This Is One of the Oldest Chinese Restaurants in NYC
By Ron Rossi
Having lived in China for over 6 years, I did learn a great deal about Chinese restaurants, locations, and places to visit and eat. Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and a total of over 30 cities to visit while living there do give you deep love and understanding for living and eating there. So, when you're back in New York City, where you grew up, you're always looking for a great place to visit and eat in. And, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a great place to step into. Even in today’s new way we have to visit.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor: 100 Years in NYC
Since 1920, Nom Wah has been here in New York City. Located on the lower east side, right along with the same address since the beginning on Doyers Street, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a good place to visit. It is small, very much the same as 1920, and has a number of customers there waiting to go inside or eat outside.
We signed the reservation list and had to wait about 30 minutes to get inside. Once we did, the tables were spread out and protected. The team was ready also for us to be there. They brought out the menu and provided an online link for us to receive more details.
To start the process they asked if we wanted something to drink like water or tea. You can also have Chinese beer if you want. At 1 pm in the afternoon, we ordered the black Chinese tea with our meal.
We then spent time looking at the menu before putting together our list of items to the waiter. This was simple enough at the time. And, it did not take long. In fact, the first item they brought out in five minutes was the Stir-Fried Rice with Shrimp which was one of their specialties. It was that fast. When we had it in front of us we tried it.
The Stir-Fried Rice
The Stir-Fried Rice was good. It was simple. Tasty. But very dry. No moisture to it. It was that simple. The waiter stopped by and asked us what we thought. We told him we had lived in Hong Kong and had eaten this all the time.
We asked what they put in the recipe about specific items. We were told that in Hong Kong we can receive it the way they used to make it that way over there. Here, in New York, they do not do that because quests do not know about the original versions or the way items were made. It is the way things are made now that works here. That is different.
Pork Siu Mai, and More...
Next, they started to bring out the other items to consider. This included Pork Siu Mai. Shrimp Sushi Roll. Rice Rolls with Shrimp. There were also Rice Rolls with Spare Ribs which were moist and fresh. There were also Scallion Pancakes which were truly fresh, warm, and had some spice to them.
Then they brought out the Stuffed Eggplants. The three portions were moist and had the right taste. They were also firm, giving it a flavor you would like to have for a meal. This was followed by an order of Pan Fried Noodles which were warm. They even tasted like our first course of Stir-Fried Rice. The same consistency but no real moisture.
Stuffed Eggplant and Scallon. Photo by Ron Rossi
The Pork Buns
Finally, they brought out the Pork Buns. This was one large bun you could serve to 2 guests at once. The bun was white and soft. It tasted well. The inside of the pork sauce was good and firm. Another good flavor as you took a bite from the bun and enjoyed it as you ate your meal.
Pork buns. Photo by Ron Rossi
After this, we had the desert. We had two versions of White Buns. One with red beans inside. The other buns had lotus inside. These two versions of Pork Buns were very good. Just the right size and flavor. We also had one large Almond Cookie. It was perfect. And it tasted just like an almond. With a cup of tea, it was ideal.
Buns for dessert. Photo by Ron Rossi
Overall it was a good Chinese meal. This was typical of what you would find in most Chinese Restaurants located on the lower east side of Chinatown in New York City.
They all taste the same. They all offer the same variety. They all have the same price for the items they offer. It is not different from typical Chinese food from their neighbors or the area. (I even found a good Chinese restaurant that offers the same selection as I used to have in China. That is rare.)
At Nom Wah Tea Parlor the team is very nice. The offering is good. The service is nice. The price is fine. You can pay only with an AMEX Card or cash. They do not take other charge cards. This can be a bit of a problem for some guests.
Yes, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been here for 100 years. One of the first in New York. It is not as old as some of the places found out in San Francisco which are even older. And they are not like what we would find when visiting or living in China or Hong Kong.
I have even lived in the area of Shenzhen, which is the duty-free area in Southern China before you cross over to the Hong Kong border and side. Those restaurants are typical for the area. They are the type we do get used to, and love, the longer we are there.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers St.
New York, NY 10013