Dim Sum Love

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hop Shing is probably the first memory I have of eating out. And by eating out, I mean stuffing my 2-year-old face with fistfuls of delicious barbecue pork buns (guk cha siu baau), baked to golden perfection and containing the ideal balance of savory and sweet, while my grandfather chatted with the other old timers over a cup of strong coffee with cream and sugar (the only way they serve it) and the daily Chinese newspaper.

Hop Shing Restaurant Photo Credit: Kenneth Hung, Cheap Ass Food

Hop Shing Restaurant Photo Credit: Kenneth Hung, Cheap Ass Food

Now, twenty plus years later, I find myself back in Chinatown and craving Sunday dim sum here. Walk into this timeless hole in the wall, and you are immediately transported to another place, another era. Jostle with the aggressive old ladies shouting orders and waving money at the take out counter, make your way to one of the communal round tables, and prepare to feast for cheap. $10-$12 can take you a long way here, through three to five plates of tasty morsels carted out steaming hot from the kitchen. Speaking of which, keep your eye on the kitchen door�the most popular dishes go fast and regulars will not be shy about snatching them off the cart right under your nose. Waving your dim sum card and pointing is fully acceptable.

My all-time favorite dishes:
Barbecue pork buns (cha siu baau) – Warning: these buns are filled with barbecue cha siu pork, carmelized onions, and other highly addictive substances. You will end up scarfing one down, wonder where it went, and then quickly order another before grandma over there buys the last dozen to go. I am admittedly a cha siu baau snob and believe that the baked version is the one true version to be enjoyed, with its light golden glaze and freshly baked aroma, but for all you wayward fans of the fluffy, white, steamed version, they have those as well. Seriously though, if you dare to cross over to the enlightened path, Hop Shing’s baked cha siu baau is a veritable ode to umami. A poetic exercise in complementary flavors and textures. Someone over there at Hop Shing sold their soul for this baby.

Barbecue pork buns (cha siu baau) Photo Credit: Peter Cuce

Barbecue pork buns (cha siu baau) Photo Credit: Peter Cuce

Shrimp dumplings (har gau) – Hands down, the best har gau I’ve ever had (including ones I’ve had in Hong Kong, the motherland of dim sum). These steamed dumplings are chock full of shrimp, little bits of water chestnuts that add a nice crunch, and a secret melt-in-your-mouth ingredient that melds it all together into one amazing bite.

Shrimp dumplings (har gau) Photo Credit: Alyson Hurt

Shrimp dumplings (har gau) Photo Credit: Alyson Hurt

Pan Fried Dumplings with Chives and Shrimp (gau choi kau) – Stuffed with a mixture of chives and shrimp and then pan fried until golden crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, these dumplings fly off the cart fast.

Chive and shrimp dumpling

Chive and shrimp dumpling

Rice noodle roll with beef (ngau coeng) – This dish is pure comfort food for me. Finely ground beef wrapped in sheets of rice noodle that are thin, smooth, and doused with sweet soy sauce. A classic.

Beef Rice Roll

Beef Rice Roll

Cocktail bun (gai mei baau) – A dessert bun to cap off your dim sum gluttony, Hop Shing’s hot-out-of-the-oven gai mei baau will melt in your mouth. It is filled with buttery, sugary, coconutty goodness.

Cocktail bun (gai mei baau) Photo Credit: Peter Cuce

Cocktail bun (gai mei baau) Photo Credit: Peter Cuce


Hop Shing Restaurant (formerly named Chatham Restaurant)
9 Chatham Square
(Btwn Mott St & E Bdwy)
New York, NY 10038
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10 Responses to “Dim Sum Love”

  1. Johb says:

    This is also my favorite dim sum place. Their cha siu baau and coconut bun are the best.

  2. Felly Fell says:

    mmm. chive and shrimp dumplings + har gau + old asians at the counter = perfect sunday brunch. thank god it’s back!

  3. Terence says:

    I too remember going w/ my grandfather as well…. and i do recall a little pigtailed girl with pork bun coming out her mouth and one in each hand. I’m sure she would have taken more if more than 3 came on each plate! Great website sis! I’m super proud of you! keep on eating and keep on blogging!!!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Johb: especially when they are hot right out of the oven!

    Felly Fell: YES! those weeks it was closed was a dark period in my life.

    Big Bro: thanks :) and p.s. you probably found some way to trick me into giving you one anyway.

  5. Kim says:

    I also love the rice noodle roll with the shrimp! 
    Oh it’s heaven. In Philadelphia, I had that same rice noodle roll wrapped around the deep fried asian dough (not really sure of true name but … it’s called “you tiao” on wikipedia!) It was really good, and the sweet soy sauce made it even better! 

  6. [...] Dim Sum Love Chatham Restaurant (or what the locals call Hop Sing), is… [...]

  7. Aunt Jeannie says:

    you just listed ALL my favorites!!
    tell me tho- I know you probably experience
    the char shiu baos from West Coast, HK, are Hop Shings really the BEST??

    When I was in San Francisco, no one came close, not even for gai mee bau.

    You got HK foodie experience under your belt..what do you think?

    • Stephanie says:

      haha yes! Hop Sing is really the BEST. hands down!! even better than some i’ve had in HK, dare i say! i do dare. i do. Hop Sing is SO GOOD. i haven’t had anything even close to it in SF. Gai mee bao as well :) hot out of the oven at Hop Sing, it’s like eating hot krispy kremes!

  8. jasmine says:

    what camera and lens did you use for taking the delicous food?pls pm me.

  9. [...] age. While my older brother was in school (sucka), Gong Gong and I would hold court at our booth at Hop Sing. Chinese newspaper in hand, he would sip on his coffee with cream while I tried to wrap my [...]

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