The Journey of NYC’s Nom Wah Tea Parlor

As part of Best Restaurant Week (yes, we totally made it up), we’re featuring stories from some of our restaurant partners. Check out our blog Nov 1–6 for new stories every day, and use code BESTWEEK for a $0 delivery fee on your order subtotaled $30+ all week.

There’s a special energy in restaurants that have made it through the years — from the ones that see decades of new owners, ever changing regulars, countless birthdays, and even the evolution of crowd favorites known to draw visitors from abroad. The original Nom Wah Tea Parlor opened in 1920 primarily as a tea parlor and bakery, with dim sum being a side offering. The restaurant later became known for its skill around the ingredients used to make mooncakes, a staple in Chinese New Year celebrations. Today, dim sum holds the spotlight and has drawn enough notoriety for Nom Wah to have expanded to three total locations in New York and Philadelphia under its current owner.

Owner Wilson Tang has expanded the business with much success. The most recent location is Nom Wah Nolita, a quick service location where meals are ordered and picked up at the counter. All three Nom Wah locations are available for delivery on Caviar, including Nom Wah Tea Parlor Philadelphia. Popular items for delivery include their classic Chinese Greens with Oyster Sauce, “The Original” Egg Roll, and their essential Steamed Dim Sum Sampler.

With so much cooking expertise under 3 roofs, we knew we had to garner some invaluable knowledge from the chefs. When asked about the coolest cooking tip he’d picked up in his career, chef Calvin Eng, dropped an almost artistic bit of knowledge:

“Wok cooking is a body-experience. When you’re cooking a dish, you can and sometimes have to adjust the gas lever with your knees to control the amount of heat needed.”

He also told us about when his passion almost got the best of him:

“My worst back-of-house ordeal was working with a team that wasn’t passionate about food the way that I am. I tried to fix the issue by trying to understand their short- and long-term goals and to help them achieve them. And those goals could be food-related or not, which was key. I had to come to understand that kitchen life was just a job for some and a passion for others, like me.”

As for some words from owner Wilson Tang? He told us about the best advice he ever received:

“Be patient. Your time will come. Especially with digital, you might always expect for things to come overnight. Take everything as it comes to you and don’t be afraid to pause and evaluate situations — don’t rush into anything.”

This piece is part of our Best Restaurant Week series. For more stories and insights from a selection of our chef & restaurant partners, head to caviarfeed.me.