Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ignore huge Lan Garden menu, but embrace delicious dim sum

Super Har Gow Jumbo Shrimp Dumplings ($6.95) are among 50 items on the dim sum menu at Lan Garden 88 in Ridgefield. 


Slow service and pricing fresh fish by the pound are two of my complaints about Lan Garden 88, but I am totally won over by the restaurant's delicious selection of Hong Kong-style dim sum.

I can recall my first taste of dim sum in Hong Kong in 1979, when I had lunch in a restaurant so popular a customer waiting to eat stood behind each occupied chair as carts circulated in the dining room.

There and at dim sum lunches I had in later years in San Francisco and Manhattan Chinatowns, servers sang out in Chinese the names of the freshly prepared items displayed on the carts they pushed.

At Lan Garden, the atmosphere isn't as colorful and no carts appear in the dining room.

But the Ridgefield restaurant makes up for that by serving dim sum all day long (until 1 in the morning). 

Dim sum is also referred to as "yum cha," which means "eat tea." 

Beef Dumplings at Lan Garden ($4.95).

Fried Canton Carp Ball ($5.95).

Hard to top these dim sum

Lan Garden's freshly prepared array of dim sum eclipses what's available at any other Chinese restaurant in North Jersey, including Silver Pond Seafood Restaurant in Fort Lee.

In contrast to the large bound menu, Lan Garden's dim sum menu is a piece of paper on which you can check off which of the 50 items you want and how many you want.

The menu also includes Egg Custard Tart and other desserts, as well as Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls and Congee.

The items are labeled "Small" ($3.50), "Medium" ($4.95), "Large" ($5.95), "X Large" ($6.95) and "Super" ($8.95), and usually include two to four dumplings and so forth. 

Filling meal for $15 a person

On Tuesday afternoon, four of us ordered two Super Har Gow Jumbo Shrimp Dumpling, one of my favorites for the stuffing of minced shrimp and the garnish of tiny fish eggs.

We also ordered a Seafood Dumpling with Spinach, a Beef Dumpling, two Mini-Sized Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($5.95 each), Chicken Feet with Gluten in Chu-Hou Sauce, two Fried Canton Carp Ball and Pan Fried Chive Cake ($4.95).

The sticky rice and chive cake put the meal over the top, and we washed it all down with cup after cup of hot Chinese tea.

I was stuffed, and when the check came, we spent about $15 a person before tax and tip.

Chicken Feet with Gluten in Chu-Hou Sauce ($4.95).

Inside a Seafood Dumpling with Spinach ($5.95).

Eleven years ago, I celebrated the purchase of a new Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid with a meal at China 46, the Chinese soup-dumpling restaurant that preceded Lan Garden 88. On Tuesday, it was time to celebrate the purchase of my latest green car, an all-electric Tesla Model S.

Lan Garden, 88 Route 46 west (near Grand Avenue), Ridgefield; 201-840-8688. Restaurant hasn't received its liquor license yet, meaning you can bring your own wine or beer.

Open seven days for lunch and dinner, but closed weekdays between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.


  1. Ever try the dim sum and pastries on the weekends at King Fung Food Market in River Edge? If you go early around 10:45am on Sat. or Sunday you can get some decent eats.

  2. OK, thanks. I'm familiar with King Fung, but after a renovation a few years ago, the place is as dirty as it was before, especially the floor.

    I might go in on the weekend and check out the dim sum. The hot table food they have during the week doesn't look that appetizing.

  3. You're spot on about the cleanliness of the place. I don't get anything there except the stuff on the weekends and an occasional bag of dumplings in the freezer section.

    I've tried the hot table food and the only thing worth getting is the eggplant dish.

    1. The store does have a large selection of imported bottled sauces to cook Chinese-style dishes, but they usually have a lot of sodium and should be used sparingly.


Please try to stay on topic.