dim sum garden


I was the first to get to Dim Sum Garden last week. As I waited for my friends to arrive I couldn’t help but notice the picture of a familiar food I haven’t seen in years. I immediately asked the waitress what it was. I even asked her to say it in Chinese, the only way it would ring a bell.

Pictured above is sheng jian bao. It’s kind of like XLB, a soup dumpling with pork, though it’s pan fried and has a much thicker, slightly bready outside. I was more than excited to eat these since me and my friends ordered this all the time when we were in Shanghai. In addition to the sheng jian bao, we ordered XLB, guo tie, pork noodles, and shumai.

xiao long bao


Dim Sum Garden offers a decent variety of dim sum, though I don’t think you’re getting a true dim sum experience since they’re lacking the moving carts and large variety that Ocean Harbor or Joy Tsin Lau has. The sheng jian bao and xiao long bao are pretty tasty though, and I’ll certainly be back to have em.

Does anywhere else in Philly have sheng jian bao?

guo tie


Also, in case you were wondering how to order these since the English names aren’t exactly translated 100%:
Sheng jian bao = 2a. Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Juicy Buns
Xiao long bao = 1. Shanghai Steamed Pork Juicy Buns
Guo tie = 9. Pan Fried Napa & Pork Dumplings

Dim Sum Garden
59 N. 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.627.0218

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sammy chon’s k-town bbq


I used to live across the river and have been to the Cherry Hill location of Sammy Chon’s K-Town BBQ a couple times and it’s always been a good experience. I haven’t had a chance to return even though I found out they had Korean fried chicken! Recently, a new Chinatown location opened up and that’s exactly where I was last night.

This is the second time having Korean fried chicken. My only prior experience was in NYC at Kyochon. It was a while ago so I don’t remember too much, except that it was pretty tasty. At Sammy Chon’s, they have four different varieties: soy garlic, honey sesame, spicy, and diablo. Last night I tried all but the diablo. All of them had a nice crunchy outside with a tasty sauce. The honey sesame was my favorite as I found it to be the most flavorful. The soy garlic seemed to have a little too much overpowering soy flavor. The spicy had a good kick to it, great for those who like buffalo/hot wings.


In addition to the wings, me and my dining partner. decided to split a Koagie, too. The Koagie is a Korean hoagie, comprised of either beef bulgogi, bbq chicken, or spicy pork. We went with the beef bulgogi. It comes out on a sesame seeded roll and is served with this housemade white sauce. I asked what the sauce was made of and they said it’s mayo, honey, sesame seeds, and a couple of secret ingredients. Whatever it was, it tasted good with the Koagie. The meat was flavorful and spicy. They had this available when I last visited their Cherry Hill location and I’m upset it took me this long to try it.


Lastly, the meal ended in a familiar fashion…with the yogurt!

Sammy Chon’s in Chinatown is BYO at the moment and serves some delicious food, including Korean fried chicken. Apparently they plan on opening up another floor with karaoke and they’re going to have late hours. I enjoyed what I ate and look forward to my future visits.

Sammy Chon’s K-Town BBQ
911 Race St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.574.1778

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q.t. vietnamese sandwich


Last week, I returned to Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich for the second time. The last time I was there, it was getting rather close to closing time and the staff apologized for not having their usual bread. I still thought it was pretty good. I came by for lunch this time, so they definitely had their usual bread.

I went with the #1, the House Special. This banh mi sandwich consists of Vietnamese ham & pork, pickled carrots and cucumber, jalapenos, cilantro, and mayo. It’s pretty tasty, leaves you full and isn’t too heavy on the stomach. The jalapenos gave it a nice kick, too.

Before I left, I had a quick chat with one of the women about the meat. She said that their #6, labeled as Pork, is actually pork belly. Ahh, pork belly! Why did they not write belly on the menu?! I’ve gotta come back for this one as well as the lemongrass tofu one, a popular recommendation from others.

Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich
48 N 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
267.639.4520

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sakura mandarin


When I studied abroad in Shanghai back in my college days, I fell in love with xiao long bao. Xiao long bao are steam cooked pork “soup” dumplings. A pork stock is made then cooled to gelatinize before chopped into small cubes. The cubed “soup” is then mixed in with pork meat before being wrapped into a dumpling. The soup forms when the dumplings are cooked for service. To consume properly without burning yourself, you have to sip the soup from the dumpling or pour it out into a spoon. Afterwards, you add some of the ginger-vinegar to it before eating the rest.


Since that trip, I haven’t enjoyed XLB too often since it’s not a treat you find too often and when you do, it may or may not be very good. Luckily, Philadelphia’s Sakura Mandarin serves some decent XLB. It may not be Shanghai grade, but it certainly satisfies a craving! Don’t forget to try the scallion pancakes too.

Sakura Mandarin
1038 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.873.8338

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joy tsin lau


After the success of January’s National Foodspotting day eat-up, us Philly Foodspotters decided we should meet monthly to eat and spot!


philly foodspotters: shao, dan, alex

Last weekend was the February Philly Foodspotting eat-up and since it was Chinese New Year earlier in the week, we thought it would be proper to enjoy dim sum over the weekend. We met up on Saturday afternoon at Joy Tsin Lau in Chinatown.


philly foodspotters: chris (w/ the “i just ate chicken feet” look), lou, gwen

A lot of food was taken off the carts, and here’s just a couple of the things we ate:


vegetables in tofu skin


shrimp dumplings


chicken feet


pork shumai


egg tarts

If you’ve never had dim sum before you should definitely stop in and check it out. There are some pretty delicious small bite dishes and it’s a pretty inexpensive meal (<$10-15/person).Thanks Shao for getting this one all set up and making the reservations. Follow Philly Foodspotting ringleader Alex for updates on the March eat-up.

Joy Tsin Lau
1026 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.592.7228

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