New World – Dim sum

new world

November 14th, 2012

I went to see an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery yesterday with Oli – Art of Change, New Directions from China and it seemed fitting to go and eat Dim sum at the New World in Chinatown afterwards.

Dim sum originates from the Canton region of China and is normally served at lunchtime. It generally consists of small portions of food steamed in baskets or deep fried. The name Dim sum means touch the heart and would originally have been snack food served with tea. It’s especially popular in Hong Kong and commonly whole families go out to eat Dim sum together at weekends.

dim sum service

I’ve been going to New World since the 1980’s – especially with Oli and what we really like about the place is the trolley service. Girls (generally) push heated trolleys around the restaurant and each trolley contains a different set of food in baskets or on plates. The servers show you what their baskets contain and encourage you to eat the contents. New World may not be the best Dim sum in London, but there’s something special and authentic about the trolley service and it’s just not the same ordering from a menu.

Dim sum comes with a large pot of Chinese tea – I’ve no idea which kind, but we always get through two pots of it. I should make more effort to find ou what kind and buy some because it’s very good!

phoenix claws

We ate our usual favourites – the chicken feet (Phoenix claws) are fantastic, served in a chilli sauce – I could have eaten 2 portions.

sui mai

Sui Mai are ground pork, prawns and Chinese black or Shiitake mushrooms wrapped in pasta or gyoza wrappers.

deep fried squid balls

Deep fried squid or cuttlefish balls have an odd, fluffy and chewy texture – served with mayonnaise.

woo kok

Woo Kok are stringy yam dumplings stuffed with ground pork and mushrooms.

shark’s fin

Shark’s Fin – before you lynch me, these are fake – we did ask first and they are made with pork and prawn, in the style of the original Shark’s Fin and pork wrapped in pasta.

prawn and vegetables

Prawn and vegetables are like mini spring rolls, steamed in translucent pasta.

pork cheong fun

Cheong Fun is a rice noodle roll which can be filled with beef, pork, prawns or vegetables.    Also known as Chee Cheong Fun – Chee Cheon means pig intestine, which is what the shape of the noodle resembles. Normally served in sweet soy sauce.

har kau

Har Kau are another type of prawn dumpling – sometimes called a shrimp bonnet. Chefs are judged by the quality of their Har Kau – the pasta should be transparent and the dumpling should not stick to the paper or basket.

I could possibly have forced myself to eat a few more, but the above was just right for a hungry person like myself. I always feel very happy after eating Dim sum – I don’t know if it has something to do with the soy sauce, the tea or just the delicious combination of flavours releasing endorphins in my brain…

New World is at: 1 Gerrard Place, W1D 5PA

At the weekend: New World open up the first floor and basement to accommodate the extra people – my advice is to stick to the ground floor, the food is at its freshest as there’s a fast turnover and often more special dishes.

2016 – currently the trolley service is only available on Sundays and bank holidays.

The Essential Guide to Dim Sum

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21 Responses to New World – Dim sum

  1. Tessa says:

    I love dim sum! The only problem is that there is no place that I know of locally here in Southern Oregon that prepares it well. The only time I get to have really good dim sum is when we visit Chinatown in San Francisco.

  2. I went for Dim Sum for the first time this year! I loved it.. this reminded me of some of the dishes we ate! This could be totally addicting for every weekend!

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    A friend and I were just talking about meeting in ChinaTown one afternoon for a little Dim Sum. It’s been ages and I always enjoyed it. I think I’ll send him a link to this post. I can think of no better way to persuade him.

  4. Looks like a great dim sum restaurant. So delicious. I’ll have to look for one here 🙂

  5. eidassss says:

    I would have thought you needed one wafer thin mint after all that lot.

  6. Happy memories – we used to go there as children with my parents back in the day. Do they still count the plates to come up with the bill? I think it´s Jasmine tea….which I love!

    • Mad Dog says:

      What fantastic parents you have! I didn’t get to go there until I was in my mid twenties.
      These days they put a piece of paper on your table and tick little boxes to keep a tally of the dishes. Counting the plates almost sounds Spanish 🙂

  7. What a mouth watering post. We used to take the children there when they were very young, some 30 years ago. Your pictures show that nothing has changed. I loved the trolley service. We also used to eat at Poons in Covent Garden where they served my favourite sounding dish of Ducks feet and Fish lips:)

    • Mad Dog says:

      I knew you’d know it! I did have duck’s feet in New World once, but they are not as good as chicken feet. I wish I’d had the duck feet and fish lips at Poons 🙂

  8. Well now I know where Leandro and I are going when we make a UK trip this summer (fingers crossed!). This is just lovely, lovely, lovely. What a terrific way to spend a lunchtime.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Fingers crossed – it would be nice to meet up 🙂
      On a busy day New World reminds me of the start to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – the big Busby Berkeley like scene in the Chinese restaurant…

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