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
Shrimp dumplings 4.5
Shanghainese soup dumplings 4.5
Chicken feet 4.5
Steamed spare ribs 4
Beef balls 4
Bean curd skin roll 4
Vegetarian dumplings 4
Taro dumplings 4

Dim sum

Sticky rice with Chinese sausage 5.5
Steamed dim sum sampler 11
Plain rice roll 3
Cilantro and scallion rice roll 3.5
Shrimp rice roll 4
Beef rice roll 4
Vegetarian rice roll 4
Rice roll with spare ribs 5.5
Rice roll with fried dough 5
House special pan-fried dumplings 4.5
Pan-fried dumplings 4
Pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings 4.5

Dim sum

Turnip cake 4
Scallion pancake 4.5
Original “OG” egg roll 7
Spring roll 4.5
Fried shrimp ball 4.5
Fried crab claw 4.5
Shrimp and bacon roll 4.5
Fried shrimp with bean curd skin 4.5
Tofu skin roll 4.5
Stuffed eggplant 4.5
Fried dim sum sampler 12

Chef’s specials

House special dumplings in soup 5.5
Minced beef dumplings in soup 5.5
Turnip cake with XO sauce 10
Sale and pepper shrimp 10
Salt and pepper pork chops 12
Sweet and sour pork chops 12
Pan-fried noodle in superior soy sauce 10
Egg-fried rice 10
Shrimp and egg-fried rice 12
Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce 9
Chinese greens in oyster sauce 9


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 tea with milk 1.5
Bruce Coast Ginger Ale 3