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February 03, 2016

Five great spots for dim sum in Philly

Where to get your fill of traditional Cantonese soup dumplings

Restaurants Dim Sum
Pan-Fried Bao with Reuben filling. Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Pan-Fried Bao with Reuben filling.

The Cantonese traditional cuisine dim sum has its roots in historical roadside establishments that served Chinese travelers and rural workers tea and dumplings to keep them energized through their journeys and labor. In its modern form, dim sum is an inviting meal format in which dumplings, buns, meats and vegetables are served from roving steam table trolleys, allowing for a taste of the many variations on ancient Chinese specialties.

Next time you're in the mood for Chinese food, let the 20 or so duplicate menus you have lay where they lie and try out these four great Philly dim sum restaurants.

Jane G's

1930 Chestnut St.

NoneContributed Art/Jane G's

Dim Sum at Jane G's.

Located in Rittenhouse Square, Jane G's offers a great upscale dim sum option with a full-service bar, live music and space for private parties. The traditional Szechuan cuisine includes noodle appetizers, hot pots of every conceivable combination, and dumplings packed with crystal shrimp, chicken shumai and crabmeat pork soup, among many others.

For seafood lovers, Jane G's also has a raw bar serving fresh oysters, shellfish and clams.

Bing Bing Dim Sum

1648 E. Passyunk Ave.

NoneThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Pan-Fried Bao with Reuben filling.

Bing Bing Dim Sum owners Ben and Shawn are self-described "dudes from Philly," not the type of multigenerational Chinese masters you might expect to run one of Philadelphia's best restaurants of its kind. Taking a personal approach to their menu, Bing Bing combines tradition with experiments in dishes like the Roast Pork Bao (sharp provolone, long hots and spinach) and the Caterpillar bread (BBQ pork, caramelized honey and sesame seed).

With a bright and lively atmosphere, Happy Hour every day of the week is a good time to stop by for drinks and deals.

Dim Sum Garden

1020 Race Street

NoneContributed Art/Dim Sum Garden

Soup dumplings at Dim Sum Garden.

With five generations of culinary knowledge, Dim Sum Garden founder and head chef Shizhou Da owns the top place in Philly for a traditional experience that emphasizes the uniquely savory texture of the soup dumpling.

From Shanghai pan fried pork soup and crabmeat dumplings to beef potato cakes and shrimp dumplings, Dim Sum Garden promises a broth-filled but substantial and varied feast. They also deliver, for those who prefer their Chinese food at home.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

218 N. 13th Street

NoneContributed Art/NomWahDimSum

Shrimp Sui Mai at Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

Originally opened in 1920 in New York City, Nom Wah Tea Parlor's Philadelphia expansion has one of the most extensive dim sum menus in the city. It differs from the other restaurants in that all of its dishes are made to order rather than served from carts. Menu highlights include the steamed dim sum sampler, House Special roast pork bun and vegetarian dumplings.

Nom Wah is also a great place for premium green, black teas and other herbal teas. If you're looking for a casual and relaxing lunch or dinner, Nom Wah is excellent dim sum option.

Ocean City Restaurant

234 N. 9th Street

NoneContributed Art/Ocean City Restaurant

Ocean City Restaurant.

This bustling Chinatown restaurant specializes in Hong Kong-style dim sum that features every type of dumpling and a complete selection of dishes typically found at standard Chinese restaurants. Ocean City Restaurant offers large-party takeout for offices and special events as well as a weekly lunchtime banquet hall specifically for dim sum service.