Miami Beach’s sexiest restaurants, winning over patrons with its haute-Cantonese food and sleek décor (it’s within the chic Fontainebleau Resort). Malaysia native Jian Heng Loo runs the kitchen, which turns out dim sum for weekend lunch. Try the steamed chive prawn dumplings, crispy duck salad, and decadent scallop shu mai.

Gunshow - Atlanta, Georgia
At this dim-sum-meets-Brazilian-churrascaria restaurant, a team led by Top Chef alum Kevin Gillespie creates new dishes each week, wheeling them out from the open kitchen on pushcarts and trays to diners, as they personally explain their works of art. We recommend starting with two plates of the kung pao Brussels sprouts. Save room for Gunshow’s inspired take on the classic French dish of coq au vin, made here with truffle mousse and a butternut squash pancake.

JS Chen's Dim Sum & BBQ - Plano, Texas
Multigenerational Chinese families and in-the-know locals flock to this unassuming restaurant within an Asian shopping mall. They’re here for the dim sum, whether shrimp dumplings, steamed pork buns, or the explosive Shanghai-style pork dumplings. Trust us when we say the “beef fun roll” is aptly named—paper-thin noodles are expertly rolled around BBQ beef (it is Texas, after all) and mushrooms. BYO drink of choice, and finish off your meal with sweet and crispy sesame balls or mango pudding.

Yank Sing - San Francisco
For nearly 60 years, this family-owned, lunch-only restaurant has been satisfying local cravings for dim sum. Handmade dumplings, barbecued pork buns, and pork dumplings with shrimp and shiitake mushrooms take center stage. On weekends, the restaurant literally doubles in size thanks to the connecting Rincon Atrium. Don’t miss its signature Shanghai dumplings, with minced Kurobuta pork (an elite Japanese protein), scallion, and ginger steamed in its own aromatic broth.

Red Egg - New York City
Dim sum is what’s for dinner at Red Egg, located at the intersection of Chinatown and SoHo. It’s a modern restaurant where small plates are made to order. Translucent dumplings brimming with sweet shrimp, steamed rice rolls, and coconut pudding are a few menu staples. Despite the top-notch ingredients and trendy setting, prices remain affordable, especially during weeknights between 4 and 7 p.m., when all dim sum plates are half off.

The Church Key - Los Angeles
L.A.’s new kid on the block updates age-old dim sum traditions. An arsenal of pushcarts dishes out globally inspired small plates. (In a kitschy twist, one cart is stocked with canned Negroni cocktails and piloted by waitresses in Pan Am uniforms.) All meals begin with a complimentary bowl of truffle popcorn. Then yours might diverge to tai snapper in a white-soy vinaigrette or pig-ear Cheetos with avocado mousse. One cart comes equipped with a meat slicer, shaving off slivers of Benton’s ham so that diners can DIY a ham sandwich with fig mostarda and sourdough bread.

Ping Pang Pong - Las Vegas, Nevada
Red lanterns and decorative gates welcome diners to Ping Pang Pong, a mile off the Strip within the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. Its regional specialties include authentic Cantonese dim sum served on pushcarts at lunchtime—allowing diners to see and smell each dish before ordering. Keep an eye out for the cart with the night market fried rice, a satisfying mix of tender beef tossed with chiles, bean sprouts, and tomatoes.

Ming’s Bistro - Orlando, Florida
Taro dumplings and shrimp pesto buns lure crowds to Ming’s, where the menu has its roots in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. The bistro is also known for its fried shrimp balls and chicken feet. While cart service is available only on the weekends, when you can always expect a lengthy wait, the dim sum menu is available daily. 1212 Woodward St. #6; (407) 898-9672.

State Bird Provisions - San Francisco, California
Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, pioneers of American-style dim sum, have dreamed up an eclectic menu featuring guinea hen dumplings; pecan pancakes with duck ham and maitake; and garlic bread with burrata and peanut milk shots. The intimate yet high-energy restaurant sells nearly 13,000 of its eponymous quail annually, along with some 55,000 dumplings.

Winsor Dim Sum Café - Boston, Massachusetts
This second-floor café offers a checklist of made-to-order dishes such as pillowy-yet-crunchy pork and peanut dumplings, sweet deep-fried pork buns, and chewy noodles fried with sausage and laced with sharp radish. Be forewarned: although the café is open all day long, there’s almost always a wait. Its hot-broth xiao long bao dumplings are really that delicious.

Get the rest of the list at Travel + Leisure: Best Dim Sum in America

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Asian • Chinese • Restaurants • Travel

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tim

    I live in Boston, and for the first time, I tried Winsor Dim Sum Cafe today. It is at best an average Dim Sum place. I ordered 6 dishes, and they were bland. The Siu Mia looked like it was just reheated and tasted nothing more than a pork meat ball (no shrimps). I usually go to a place around the corner that is a bakery and restaurant. Their dim sum is at least 2 notches above Winsor.

    April 27, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Thinking things through

    Yum! Now I am salivating! I just wish you'd shown a close up photo of the FOOD at the New York City one, since that's closest to me.

    April 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  3. Jess of The Affair Shop

    Reblogged this on The Affair Shop Blog and commented:

    April 17, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  4. Andy G

    Speaking as a San Franciscan the two choices here are good – but not great. City View Restaurant in the financial district has the best dim sum in the City hands down.

    April 17, 2014 at 9:44 am |
  5. Truth


    April 17, 2014 at 6:52 am |
  6. ∞ Weeds ∞

    Oh Baby, that looks so dang good. I want sum 'o dim

    April 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
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