Jing Fong

09. September 2004 Chinatown, Chinese 0

20 Elizabeth Street between Canal and Bayard
about $60 for two, without drinks, without tip
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You can’t miss Jing Fong with its shopping mall-style escalators. Sunday is the best day to go for dim sum to experience just one Chinese tradition in the middle of Elizabeth Street. There’s a lady at the bottom of the escalators who screams into a microphone to call out people’s parties. Upstairs is like a madhouse bingo hall. A true red and gold banquet awaits guests and round tables are shared with strangers. Waiters push rolling food carts around so you can stop them and peek at the small dim sum dishes. A lot of them don’t speak English; they just tell you the Chinese word for a dish over and over, hoping you’d back down and stop asking.

My only advice is to try whatever looks interesting and skip the mixed fried rice you usually end up getting from a Chinese takeout. I never know the names of my favorite dishes but I go for a lot of shumais and dumplings when I’m with friends who just want the familiar, or else I go for chicken feet and snails when I’m with dim sum regulars. There is also a long table up front so you can pick other hot dishes not available in the rolling carts. If you feel more comfortable ordering from an English menu, they have it available for dishes served in larger portions.