Boston area dim sum

Unfortunately, it may be post-pandemic for most of you, but it’s only late-pandemic for me, and my dim-summing in the last two years has largely been take-out from Winsor in Chinatown about which I’ve talked upthread.


Like Fooddabbler, I’m also in late pandemic mode—not dining inside restaurants yet—so I can’t be super helpful. The one tidbit I can offer is that Hei La Moon recently moved. Details here at Boston Restaurant Talk.


I’m being optimistic… I’m not sure I’ll actually do it when push comes to shove… but, planning another booster and staying optimistic.

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Thanks - as I recall one of the benefits of their old spot was parking. Will have to look into the change if we’re going to venture out.


OK, you’ve strong-armed me into a more substantive response. I assume when you come here next you’d like something to compare against NYC, and I’ll use JF as a reference point (in the comparisons below, Winsor is W and Jing Fong is JF):

  1. All standard dumplings (har gau, siu mai, etc,):
    I have to give it to JF on balance (see above).

  2. Turnip cake:
    Again, JF on the looseness of the “cake” over every other tightly packed version.
    Ymmv, and you may well prefer W.

  3. Fried shrimp and chive dumplings:
    Absolutely W.

  4. Sticky rice in lotus leaf:
    Toss-up because the two versions are different. W has Chinese sausage, GF has shrimp.

Apart from all this, the W menu is significantly larger (although it lacks a particular JF favorite: Chicken and Salt Fish Rice) and I suggest you wander off the official dim sum list to “Special Snacks” and visit dishes such as the panfried rice noodle/cake with XO sauce. I haven’t had the time yet (although I do have the gumption) to try “White Turnip & Beef Entrails”, or “Cart Sale Noodle Soup” (intriguing one, that), but perhaps you will and you’ll report back.


Another takeout from Winsor a few days ago, another success. Prices are higher now than a few months ago (as everywhere) and just for the record I’ll list the old and new prices in a few places.

Knockouts (the ones with an “[N]” are ones we tried for the first time):
Chau chau pork dumplings with peanuts (and even crunchier water chestnuts)
[N] Spinach and shrimp dumplings (our usual is shrimp and chive)
[N] Steamed chicken buns (we usually do pork)
Sticky rice in lotus leaf w/sausage
Fried shrimp and chive dumplings (we adore this enough to get 3 orders lately)
[N] Pork and preserved egg congee (if you get it to take out, stir up the salty egg yolks from the bottom).

Price/dish: $4.95 previously, $5.69 now

We also got for the first time salty fish and chicken fried rice (I was wrong above when I said they did not have it) – a light version, but very tasty ($10.95 previously, $12.95 now), brisket lo mein (the beef is 5-spiced), egg yolk lava buns (not as oozy as I’d like), spicy salted squid (a little burnt), and panfried pork dumplings with a pasty pork filling that reminded me a bit texturally of the pasty beef fillings in many Jamaican beef patties.

Our usual dessert here is the silken tofu, always excellent.

With tax and tip the total cost was a shade north of $150. We got about 10 meals out of it (but we’re no longer the huge eaters of yore). $15/meal is very good value for food of this quality, but it’s not rock-bottom-cheap either.


If you like your lava buns oozy, you should do a quick resteam to get it super hot! Most dim sum places don’t get them to true flowing stage, probably for safety reasons as well.

One of my favorites at Windsor is their crispy bean curd sheet rolls. When they do that will, it’s a crisp, not too oily, really tasty, and vegetarian roll.

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Won’t that further congeal/cook the yolks?

The salted egg yolks are already solid and often cooked. The curing with salt usually hardens the yolk. I’m not sure the exact recipe, but they blend the cooked/solid egg yolks that with sugar and whatever else they put in there before it’s stuffed into the dough for steaming. I’ve never truly had ones I’ve tried in the US get super oozey, like the ones I’ve had in HK, but they should at least be more like a stiffer batter and not clumpy . Proceed with caution, depending on whether you like the experience of being burned by soup dumplings; it can be a similar experience.

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Thanks. Very instructive.

With parking in Chinatown such a pain, we’ve discovered and come to appreciate Joyful Garden in Watertown. It’s in the Target/Best Buy mall across from Arsenal Yards. Despite the location, it reminds me a bit of our old Chinatown favorite, Hei La Moon. A large, open dining room, filled with mostly large, round tables occupied with Asian families and business men, groups of women getting together, young couples, and a (very) few gringos like my husband and me. You can choose from the meandering carts, or if you haven’t seen something you’ve been craving, you can order from the menu, which is primarily dim sum. Food quality and variety is excellent, prices and experience similar to Chinatown. Lots of parking in front and in back.


I’m so glad they have survived the whole Covid mess. I was worried for then. We enjoyed them pre Covid a lot and you’re right the parking is so nice and easy. Thanks for posting!!


Just to make sure everything is cross-referenced (they don’t call me foodabbler-the-wannabe-librarian for nothing), there’s a mention of Joyful Garden upthread and a link to a separate JG thread.

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OOPS! But, it was from Pre-Pandemic times–as was a reference to another sadly closed favorite–Shangri-la. Am I forgiven?

Thankfully, they still seem open (although the location is no longer “new”):

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Got takeout again from Winsor yesterday. Many of our old favorites sang as mellifluously as before: steamed shrimp dumplings, both the version with chives and the one with spinach, the always-superb deep fried shrimp and chive dumplings (got 3 orders, one for each of us, that’s how much we love 'em – but see NOTE below), the steamed chicken buns, and the sticky rice in lotus leaf. The Chau Chow pork dumplings, though, were still filled with lovely, crunchy water chestnuts, peanuts and the like, but the pork was hard to find. [This sort of cost-cutting is now pretty common: The Forage Wine dinners I’ve praised elsewhere are now increasingly low on meat.]

New to us this time were the steamed sticky-rice rolls: a visually curious cylinder of beige sticky rice steamed in a white dough wrapper. But the rice sang (I’m on a musical kick here – just be grateful that I don’t start singing) with flavors: 5 spice, perhaps tiny traces of Sichuan peppercorn, and even tinier flecks of dried pork. It made for quite a chorus in the mouth.

I also got the beef lo mein: thin noodles in a tasty, scalliony sauce, with slices of beef (not the usual strings) with a tenderness far better than they have any right to have in an “ordinary” dish such as this.

Cost for all this: $67 (before tip). We got 3 meals out of it yesterday, and enough left over for two more tonight.

(Comparisons are odious, and all, but Pagu had a rarified dim sum brunch yesterday at $60 a pop, only available initially to AmEx Gold Card members on Resy. Hard to believe that the food would have been any better, at four to five times the cost – but, yes, I understand ambience and the like.)

NOTE: Like all fried things, these fried shrimp&chive triangles are best eaten right away before they are entombed in styrofoam (@digga alert!). But if you must takeout, as I still must, grab the order as soon as it is ready, rush it to your car --parked just outside (I had to circle thrice to get that spot) – find the correct container in the bag, and eat two immediately to capture their full, glorious crisposity (hey, if “crispy” has now become the preferred word over the simpler “crisp”, I make a plea for “crisposity”). Then take the rest home to your wife and daughter. (But, they do re-crisp well on a nonstick griddle.)




Not just that, but very crispocious.


Agree on Joyful Garden. I found the quality during pandemic better than downtown Ctown. More, recently visited East Ocean in Qunicy and liked it alot. I work near Ctown so I still used it (Great taste is my local favorite).

If you’re in the lowell area, China Star Dim Sum Lounge on Middlesex st by the Rourke Bridge does pretty decent cart dim sum. They have it on weekdays, too.