Dim sum brunch in Chinatown has had a permanent spot on my New York bucket list, on a spot that hasn’t budged in my last 2.5 years of residence. Chinatown still intimidates me a bit and I haven’t felt knowledgeable enough to distinguish between the dozens of similar looking restaurants to go to the right place.
Of course you can always brave the line with tourists at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, but luckily I have a friend who happens to be an expert eater who helped me navigate the Canal Street waters. My friend Josh Beckerman, also known at the Foodie Magician on Instagram, makes a living off the strange and amazing combination at eating out at the country’s best restaurants and performing magic tricks. When we decided to join forces for a recent brunch, he took me to his favorite dim sum in the city, Golden Sand Restaurant, a true hidden gem on East Broadway. He has eaten his way through Chinatown so I fully trusted his recommendation and wasn’t deterred by the old-school signage, gaudy gold dragon statues, and tired red carpet, reminiscent of an Asian-inspired casino. After we ascended a large staircase from the street level, I was surprised to see that the restaurant was huge and absolutely packed on a Sunday at 1 p.m. Despite the business, a hurried server in a maroon tuxedo whisked us to a large circular table that could have easily sat ten other diners.
We were provided a card to track our dim sum order for our final bill and two teacups, although our pot of tea never arrived to the table. Neither of us really minded though; we were ready to eat.
In traditional dim sum fashion, servers push around carts filled to the brim with various dishes and you can pick your bites right then and there. I’m glad I had Josh as a guide since there was an overwhelming amount of choices. We could have gone exotic with options such as chicken claws and duck web, but I instructed Josh to grab his tried and true favorites from his years of dining at Golden Sand. Below are the highlights from the dim sum cart, which are fully Bitch and Foodie Magician-approved. Veggie dumplings: Easy to share and served in a large portion.
Shrimp rice rolls: This is the Food Magician’s number one pick and I saw it right before my eyes…he made it disappear! My only complaint was that I wanted more shrimp; the seafood was all standout at Golden Sand.
Bean Curd rolls: Unexpectedly, this was my favorite bite of the afternoon. Perfectly greasy, crunchy, and served with a zingy sauce.
Pork and shrimp shumai: All that I remember is that these were really fried and hearty, perfect for a hangover. This dish was lost in the shuffle compared to more memorable bites.
Sticky rice in bamboo leaves and pork buns: The pork buns didn’t compare to my all-time favorite variety from Ippudo, but these were still quite tasty and filling. I enjoyed having the sticky rice to munch on in between the round of dumplings.
We eventually slowed down and realized we were a bit overzealous with our order as we had tons of leftovers. I had to pick my jaw off the floor when I saw our final tab–only $26 total for this feast. We could have skipped a few plates and shaved even more off the meager bill. It’s a pretty rare occurrence to find such cheap brunch eats downtown.
The Bitches say: A-. Come for an authentic dim sum meal that won’t break the bank in the heart of Chinatown. Order anything with shrimp and you’re in for a treat.
Golden Sand Seafood Restaurant
39 E. Broadway
New York, NY
Golden Sand serves dim sum every day beginning at 9 a.m.