Nom Wah Tea Parlor Is Back, Baby!

That's right, folks, what's apparently Chinatown's oldest tea shop has most definitely been reborn, to my incredible happiness.

For years, I've frequently wandered past Nom Wah Tea Parlor, basically because I just love Doyers Street: One of Chinatown's two original streets, it was once known as The Bloody Angle for all of the Tong Gang murders that took place there a century ago. Today it's a tiny little bend balancing old and new New York, with high-end speakeasys beginning to nestle in beside a few longtime survivors.

Each time I meandered by Nom Wah I almost went in--it's a Chinatown landmark that's been on Doyers Street since 1920. But because I had an unfortunate experience there more than ten years ago (bug in a dumpling), I always continued walking by. I hate bugs.

Recently, though, I was happy to see--and read--that Nom Wah has been revitalized by the previous owner's young nephew, Wilson Tang. He's spruced up the place and renovated the kitchen--and it is now a truly wonderful, bright, and happy space.

I finally made my way there, and--hooray--the dim sum is as tasty as the space. While it lacks the carts and the madness of the dim sum palaces most of us frequent for weekend brunch, Nom Wah's advantage is that everything is made to order. And even better, they're open until 9pm, so you can have dim sum any time of day, seven days a week. Heaven!

We filled out our card and tried a small selection of their numerous offerings. The stand-outs were the steamed roast pork buns, which were fluffy, a little yeasty, and filled with a great pork concoction; the steamed shrimp dumplings with snow pea shoots, which were almost transcendent; the fried rice, which I actually liked (I usually think it's boring); and the turnip cakes, which were crispy and actually made from fresh turnip--and therefore completely addictive.

Nom Wah also has a large selection of inexpensive teas, but it was a warm, sticky evening, so I just wasn't in the mood. Next time.

The restaurant stands out, to me, for two main reasons: it has a wonderful sense of history, and offers great food at a reasonable price. The atmosphere is also really relaxed (though we were there for an extremely early dinner), there's some new cozy window seating, and it has, by far, the cleanest bathrooms in Chinatown (which...for those of you who know, is something the neighborhood needs to work on in general). So, if things keep up, Nom Wah could easily take the crown for my favorite place in Chinatown. I'm just going to have to go back and see...

Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 13 Doyers Street.

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