Most Chinese people roll their eyes in disbelief when I tell them that my favorite dim sum place in the city is Dim Sum Go Go. They then proceed to tell me that Dim Sum Go Go is the most Americanized place on Earth, can’t you tell by all the white people around you? Which, in fact, is true, I don’t see a lot of native Chinese people frequenting the restaurant. The natural follow up is their 2 cents on better dim sum places in the city, in which names like Golden Unicorn or Jing Fong get thrown around. The conversation is then concluded with a sigh and a shake of the head about how Manhattan has bad Chinese food, and for the really good stuff one has to trek out to Flushing.
With a long weekend and an expiring car rental on our hands, we decided it was now or never, we were finally going to make the trip out to Queens and see what the big fuss was about. We had heard very good things about the dim sum at Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant, so we typed the address into Google Maps and were on our way. While a car ride is highly convenient compared to a long, slow ride on the 7 train, the downside is that you have to find street parking or pay a high fee for a garage. Luckily, Asian Jewels offers free parking on the premises.
We arrived at around 10:30 am, which is pretty early for dim sum, so the two of us didn’t have to wait at all for a table. Good thing we came early–at around 11 am, a huge crowd of hungry customers had formed near the entrance and out into the streets. Once we were seated, we were ready for the games to begin. The Chinese servers were strolling up and down the aisles hawking their wares, and as soon as we saw what we wanted, we hurriedly waved them over.
Here’s what I liked about the dim sum at Asian Jewels – inventory. We were able to get all the things we wanted in about 10 minutes–shu mai, congee, shrimp dumplings, chicken feet, duck feet (this was new!), shrimp balls and spare ribs. It took a little longer to get the shrimp rice noodle roll, and the char siu bao made an appearance at the last minute, but otherwise I was pretty happy with the selection. There were also a lot of other exotic things that were being offered, but there’s only so much that two people can eat. I appreciate how the carts were fully stocked and replenished frequently, and how they actually made their way through the whole restaurant. One of my biggest dim sum pet peeves is when you can’t make eye contact with a server who has what you want or who seemingly only serves one part of the room. Like how unfair is it when the corner right near the kitchen hogs all the good dim sum? This is not an issue at Asian Jewels.
My overall assessment is that the dim sum here is overrated. It was fine, but I thought it was comparable to the dim sum at my go-to fav Dim Sum Go Go. The only real issue I had was with the shrimp balls, which were served extremely cold, but otherwise nothing really stood out. Plus, it wasn’t even really all that cheap. I think our final bill ended up being $50 for two people, which was surprisingly high. Normally the bill for two is in the $40ish range. In that case, I’m going to save myself the train ride and stay close to home at the white people spot.
Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant
13330 39th Ave.
Flushing, NY 11354