Two well-regarded dumpling houses. Two sets of similar (but not identical) dishes. First, the shrimp thing.
Dim Sum VIP serves beautiful shrimp dumplings with thin, slick skins and firm, fresh shrimp inside.
Tim Ho Wan’s shrimp rice roll isn’t as good. The shrimp are smaller and tougher, and the roll is oddly greasy.
Advantage: Dim Sum VIP. Next, the vegetable thing.
Dim Sum VIP offers a vegetable bun that’s steamed and then fried, for the indecisive diner. It’s ok. It also takes a long time to arrive. The shell is pretty nice, but the filling (not pictured, because I’m sure no one wants to see a bun that I took a bite out of) is mushroom mush, and doesn’t taste like much.
Tim Ho Wan, on the other hand, presented me with probably the best vegetable dumplings I’ve ever had. The skin was glutinous and transparent, the vegetables inside still crunchy and distinct from one another.
Advantage: Tim Ho Wan. My other concerns are price and comfort and wait time. Tim Ho Wan’s more expensive (albeit not by much), but that’s to be expected what with the Michelin star and the Union Square location. I had to wait only about five minutes at 1pm today - prime lunch hour, but also miserable weather. I went to Dim Sum VIP the day of the Lunar Parade and was lucky enough to race in just in time to score one of the last counter seats. I move fast. Faster than these people.
As for comfort, at Tim Ho Wan, I had a table to myself in a quiet part of the room. At Dim Sum VIP, I faced the wall, seated on a wooden stool at a counter about the width of a tea saucer. No contest there, but I still think, all things considered, the two establishments battled to a draw.