Fortunate to Find Dim Sum in Austin at New Fortune Restaurant
We haven't been in Austin long now but cravings for Asian food seem to pop up more frequently now that it isn't as ubiquitous as it was in Orange County back in southern California. One option is to make it at home which we've been doing but there are some dishes/cuisines that require an experience to follow. Dim sum is one of those. When we had easy access to Los Angeles (specifically the San Gabriel Valley area) restaurants, we could venture up to dig into delicious, skillfully-made dim sum any weekend we wanted. It isn't as widespread here but dim sum can be found. We took our chance with New Fortune out in Chinatown and were pleased to find some familiar grounds.
First was the familiar wait when it comes to dim sum. Though the food is readily available and swings around in carts to be handed out, there is only so much capacity at any given time in a restaurant to attend to the hungry bellies needing to be filled. We had gotten there early enough not to wait long, and having a table for just two people helped. The dim sum service is just part of New Fortune's operations; they are a full-fledged restaurant in the non-morning hours, complete with live seafood tanks near the entrance to entice diners.
The hustle and bustle inside were just as expected - crowded tables pushed together to allow for aisles for carts to roll down. Some features we noticed here that we hadn't seen before was a hot "bar" area in the back that had additional dishes you could order as well as desserts. Also, our stamp sheet for each item actually had sections that would tell you the sum per category that you've ordered so far. That's new and a great way to keep an eye on your bill!
The selection was not as varied as we're accustomed to but it didn't matter when the most popular dishes were still available. Those would be the shu mai and har gow pieces everyone knows and loves. We also dug into their ha fun (shrimp rice noodle rolls) that are my favorite dim sum offering, and who can say no to dan ta (egg tart)? The carts at New Fortune came around frequently, and the service was polite and patient. The shrimp was of a different variety than we've had before, and I think it actually enhanced the dishes. The egg tart was put together quite well too with flaky, buttery crust.
The main difference we saw in this experience and other dim sum ones we've had was that the location of New Fortune in Austin rather than a heavily populated Asian area resulted in a major price discrepancy. While we were used to dim sum courses ranging from 2.19-3.59 on average, courses here could start at 4.95 for the same foods. It certainly reduced the amount of food we ordered that morning and the bill at the end (for less food) nearly equaled what it would have cost for my whole family to go out. However, that isn't a deterrence; geography matters! If you want to find New Fortune to sate your dim sum craving, they are at 10901 N Lamar Boulevard, Suite A1-501, Austin, TX 78753 in Chinatown. If you want to make some of the dishes yourself afterward, you could hobble over to MT Supermarket next door for some ingredients and walk off the tastiness!
Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook here.