My most recent dim sum experience last weekend was marred by a stuffy nose, a woozy head, a sore throat, and lethargy. Why didn't I just stay home and recover? Because the pull of dim sum (and seeing dim sum-eating friends) is a strong force, one that caused me to roll out of bed at 8:30 a.m. so I could trek from Bed-Stuy to Flushing and get to Jade Asian Restaurant at 10:30 a.m., before the Chinese New Year parade would take over the streets. But I begin this post with a summary of of my cold symptoms as the reasoning behind my markedly decreased eating capacity and adventurousness compared to previous outings. This isn't a full dim sum report as much as a post to say, "This place is quite nice. Also, here are some photos."
The restaurant has a few aesthetically pleasing qualities going for it, probably because it's only a few years old, taking the space previously occupied by Gum Fung. Unlike some other Chinese restaurants, Jade Asian Restaurant uses a desaturated shade of red that won't burn your retinas. If you've been to enough places where the red of the walls and tablecloth glows with nearly radioactive qualities, you'll appreciate this color choice. Another plus is that their bathrooms are nice. Not just clean, but...nice. Just another little thing like the choice of red hue that, while unrelated to the food, might make your dining experience better.
And now on to the food. No dish stood out as amazing, but everything tasted fresh. There were plenty of choices at 10:30 a.m. Here are some of my favorite dishes.
Shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings: I like pretty much any dumpling made with the mildly chewy, semi-translucent wheat starch and tapioca starch-based skins.These babies feature shrimp and snow pea leaf.
Har gow: Classic shrimp dumplings—you can't go wrong with these.
Shrimp Chee Cheong Fun: Soft rice noodle rolls filled with plump shrimp—another dish you can't go wrong with. The portion looked a bit smaller than from most other dim sum restaurants, but the noodles and shrimp also tasted fresher than average, so I wouldn't complain too much.
We also tried a ground meat-filled version (and when I say ground meat, I mean something fish cake-like, not what you would find in a Sloppy Joe) that, while perfectly fine, didn't win me over as much as the shrimp did.
Rice noodle-wrapped crullers: Still one of my favorites. Can't resist the combination of thin, chewy rice noodle around chewier and slightly crispy fried bread.
Char siu sou: Roast pork-stuffed pastries of intense flakiness where pastry and meat meld together in fat-based harmony.
Chinese broccoli: Because you should eat a vegetable at some point.
Steamed Malay Sponge Cake: One of my favorite dim sum dishes despite only being the second time I had ever eaten it, the first time being at Perfect Team Corporation. It's a very simple cake: soft, moist, faintly sweet, with a distinctly eggy flavor and a barely perceptible layer of sweet paste in between the rolled up cake layers.
Turnip cakes: These turnip cakes were lighter and more tender than what I'm used to. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on your preference—if you want something with more crisp and chew, this isn't for you. But at least it won't leaden your stomach.
Jade Asian Restaurant
13628 39th Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354 (map)