Great Dim Sum in Irvine area?

Anyone got recommendations for a dim sum place (full experience with the carts) around Irvine?

Not in the area but curious why you want carts?

It’s part of the whole experience. You don’t like them?

I and most others would agree, I believe, that a menu gives you cooked to order. Hotter and fresher. And things that can’t be served from carts for that reason. So, no, while I mostly have to have them I far, far prefer menu.

I and most others would agree

That’s quite a generalization. Perhaps you haven’t been to a good dim sum place? Carts wheel food out as soon as they’re cooked. And again, it’s part of the whole experience.

I wrote it “gives you cooked to order.”

Yes, the food starts out hot but by the time the cart works its way through the room, it may have lost both heat and texture.

Have you had dim sum at Dragon Beaux in SF? Menu with an occasional tray brought around with a thing or two to tide you over til the food arrives :slight_smile:

I apologize for sidetracking this from your OP.

Times change. Dim sum carts are nearly extinct in Asia now. Most of the reputable dim sum places in 2018 have done away with them. Ordering from the kitchen is very much the vogue now for dim sum.

You’re not gonna find high quality dim sum and carts in the same restaurant. It’s not a generalization.

Also you’re looking for it in Irvine which is already makes your search that much harder. I hope you get the point. Until Tim Ho Wan opens your choices for decent dim sum are very much narrow. Honestly other than Capital Seafood by default I have no idea what else anyone would suggest.

1 Like

J Zhou and that’s about it. Not on carts as others have mentioned.


Sam Woo and China Garden in Irvine both also have dim sum–Sam Woo is the better of the two (and J Zhou better still) but no carts,

This is my take on carts vs. no carts from a couple years ago. Definitely go with J Zhou.

GREAT history and explanation. Hopefully OP is still around.

Hopefully OP is still around.

There’s a fine line between helpfulness and sanctimony. I appreciate your insight with the former.

Chandavki, I’ve enjoyed your informative posts in the past. But your article is highly subjective. You talk of dim sum being introduced to southern CA as take-out only. Interesting history. However, you didn’t mention the “yum cha” dining experience at all. To some people, that’s the most important aspect of dim sum. In fact, the two phrases are often used interchangeably.

And the experience is what I was going for with my original post. Carts may be going out of fashion, and the best quality food may now be from cartless menus, but I was taking a group of non-asian friends out who had never had dim sum, so I wanted the fullest experience for them. Carts are fun.

Drink some tea, see the food, pick the food, eat the food. Have fun. Yum Cha.

I ended up taking them to Capital Seafood. No, not the best tasting, but they and their kids loved the experience.


Typically ambience is not a factor in my writings nor is it on message boards like this because the food is the subject. If you specifically ask a question like where to take people who have never had dim sum for the first experience, as opposed to merely where to go for dim sum, you’ll get different answers whether it’s from me or the board. The initial request was a little vague in that the board knows that there are many people around who don’t realize the gap between cart and no cart dim sum as far as quality is concerned, and responded accordingly. The best example is if you asked the question about Manhattan Chinatown. There is a restaurant called Jing Fong which has a second floor dining room holding 800 to 900 people, a massive escalator ferrying you from the ground floor to the dining room, and ladies with walkie talkies at the bottom and top of the escalator communicating the arrival of patrons. If you ask me where to take a first time dim sum patron in New York Chinatown I always recommend Jing Fong. If you ask me where to go for dim sum in New York Chinatown, I never mention Jing Fong because their dim sum is just average.


Oh, gosh, I hadn’t thought of that place in years! Once and only once. It’s the first and worst place I saw people going across the room - a REALLY large room - to all but attack the cart ladies to get what they wanted. Ah, what a (non) lovely stroll down memory lane :slight_smile: Now tell me where would you recommend or a non first time???

@Slohcooker, I re-read these replies and really didn’t see any sanctimony.

I read this and get vivid flashbacks of cart dim sum @ Dragon Phoenix in Little Saigon, except replace the massive escalator with a primitive circular staircase and undersized elevator.

Ok it seems you want our opinions but you don’t want opinions that don’t agree with you.

What if I said that the whole cart experience is at the expense of the workers who probably don’t feel good having to pretend to give a shit about you while serving you. These people aren’t here for your enjoyment and they get paid shit too. We’re not here to entertain your romanticized image of dimsum there’s a reason why carts are out of fashion in addition to quality control, nobody wants to work them. I can compare it to the demeaning plantation style outfits the female employees wear at Lawry’s but at least they make a fair amount of tips.

Simply put: My people aren’t here for your entertainment. I don’t know if you’re Chinese but if you aren’t I don’t think you can define what you think is the definitive “dim sum” experience. That’s not your place.


Don’t think this exist in Irvine. Your closest bet would be Seafood Cove 2 in Little Saigon.

Wow. That’s a whole lot of bitter.

1 Like

Can anyone substantiate this? Do the cart people get any of the tip? Do they get paid “shit”? TIA.