Nom Wah Philadelphia

Before 218 North 13th Street was the site of Nom Wah’s Philadelphia outpost, it was home to an array of interesting tenants.

Known as the Ballinger Building, the building was commissioned in December 1890 by F.A. Ballinger—house painter and decorator. Architect Albert W. Dilks was responsible for the project, creating a Renaissance-style façade, which served as the headquarters fore Ballinger’s house painting business. Richard Ballinger (no relation), a bricklayer, made use of the upstairs office space of the new building. R. Ballinger went on to take over the whole building after the death of F.A. Ballinger in 1901.

In the subsequent years, the Ballinger Building housed several different businesses, including a flower shop. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Barnard L. Sackett, an aspiring movie producer—who is best known for sexploitation flicks—established his film production company, Adelphia Pictures, in the neighborhood.

Towards the end of the 20th century, 218 North 13th Street continued to shuffle in identity, from architectural firm to printing headquarters to printing to hardware.

For more detail on the building’s history, visit Hidden City: Philadelphia.

Nom Wah Philadelphia


Dim sum

House special roast pork bun 3.5
Shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings 4.75
Shrimp siu mai 4.75
Vegetarian siu mai 4
Pork siu mai 4.5
Shrimp dumplings 4.75
Vegetarian dumplings 4
Shanghainese soup dumplings 4.5
Spicy wontons 4.5
Chicken feet 4.25
Steamed spare ribs 4.25
Taro dumplings 4.25

Dim sum

Sticky rice with Chinese sausage 5.5
Sticky rice with lotus leaf 5.5
Plain rice roll 3
Cilantro and scallion rice roll 3.5
Shrimp rice roll 4.5
Vegetarian rice roll 4
Rice roll with fried dough 5
Pan-fried dumplings 4
House special pan-fried dumplings 4.5
Pan-fried chicken and cabbage dumplings 4.5
Pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings 4.5
Deep-fried Curry and beef dumplings 4.5

Dim sum

Turnip cake 4.25
Scallion pancake 4.5
Original “OG” egg roll 7
Spring roll 4.5
Fried shrimp balls 4.5
Fried crab claw 4.5
Shrimp and bacon rolls 4.5
Tofu skin roll 4.5
Fried shrimp with bean curd skin 4.5
Stuffed eggplant 4.5
Pan-fried shrimp and chive cake 4.5

Chef’s specials

House special dumplings in soup 5.5
Hong Kong-style wonton soup 5.5
Turnip cake with XO sauce 10
Salt-and-pepper pork chop/shrimp/chicken 11/12/11
Sweet and sour pork chop/shrimp/chicken 11/12/11
General Tao’s chicken/tofu/shrimp 12/12/13
Fried rice 10/12/16
Fried noodle 10/12/16
Rice vermicelli 10/13
Ho fun 11/13/16
Seasonal vegetables 9/11
Braised beef brisket noodle soup 13
Sesame balls with lotus paste 4>
Steamed phoenix buns 4.5
Steamed lotus buns 4
Steamed red bean buns 4


Tie guanyin (iron buddha tea)
Shui Hisen (water fairy tea)
Shou mei
Long jing (dragon well tea)
Earl Grey

Tea is $1 per person; chrysanthemum is
$1.50 per person with purchase of dim sum

Premium teas

Black (red) teas

Pu-er tea (bo-lay), aged 10 years 3
Pu-er tea (bo-lay), aged 20 years 4
Tie guanyin, spring harvest 4
Tie guanyin autumn harvest 3

Green teas

Dragon well (long jin) 4
Empress 3

Jasmine teas

Jasmine pearl 4
Spirit of jasmine 3


Soda 3.5
Coffee or HK-style milk tea 3
Juice 3

For a copy of the menu with pictures and descriptions, take a look here for a PDF of the menu.