Dim Sum Corner: a touch of Koi Palace’s goods hit SF Chinatown

The twelve perfect pleats were the giveaway.

Dim Sum Corner recently opened at 601 Grant Ave., in the downstairs of the historic Cathay House building, across from Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Chinatown. An owner-supplied photo of their multi-colored 12-crimp Xiao Long Bao hinted that either Koi Palace’s commercial kitchen was delivering to Chinatown, or a different business with an XLB machine had arisen.

A Dim Sum Corner employee said that they are not owned by Koi Palace, but Koi Palace is the managing partner, from which they get website support, some recipes like the scissor-cut noodles, and, yup, dumplings from Koi Palace’s commercial kitchen. That same kitchen supplies the three Koi Palaces, MY China, Dragon Beaux, Koi Palace Express at SFO, Millbrae’s casual Stick & Steam, and presumably the upcoming Palette Tea House in SF Ghiradelli Square.

I’m curious to learn whether mom and pop shops will have access to Koi Palace’s supply in the future—- Dim Sum Corner’s owners are well established. According to an August report from Hoodline, the Yeo family, known for Straits restaurant, was developing the property for a downstairs fast-casual Cantonese restaurant (presumably they now own it), with a formal restaurant in the upstairs space.

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I have to say the one time I had XLBs at Koi Palace, they were middling at best. In general, I try not to get XLB at Cantonese places. Do you know what other dumplings they got from Koi? The Cantonese steam varieties or other regional dumplings?

He said all of their dumplings are from offsite, but they cook them there.

Yeah, I would’ve ordered something else, but the front of the house was unaware of the machine or Koi Palace connection (plus, beef and chicken XLB intrigued me). Similar to what I’ve had at MY China, each held together well, relatively large solid meatballs, not an abundance of soup. I could definitely taste the beet flavor in the purple one— feature or bug, I’m not sure. I like beets, but was taken aback enough that I don’t recall what meat was in the filling. They lack a stretchy skin, which is one of my favorite parts of XLB.

Eater and Hoodline both reported today that the owners are no longer the Yeo group, but locals Jaynry Mak and Eric Chung. It’s interesting that websites/menus of neither Dim Sum Corner or Stick & Steam (which Soleil Ho just reviewed) mention their affiliations with Koi Palace-- seems like something you’d want to advertise!

I went here for some dim sum on a Sunday afternoon. It’s fast casual - you order at the counter and get a number.

XLB Classic Trio (Beef/Pork/Chicken) ($5.88 for 3)
Not bad. The beet red one is beef, the green is pork, and the other one is chicken. Medium amount of soup. Probably should have just gotten the regular pork XLB as I liked that one the best.

Har Gau ($5.66 for 3)
These were ok.

Macau Egg Tarts ($5.66 for 2)
Pretty underwhelming po tats. As you might see from the pic, with the lack of caramelization these are more like dan tats that were left in the oven a little bit longer than actual po tats. Pretty small and almost $3 a pop! Even the far superior dan tat from Golden Gate Bakery are priced lower (I think - haven’t checked recently) and are bigger.

I was pretty underwhelmed with Dim Sum Corner overall. Quite expensive (total price was almost $20 with tax) for the quantity and quality as well.

At a recent pop-up, Adega is selling natas at $24/ 6- $4 a pop!

Hmm I may be affected by “Chinese food should be cheap” syndrome. Where I wouldn’t bat an eye at a pastel de nata for $4 (cuz hey fancy European tarts) but a three dollar dan tat is too expensive.

$3 a egg tart is definitely on the high side. However, it really depends on the quality. If these $3 egg tarts are no better than the $2 egg tarts, then they are more expensive.

Yeah its $2.50 at GG Bakery just had one when there was no line Saturday night!

And regarding the price… reminds me of that one time I went to Fat Rice in Chicago. I think I paid Six dollars for two for their version of the Portuguese tart and was underwhelmed.

Quality aside, seems like the combo offers a better value with a selection from each section…!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold