Millbrae / San Bruno / South San Francisco lunches

I’m planning to have bi-weekly Friday lunches on my way back from San Bruno to SF. What are your thoughts on these places and is there anything I should add to the list? I’ll have my daughter + stroller in tow, so jammed places are undesirable.

Also, if you’re generally free on Fridays at around noon and would like to check out a place together, send me a private message. If I can get it together in time, I’ll announce group meals to the board as well.


  • Dim sum : Asian Pearl, Tai Wu (any others worth it?).
  • Jook: Hing Lung or Fat Wong
  • Hong Kong snacks: Night Market
  • Sichuan: Royal Feast
  • Beijing: Boiling Beijing
  • Hand-pulled noodles: Yummy Szechuan, Yi Yuan
  • Northeastern & dumplings: Tasty Place
  • Korean Chinese: Chef Wang
  • Hunan: Wonderful
  • Hubei: Hu Bei Restaurant
  • Northeastern / Skewers: BBQ King
  • Other: I’ve had mediocre meals as Shanghai Dumpling Shop, Xiao Long Bao Kitchen, and Root so I’m not planning on these unless there’s been a shakeup


  • Ben Tre (Vietnamese): I have this bookmarked. Any reports?
  • Cafe Bunn Mi


  • Teani’s Italian Deli
  • Little Lucca
  • Subculture Deli
  • Grand Leader Market

See also J. Kauffman’s article on San Bruno, which mentions anupcoming Hawaiian grill and Guatemalan bakery.

  • Flavas Jamaican Grill
  • Third Eye Restaurant (Nepalese)
  • La Tapatia : how is their meat, masa, and parking compared to La Palma in SF?
  • K grill and tofu house (Korean)
  • Sweet and natural (Japanese)

It was years ago. But we had a truly wretched dim sum lunch at The Kitchen. Not saying they still have the same chefs today. I have had my share of mediocre and forgettable dim sum around here, but that one really stood out.

Dim Sum: HK Flower Lounge in Milbrae, Koi Palace in Daly City, Grand Palace in SSF?

I like the baked pork chops at Cafe Orchid in Milbrae.

Fil-Am Cuisine 2 for Filipino style BBQ in SSF.

I liked Mom’s Tofu House in SSF but might be a tight squeeze.

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Oh and in San Bruno, your kids might like Red Circle Hot Pan. Essentially choose a sauce that’ll go with your meat, carb, and veggies served on a hot plate. Free drink and ice cream with the meal.

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Thank you!!!

Do you have any favorites at Grand Palace?

Interesting… We had a similar experience a few years ago at Asian Pearl Millbrae. It was simply the worst. Awful service & terrible food… Haven’t been back since!

The service at the Richmond Asian Pearl was always adequate, so I was surprised at how bad the service was at the Millbrae location a few years ago. I don’t mind chasing down carts, so it didn’t bother me too much.

How bad was Asian Pearl’s service?

I don’t recall any recent trips to Asian Pearl Millbrae, but the dim sum at Asian Pearl Fremont have always been average at best.

If you do go, I am curious to hear about the other non-Koi Palace options you and @night07 brought up. I am not in the area often at all, but I always just take the easy route and go to Koi if dimsum is desired on a weekday to take advantage of the thinner crowds versus the weekends.

Huh, I just ate at Asian Pearl Milbrae about two weeks ago, right around when it opened. Their ha gow and siu mai were kinda average, but I thought some of the other dishes were pretty good (rice noodle rolls and radish cake were some that I recall). Was rather indifferent on service, felt about the same everywhere else along the peninsula.

For HK Flower Lounge, they’re owned by Mayflower now. I actually like their really big sticky rice dumpling but now that I think about it, I think its only available on the weekends.

For grand palace, its actually been over six months since I went haha. I can’t recall anything super negative about it and most of their traditional dim sum has been pretty good. This actually brings me to remember about Tai Yuan (old Tai Wu) up in Daly City. I tend to go there if I miss the opening times for Koi. They do a pretty good job imo, but I tend to order ha gow, siu mai, and the rice noodle rolls.

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There were 3 of us, 1 Asian, 2 Caucasians. We were seated & then basically ignored. Finally got someone to take our order sheet. Then we sat there for more than half an hour before anything arrived. Everything was mediocre at best (can’t really remember what we ordered). We were totally ignored from then on & had to stand up to get someone to bring our check… Haven’t been back!

I think the only thing I’d expect is them asking your group what kind of tea you want, or at least bring you tea. But basically from then on, for me, its just flagging down someone to take the order sheet.

This is not great in my eyes. Dim sum this slow suggests some really inefficient kitchen

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I had a somewhat average meal at Hing Lung. Jook was very creamy so it seemed a little odd. The flavors from fish soup noodle didn’t seem to meld. The stir fried beef ho fun was rather oily.

Had a fish jook (with bones) at Fat Wong a while back. The fish was not particularly fresh- especially fishy. Not a particularly pleasant bowl of jook because of that. Probably should try some other jooks.

BTW, does anyone have a preference between Little Lucca in SSF vs Burlingame?

Here are some notes from Fat Wong’s last November. I think their fish is probably low quality in general:

– Greens: Parboiled You Choy; Pea Shoots with Garlic; fresh, perfectly cooked

  • Stirfry: Bitter Melon w/ black bean
  • Jook: Roast duck; Pork with Preserved Eggs
  • Zhaliang (rice noodle roll wrapped around a Chinese doughnut stick (you tiao)
  • Rice with diced seafood in fish soup: super homey broth with whole rice grains, shrimp & scallops, mushrooms, cilantro
  • Braised beef brisket


  • for a house specialty, the steamed rice with meat wrapped in lotus leaf didn’t have enough fat in the center and was too dry and not porky enough
  • dry style beef chow fun had wok hei, but not as much as desired
  • three types of Seafood filled rice noodle rolls suffered from low quality fish or meager portions.

This reminded me that I also had that. The most infuriating thing about this dish that day was, it was lukewarm. It was a chilly day. I wanted it steaming hot!

What time did you have it?

I’ve usually gone with that bowl for lunch since they’re one of the few that actually does thinly sliced fish and not just hunks of random fish meat.

The San Bruno location is better than the San Mateo one fyi. Still find it odd that they split with Champange.

I had a late lunch.

Hmmm I haven’t had it recently, but usually the fish congee was just fine in the mornings.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo