Nom Wah Tea House (3 reviews)
Nam Wah is not a teahouse in the sense of 'going to tea.' It is a Chinese dim sum parlor and my family has been going there for over 5 decades now (my dad discovered it while doing jury duty in the early 1950s). Yes, the decor is old... the bathrooms are tiny. But I find it comforting to see the same huge old tea samovar-type device brewing tea when we go there. Four generations of my family include Nam Wah (which is the correct spelling) in our forays to Chinatown. However, it is NOT the type of teahouse to which this site refers. BTW, if you try going any morning during the work week, you will find it full of Chinatown locals having a dim sum breakfast.
Every other place was packed on a bustling Sunday but this place was empty. No wonder; the inside was a dirty, cluttered shithouse. It smelled of stale cigarettes, not tea or food. Two surly men seated us as if they were doing us a favor. Realizing I wouldn't have eaten or drunk anything prepared there anyway and we left. Had a great meal and some OK tea at another place on Mott St. Doesn't seem to me to be worth the risk of spending the next two days with a box of Immodium. Had to rate everything as average because I never stayed at all.
I was in Chinatown on a cold, wet day and passed Nom Wah. Hearing how this is the oldest tea parlor in NYC I went in to have a cup. It was empty except for a group of college-aged girls. A man approached and rudely asked what I wanted. I replied I would like a cup of tea. He quickly said no and left. I stood there with my mouth open for a minute, suprised, and left.