Harbor City Restaurant & Seattle Dim Sum

Harbor City Restaurant is in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District, which is south of the City Center.   The district is an array of different Asian cuisines and restaurants.

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Last updated on March 18, 2023 12:00 PM

As I make my way through the world, I always make an effort to stop by the city’s Chinatown if there is one.  Chinese and Vietnamese foods play an important role in my heritage and palate.  However, I rarely get home sick, but while I’m away from home weeks at a time, I find comfort in being able to eat food I grew up on.  Every Chinatown is similar yet different in all the cities I’ve visited.  The familiar food smell, the gritty streets appearance, and the locals speaking in Cantonese or Mandarin are all there in every Chinatown no matter what city.  There is one thing I always do in all the Chinatown I’ve visited, which is eat dim sum.  Here is a list of cities where I’ve eaten dim sum:

  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Lima, Peru
  • Macau, Macau SAR
  • Shanghai, China
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Beijing, China
  • Washington DC
  • Seattle, WA
  • Boston, MA
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Orange County, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York City, NY
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Cranford, NJ
Harbor City Restaurant Seattle
Harbor City

As I parked my rental, I slowly opened my door making sure I had everything I needed for my stroll around Seattle’s Chinatown.  The meter had an hour left on it, so I went through my agenda to calculate the total time I would need.  I estimated about two hours would be sufficient to cover my stroll around Chinatown and Yum Cha at Harbor City Restaurant.  I added my money into the meter then made my way over to Harbor City Restaurant.

When I walked up to Harbor City Restaurant, the restaurant already had a line and people putting their name on the wait list.  The restaurant seemed extremely popular; however, I did notice there were only a few restaurants in Seattle’s Chinatown that offered dim sum or Yum Cha.  The crowd was fairly diverse and I started to question Harbor City Restaurant’s dim sum quality.  I usually racial profile an ethic restaurant to decide whether I eat there or not.  It’s a terrible way to profile a restaurant; however, it’s nowhere near the level of racial profiling done by the police in the United States.

My name was finally called.  I made my way to my designated table while observing what other patrons were eating and the tacky restaurant decor.  I quickly picked up the dim sum menu when I sat down.  I scanned it for some staples –Shiu Mai and Hargow — and found some non-typical items.

  1. Shiu Mai – Shiu Mai has always been my favorite item on the dim sum menu.  It happens to be one of the staples along with Har Gow.  It’s one of the two items a dim sum chef is critique on.  The large and plump shiu mai was topped with roe and the overall flavor was good yet not great.  It juicy and the wrapping cling to the filling perfectly.

    Harbor City Restaurant Seattle
    Shiu Mai
  2. Har Gow – This is the other item a dim sum chef is critique on.  The tapioca wrapper was thick and wasn’t as translucent as Tim Ho Wan — the world’s cheapest Michelin restaurant and the world’s best dim sum.  The shrimp filing was barely visible through the wrapper and inconsistent in size.  The filling was decent in flavor but the wrapper made it difficult to eat.

    Harbor City Restaurant Seattle
    Har Gow
  3. Shark Fin Dumplings – The dumpling caught my eye when I saw it on the menu.  It was garnish with vermicelli and there was an opening in its translucent wrapper to showcase the fillings.   The soft dumpling fell apart easily as I picked it up and leaving me to savage its remains with my chopsticks.  The flavors were juicy and the texture comfortingly nice.

    Harbor City Restaurant Seattle
    Sharkfin Dumplings
  4. Scallop w Pea vines Dumplings –  The gently wrapped dumplings had a very translucent wrapper.  The chopped scallops were sweet only magnified with the sweet pea vine’s unique sweetness.  Like the Sharkfin dumplings, it fell apart easily when picked up with chopsticks.

    Harbor City Restaurant Seattle
    Scallop w Peavines Dumpling

I called the waiter over to calculate the bill.  I looked over the destruction left on the table and starting to count the number of cities I’ve had dim sum.  The ever-growing list gave me a sense of achievement and I started to feel very fortunate to have eaten dim sum in as many cities as I have.  My mind started to rank Harbor City Restaurant among the other restaurants I’ve eaten at and it would land somewhere in the middle or in the third quadrant of my list.  I paid the bill, left a tip then exited the restaurant to continue my journey around Seattle’s Chinatown.

Check out our other Seattle articles here.

  • 6/10
    Service - 6/10
  • 6/10
    Presentation - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Flavors - 7/10
  • 5/10
    Decor - 5/10
  • 5/10
    Ambiance - 5/10


Harbor City has every characteristic of an authentic Chinese restaurant with its tacky decor and it’s sufficient service. The dim sum staples are on the menu along with some non-typical items. Harbor City is a good enough offering of dim sum to satisfy your dim sum craving. It would land somewhere in the middle or in the third quadrant of my list.

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