Photo by @nancyfromnewyork / Instagram
Hop on the N train and schlep on down to Brooklyn’s Chinatown for a cart-delivered brunch of reliably unfamiliar but delicious foreign food. Bring a group of friends and it’s a party.
The official designations of BK’s Chinatown may stretch only ten blocks, but there’s no dearth of delicious foods to take in. Sunset Park is home to a handful of sprawling dim sum restaurants among countless smaller, more typically formatted eateries, where you can taste a variety of authentic options among the hubbub of local regulars. The dim sum spots, hidden in plain sight, are an adventure to remember, especially if you don’t speak Chinese – you can expect few patrons or servers to be able to converse in English with you. Go for lunch with an empty stomach, an open mind, and be ready to gesture at what you want on the carts flying by. Pointing encouraged.
813 55th St.
Seven blocks north of the other spots on this list and in a world of its own, the granddaddy of Brooklyn’s Chinatown bustles with a crowded lobby and a long wait list (it flies). Friendly servers wander around with trays loaded down with fried fish and push carts towering with dessert options. Go for the barbecue pork buns and those giant fried green balls – they’re packed with “zhi ma,” a sweet, buttery sesame paste. Three medium plates will put you out $11.
East Harbor Seafood Palace
714 65th St.
A pescatarian’s delight. The clams smothered in black bean sauce are a favorite at this humongous seafood joint, where the delicacy is sautéed before your eyes on a giant wok ($8). The share platters of fishcake chow fun are a must, too ($15). While there are a wide range of seafood options here, it’s a little pricier than the other dim sum joints, but that’s a fairly low bar.
618 62nd St.
Depending on your party’s size you may share a table with a local, non-English speaking family at this massive dining hall, so feel free to get inspired by your neighbor’s order! Price-wise, it’s comparable to Pacificana. While the popular dishes here are the crispy spring rolls and chopped rice noodles topped with pork, I couldn’t take my eyes off the largest fried sesame balls I’d ever seen.
Hong Kong Dim Sum Inc
777 60th St.
Nestled between a real estate office and a bus station, this tiny, fast food version of the dim sum experience specializes in the stuffed rice roll and congee porridge, both Chinese breakfast staples. Fast and cheap (an order of each will set you back only $5), you can get yours with a variety of meat and veggie options. Make sure to douse your rice roll in hot chili oil before you dig in.
6521 8th Ave.
Park Asia definitely wins in term of ambiance, where the slinky purple chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows will make you feel like royalty sitting down to feast. Make sure you partake in the walking soup stations and the taro sweet cakes, purple to match the chairs.
912 65th St.
Despite the blatant C rating posted at the entrance, Affable Eatery – formerly New Spring Garden – is packed with loyal customers. Here’s the place to try out some chicken feet, but if you’re not a fan, an attentive server will bring by option after option to find you something you do like. A favorite for dessert is their sweet tofu pudding, or “dou hua.”
6409 8th Ave.
Unlike the other Sunset Park spots, Bamboo Garden boasts a meat market in their front lobby, where roast chickens go for $5.50/lb and an entire roast duck goes for $20. An announcer on a microphone will make you feel like the winner of Chinese Idol when you’re called to sit down – and when you do, spring for the “cong you bing,” or gigantic scallion pancakes, fried to perfection.
How was your dim summing? Wutcha eat? Let us know in the comments!
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