Downtown Lunch: Dim Sum at Golden Unicorn

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (ensuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.) Today he tackles something near and dear my heart: Dim Sum. I’m more of a Jin Fong man, but Golden Unicorn isn’t bad… and if they can get Daniel to eat (and enjoy!) chicken feet- than they have a new special place in my heart.


There’s something exciting about going to an old school Dim Sum restaurant where the waitstaff wheels around carts with pipping hot steamed buns, different types of shumai, dumplings, and various parts of animals I never would have thought you could eat. I’ve always steered away from the uncommon parts of an animal (intestines make me, well, sick to my stomach.) But I felt if I was going to go for some traditional dim sum, at the storied Golden Unicorn restaurant, I should try something I’ve never had before. Luckily I had with me the prolific flickr poster Wendalicious (or Wendy if you will) whose food photography has been on my radar for about a year now. I don’t know anyone who photographs their meals with such enthusiasm and vigor. She’s a Chinatown regular (having grown up there), so I thought she’d be the perfect dining companion.


Golden Unicorn has updated their decor since I last visited several years back, and you can either go to the second or third floor, both sporting huge dining rooms. As soon as we sat down on the second floor (I checked them both out and 2 seemed like the floor with the most locals) I said I wanted to try the chicken feet. She said, “Oh, I already ordered them as we were sitting down.” Perfect!


The chicken feet were not what I expected- and by that I mean, I liked them. For those who may be hesitant like me- they’re just skin covering bone, and bits of cartilage. It’s mostly about the sauce, which encorporates a healthy does of peppers to impart a really nice flavor on the whole dish. Not bad. I only ate one though. :)


Standouts for me included the steamed pork buns which come out as 3 small palm-sized-pillowy-puffs- steamy and delicious, with a spoonful of chopped pork in the middle.


There was also this Malaysian sponge cake, which had a slightly sweet taste and a nice texture. You can eat it during the meal, since it wasn’t at the level of dessert sweetness.


Prices range from $2.25 for the smaller dishes to $4.25 for the Extra Large ones. I think the weekend is the time to go to get the full experience and sample a wider selection of items. But then again on a weekend you might not get the chef to come out to smile for a portrait (what a sweetie this lady was.)


The award for “Most likely to get Zach’s attention” had to be the bacon wrapped shrimp balls, which were really delicious. I don’t think the side of dipping mayo is necessary unless you’re itching for a coronary. The shrimp balls are small and dense and tightly wound with a half strip of bacon. It was so crispy I had to ask a question that I didn’t really want to hear the answer to. “Do they deep fry these things?” “Of course” Wendy said.

Ahhh Golden Unicorn… you mystical creature you.

Golden Unicorn Restaurant, 18 E Broadway, 212-941-0951
(holy shit we have a website!!!)



  • Hey Wayne,

    What’s the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom?

  • that’s all you ate? 4 things? 4 small things at that. that’s appetizer.

    More importantly, what tea did you drink?

  • Bossman, hush! Before we get in trouble.

    So what else did you eat Daniel? I’ve done Dim Sum in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, at Pacificana. If you want to check that out, I’d love some company. Did you have suckling pig? I missed out on that in my last trip.

  • No Bossman, not this time. Shame on you, trying to hijack a yum cha thread.

    Dan, no tripe?

  • Oh cool! I was just there last Saturday for a wedding banquet. The food was quite good too. But I haven’t been back for dim sum for a while. But from what I remember it wasn’t too bad. And yeah the weekend or a holiday is usually when you’d go for dim sum.

  • Wayne – I’m not into tripe but if I can eat chicken feet I may try it at some point.

    Mamacita – We also had another order of buns and the shrimp shumai, both decent but not earth shattering.

    AL@1PP – that’s one thing I didn’t realize, that you had a choice of tea..Wendy had ordered our tea in Chinese so I don’t know which it was. I normally just drink whatever they bring…but the tea was particularly good come to think about it so I will let her field that question when she comes to comment here.

  • Daniel: Thanx for the invite again! We’ll get tripe next time…bwahaha…=)

    AL@1PP: We had Chrysanthemum Tea w/ no sugar…that just has to be specified, otherwise it’s way too sweet.

  • Next time you guys go, on the weekend, check out the dessert carts, and see if they got these green pudding cups or green looking fried pastries ;-) get those.

    I always get the tripe, it comes in two types, the plain white ones which has little taste, but great with chili sauce, and the dark stuff that comes in a bowl with this bitter tasting vegetable that looks like a potato but it’s not. That’s the one to get.

    I love chrysanthemum tea, but for dim sum, I like to get a chrysanthemum / black tea mix, no sugar of course.

  • Gosh this has me craving Chinese food so badly…. nice post, Daniel, and the photos are terrific.

  • Great looking photos! I can never get yum cha/dim sum food to come out looking like this. At places like Jing Fong, they’re always pink… at other places it’s always dark…

    And you ate chicken feet! Congratulations! I agree about the tripe being next. Either the white kind or the stewed kind.

  • I prefer the stewed/saucy kind of tripe (as Danny knows!) – the “bitter” vegetable is that giant… radish… Why is the name escaping me? Oh, right, because it’s 2am and I’ve been drinking.
    And funny, Wendy and I go way back… I WANT TO BE INVITED TO THE NEXT DL!!! >P

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