New York: Oriental Gardens

Oriental Gardens

14 Elizabeth St
(between Bayard St & Canal St)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Chinatown

One of the greatest finds from our short New York visit was “Oriental Gardens” in China Town. I guess it was one of the most interesting experiences in the city. Since I moved from Sydney, I never really could find a restaurant anywhere else, which serves yum cha, or pretty much “dumplings on the trolley”. Or even just dumplings for that matter. I found some places in London, but they didn`t really make a good impression. But here in New York, yum cha was called “lunch” good lunch to be honest, I can`t wait to go back and have even more dumplings!

We found the restaurant by pure luck, and with a little Zagat help. Wandering around in China Town we were a bit lost. Shall we eat here or there? Everything looked good or interesting. And I was a bit afraid we going to miss out something really good. The choise went to Oriental Gardens, the price range noted in the book and the review was pretty good, and we were only a block away. The fact that we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table was a bit uncomfortable but very exciting at the same time. The place was PACKED, and packed is good, meaning the food is good! So if you visit you have to be very lucky to be seated straight away, and get ready to possibly share your table with somebody else. Which actually doesn`t bothert me, this way you can meet some interesting people!

So, the food. Waitresses were walking around serving chinese dumplings finest, like spring rolls, and bbq pork bun, and steamed chicken dumplings and many many fried goods. If you didn`t like that selection, or just had a few things in mind, you could ick from a very long list of dumplings, noodles, soups from the menu. We said yes to almost everything, and ended up eating a lot, but I knew im not going to see much dumpling for a while, so no guilty feeling there!

The dumplings were nice, my favourite of all time are bbq pork buns. I’m crazy for them. There were 2 things I really disliked, but at some point I expected it! The mini prawns!!!! In everything!!! You order chicken, there prawns in it! Pork..the same! And I don`t eat seafood, so it was a bit annoying, trying to dig them out with a chopstick! The other thing, the hot and sour soup was really disappointing! It was just pure hot and tasteless. Try and avoid it! But finally I had steamed pok choi again! One of my favourite vegetables, which are sometimes very hard to get a hand on in Europe.

If you are in China Town, visit Oriental Gardens, I highly recommend it!

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