[Mountain View] Fu Lam Mum 富臨門- Cantonese eats


#1

Fu Lam Mum on Castro has reopened after a year plus closure, during which they converted the second floor into office space and retained the first floor as dining space. With rent being so high in Silicon Valley, I wonder if they earn more from the office space than from the restaurant.

I was there yesterday during the lunch rush. Dimsum is served during lunch and Fu Lam Mum uses carts for dimsum, though some less ordered items can be ordered from the menu.

We had:

Har gao: a good version, big plump shrimp, nice clean taste.

Tripes with ginger/ scallion. Also nice and clean, though I prefer versions with a bit of heat from chili pepper. Could use a little more steaming to soften the tripes up. Enjoyable.

Sticky rice in lotus leaf: nice version. the salted egg yolk was kinda hard though.

Steamed char siu bun: nice version. Filling was mostly meat versus some other put in a bunch of random fat.

Sesame balls (there were three of them). Pretty nice. For one of them, the interior separated from the shell, oddly.

Tofu skin rolls (there were three of them)- pretty good

Now the highlight of the meal- the durian puff. We ordered that one and its served straight out of the oven hot. Crispy on the outside, creamy and just right on the inside. Its great stuff. Took a while to arrive since its baked to order.

Redone decor.

Nice looking space by the windows.

Somewhat limited initial selection of live seafood, but its only a few days after opening. Probably take some time to rebuild the customer base and expand the selection

Fu Lam Mum is run by the younger brother of the guy who runs Yum Cha Palace in Menlo Park. Prices are quite reasonable for Dim sum in Silicon Valley, and for Castro. I used to rate Fu Lam Mum’s dim sum below Saigon’s in Sunnyvale. On this visit, the dim sum were satisfying and better than Saigon’s on its best day. Whoever they hired for dimsum service during the initial opening are definitely up to the task. Service were ‘no-expression’ Cantonese-efficient. Which was perfect for me.

Waiting was half an hour long, which was not bad.

Some items I’d like to explore more on the dim sum menu: the Chiu Chow rice soup with seafood ($18 though, kinda pricey), the Chiu Chow fish belly vermicelli soup, the Shunde pan fried fish belly. The sticky rice with chicken and abalone, duck pastries, the stir fried vermicelli with XO sauce and the beef stew with glutinous rice. I would be back for sure.


[Mountain View] Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 麵屋遊玄
[Mountain View] Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 麵屋遊玄
#2

Is it worth venturing down from the peninsula?


#3

Depends on how far you are willing to drive. I don’t really travel much for Cantonese food in the Bay Area, and even Millbrae is too far for me despite the wealth of Cantonese you got up there. I think you should be able to find comparable dim sums up there around Millbrae. But, I’d probably eat a few more meals here to get a better feel since its not far for me. And then I’ll answer your question again. :slight_smile:


#4

Ha fair enough. The farthest I really drove in the bay is for Yum’s otherwise I tend to stick to the Peninsula area.

I recall driving down to try ABC and Joy Luck Palace for dim sum and found them at best good but not worth driving down.


(Brian Bulkowski) #5

You beat me to it. I was there probably about when you were, and had a similar experience. I talked to the owner a bit, as I had the rumor it was the same owner as Chum Ya Palace, and he mentioned the brother connection. Fu lam mum was on my regular rotation of late night, and GF is now working in Campbell, so she’s getting home later and being hungry… late side dining for us.

I also though the dim sum was superlative compared to the old fu lam mum. Less greasy, bigger taste. The shu mai in particular were huge and satisfying, the steamed pork bun had good flavor. We’ll be back, even fighting the close time of 10:00 and 10:30. They kept the fish tanks in the same area, so you can order a fish. There isn’t the same kind of cutting-edge dim sum like you might find at Koi, more like well executed standards.

For myself, the big draw before was “late night dim sum”, which was 3 items for $10 from 9pm to midnight. Dim sum items… 5.50? I asked the owner about why no late night, and he just sighed. Said the cost of staff for those hours was just too high, couldn’t make money with the extra hours… mentioned the various taxes. However, no line at 9pm, and the same pleasant atmosphere, by which I mean a mixed crowd. Besides some of us white folks, there was a thug-ish group with backward caps whooping it up, which makes my oakland soul relax.

Your pictures do it justice. The second floor is gone, the owner said before they closed they were going to make that floor into “startup space” and rent it out at usurous rates. I think the new design makes good use of the front windows, had a nice combination of cozy cave feel and streetside windows. The natural wood and arching braces is well captured.

Worth a trip all the way down the peninsula? Probably not. Worth a try if you’re greater san jose? Certainly!


#6

A second dimsum meal on new year day pretty much confirmed the first impression and @bbulkow’s impression. Quite solid traditional dimsums, some standouts. Here are the items that we didn’t have in the first visit:

Chicken feet. Relatively sweet version. Would prefer a more savory version with a little heat.

Beef chueng fun- solid.

I am not sure what this is called but its something like Liu Sha Tang Yuan- pretty good version

Glutinous fried rice pork puff - quite a good version with balanced salty and sweet taste. Recommended.

Egg yolk lava bun. Quite good. Careful eating this as the sweet runny content will spurt out upon biting. Mine squirted all over my jeans.

Baked bbq pastry- very dry version. Skip.

Snowy mountain bun. Decent. Still no one manages to beat Saigon’s version 5 to 10 years ago when they made an exemplary version that people fighted for it when the batch came out of the kitchen.

Curry fish balls with pork skin.