Guides

The Top Spots for Dim Sum in Philly Right Now

It's the season for soup dumplings, bao buns, crispy scallion pancakes, and all our favorite dim sum delicacies. Here's where to get them.

Dumplings at Dim Sum House

At Foobooz, we love dim sum: spending a lazy weekend morning (or a weeknight evening) feasting on steaming Chinese small plates, drinking tea, and enjoying good company is one of our favorite ways to dine. And ideally, dim sum is a group affair, with everyone getting a bite of each others’ favorite dishes and tasting what may be adventurous selections for the first time together. (It’s also perfectly acceptable to eat dim sum all by yourself. If you do it right — ordering at least three different, delicious dishes — you’ll have at least one meal’s worth of leftovers, something that never happens in a big crowd.)

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If you’ve never had dim sum before — with its steamy soup dumplings, tender bao buns, and crispy, flaky scallion pancakes — consider our guide a to-do list.  Know that some restaurants only serve dim sum during certain hours (daytime), but most serve whenever they’re open — and that at a few places in Chinatown and one in South Philly, they bring roving carts of dishes to you, with servers stamping your table’s card based on the dishes you grab, then let you settle up at the cash afterwards. (Yes, you should still tip.)

Get a primer on the ins and outs of this delicious Chinese tradition here — then work your way through our guide to the top dim sum in Philly right now.


Joy Tsin Lau, Chinatown
Traditionally, dim sum is served for breakfast or brunch — and Joy Tsin Lau sticks to that, with a fully separate menu that’s served from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. seven days a week. The menu includes an extensive selection of dumplings, wontons, rolls, shu mai, and sweets like egg custard and coconut pudding — plus items like chicken feet, taro cake, duck tripe, and squid topped with curry sauce.
Ordering style: À la carte

Dim Sum House, University City
Jane Guo brought dim sum west along with partner Jackson Fu to open this spot, which offers not one but two styles of dim sum. The Cantonese-style menu includes bites like chicken feet, turnip cakes, and sticky rice, while the Shanghai menu offers soup dumplings, scallion pancake, and wontons with spicy chile oil, among other treats. Even better? For those who prefer their dim sum during late night, it’s open till 2 a.m. — complete with a full bar and a pool table.
Ordering style: À la carte

Jade dumplings at Bing Bing Dim Sum

Bing Bing Dim Sum, East Passyunk
Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s dumpling-centric spot offers a hipsteriffic take on dim sum classics, with dishes like lox bao buns (stuffed with smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese) and beef dumplings spiked with caraway seed, mustard, and dill. The full menu includes inventive takes on noodle and rice dishes, too — try dishes like a spicy, mushroom-based mapo tofu and a butternut squash-based congee topped with chicken meatballs and a soft-cooked egg.
Ordering style: À la carte

Imperial Inn, Chinatown
Be sure to try the shrimp rolls, a fan favorite, at this old-school spot on north 10th Street. You can also get your dim sum treats served with a side of “volcanic flame”: order the pu pu platter for an assortment of appetizers that you can “roast to your heart’s content.”
Ordering style: From a cart

Wokano, South Philly
South Philly’s only authentic dim sum spot features carts brimming with dishes like bean curd, both steamed and pan-fried dumplings, and barbecued spare ribs. There are also Americanized standards like fried rice, lo mein, and kung pao chicken — but we recommend starting with something you may not have tried before, like steamed lotus leaf rice or baked conch served in its own shell. An added bonus if you’re traveling on four wheels: Wokano is the only dim sum spot in the city that we know of with its own parking lot.
Ordering style: From a cart

Tom’s Dim Sum/Facebook

Tom’s Dim Sum, Chinatown
This spot in the 11th Street tunnel, sandwiched between Reading Terminal Market and the Greyhound bus station, isn’t much to look at from the outside. But the dim sum menu there is one of the best around and a perennial Foobooz favorite. The scallion pancakes are featherlight and less than $4, the soup dumplings thin-skinned and piping hot, made by the titular tom, a OG from the days when Dim Sum Garden occupied the spot who returned to make the place his own — and just as good as ever.
Ordering style: À la carte

Sang Kee Peking Duck House, Chinatown
This spot, tucked just south of the Vine Street Expressway on 9th street, is known for its duck, roasted to a deep golden brown with a shellac-like crispy skin. But its extensive menu — and we mean extensive — includes Chinese dishes from multiple regions (including Americanized dishes), Thai cuisine, ramen, and a solid list of dim sum bites. It’s all there, from spring rolls to bao buns; don’t miss the barbecued spare rib “bits,” crispy shrimp rolls, and pan-fried dumplings.
Ordering style: À la carte

Dim Sum Garden, Chinatown
Back in the old days, before the Chinatown buses were shut down, Dim Sum Garden occupied the 11th Street tunnel spot where Tom’s is now — and it was the perfect meal to welcome you back to Philly after a dirt-cheap trip to New York or D.C. Now, find their dim sum delicacies — a batch of pork soup dumplings with turnip cake and steamed bok choy is our go-to order — a few blocks away on Race Street west of 10th Street.
Ordering style: À la carte

Ocean Harbor/Facebook

Ocean Harbor, Chinatown
At Ocean Harbor, the carts are stocked with piping hot treats like soup dumplings, fried taro root, and sticky rice. And true to its name, the restaurant offers a wide variety of seafood options, from lobster and shrimp to braised abalone, cold jellyfish, and eel.
Ordering style: From a cart

Jane G’s, Rittenhouse

While Jane G’s specializes in Szechuan cuisine, the dinner menu includes a full section of dumplings, with many dim sum favorites on the hot and cold appetizer menus. Don’t miss the shu mai, open-topped wontons stuffed with meat, or the Beef Lover’s Quarrel, a combination of beef cuts served with peanuts, chili oil, and cilantro.
Ordering style: À la carte

Ocean City, Chinatown
Ocean City’s menu boasts nearly 250 items, from wonton soup to sizzling intestine with black pepper sauce. But it’s the roving dim sum carts, stocked with dumplings, salt-roasted chicken feet, and barbecued scallops served in the shell, that keeps us coming back.
Ordering style: From a cart

SuGa/Facebook

SuGa, Rittenhouse
Susanna Foo’s city outpost offers a full slate of dim sum delicacies every Saturday and Sunday for brunch: staples like potstickers, wontons, spring rolls, and cucumber salad, plus a few items with nontraditional touches, like yellowfin tuna tacos and mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce. But if you’re dining during the week, know that many dim sum items pop up on the dinner menu as well.
Ordering style: À la carte

Shanghai 1, Chinatown
With a standalone menu of dim sum appetizers, Shangai 1 is a great spot to get a taste of some small plates you may not have had before: try the scallion pancake spiked with beef, marinated wheat gluten (a.k.a. seitan), the chive and egg pocket, which they call a “calzone,” and an omelette-like oyster pancake, a Taiwanese import. The dim sum menu has all the familiar favorites, like soup dumplings and shu mai, plus, if the mood strikes, chicken wings and French fries.
Ordering style: À la carte

Dim Sum & Noodle, Logan Square
Sandwiched between the Rodin Museum and the Community College of Philadelphia, this spot offers a menu of Chinese classics along with ramen bowls and, of course, dim sum. Try the edamame spiced with peppercorns, the steamed dumplings stuffed with watercress, and the char siu bao, or barbecued pork steamed buns.
Ordering style: À la carte

China Gourmet/Yelp

China Gourmet, Northeast Philly
This hidden gem on Bustleton Avenue specializes in Cantonese-style dim sum, but don’t expect any Americanized touches: while carts serve classic fare like steamed buns, soup dumplings, and chicken feet every day from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., the regular menu is more intriguing, offering items like salted pig feet, duck tongue in soy sauce, and sautéed frog any style that will make those seeking out some authentic Chinese dishes want to stay for dinner.
Ordering style: From a cart