When you think of great soup dumplings, Philadelphia doesn't immediately spring to mind. But this grimy looking spot (at least on the outside) under a parking garage and next to the recently closed Chinatown Bus Station is one of the best hangover dining options in the city. Philly has some good dim sum palaces around the corner in Chinatown, where the lines stretch down the block on weekends, but the blazing neon red decoration and carts slamming into the back of your chair might not do too much to help your hangover.
Dim Sum Garden's no frills atmosphere and attentive, no-nonsense service is perfect for sweating out a few bottles of bourbon, and the food is amazing, whether you're in pain or not.
Mapo Tofu and greens sauteed with garlic are both must-orders: the tofu just hot enough, the greens bright and still slightly crunchy for some much needed vegetables to counteract the 17 beers and 3 a.m. tacos from the night before. The cold cucumber, slightly sweet with rice wine marinade, is refreshing and costs about 3 dollars. I could eat it every day.
But this place is really about the dumplings. All of the different varieties are hand made, usually in the dining room, and all are delicious, but the pork Xiao Long Bao, known as "Juicy Buns" on the menu, will blow your mind. Piping hot, each pouch is filled with fatty, rich broth that rivals some of the more intense ramen I've had, plus juicy knobs of pork. After about four of these, you'll be ready to go back to bed.
Dim Sum Garden
59 N 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (map); 215-627-0218
Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.
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