Can you share any recent experiences with dim sum places in or near the City? I’m looking for a place to take some guests and based on past experience I’m considering Dragon Beaux, Koi Palace, Yank Sing, Great Eastern and Hong Kong Lounge 2.
It has been a long time since I’ve been to Koi Palace and I’ve heard it has gone down hill. I remember enjoying Dragon Beaux and thinking it was very good but I can’t remember the meal—either it wasn’t that memorable or I just wasn’t all there that day. I’ve always had good experiences at the Rincon Yank Sing but I’ve heard their prices have gotten astronomical. I wasn’t that impressed with my one visit to HK Lounge 2 but I don’t think we ordered wisely and others seem to love it. I really liked Great Eastern but that was four years ago.
Any experiences with these places or other spots you can recommend, plus ordering suggestions, will be greatly appreciated!
I looked at the Yank Sing price list from August on the web, and compared against the price list at HKL2 from our meal today. I always have the impression that Yank Sing is amongst the most expensive in the Bay Area. This was our first meal at HKL2, and the price looked within 10% of Yank Sing. I am not sure if it is just these two or if others are getting pricey as well.
Long story short, better quality ingredients than average at HKL2, with the dishes tasted generally clean and neat, and not with a bunch of additives, MSG and grease. But the seasoning were off for a few items. I will say more about them some time this week.
About a year ago I went to HKL2 with a big group and got seated in an annex location next door. I didn’t think so highly of the meal, or the bizarre slope of the tables, and think the transit time was a big factor.
One disadvantage of Yank Sing is the relatively small menu. On the other hand, for people not familiar with dim sum that want the basics, that makes it a good pick.
I’ve gone to Koi Palace roughly threeish/fourish months ago and thought they were still doing a fine job. A little less innovative in terms of offerings as Dragon Beaux but their execution still seems quite solid. As for Yank Sing, I haven’t gone there in a very long time (at least ten years with my mom and I still recall the price of the meal at 70 bucks for our lunch); however, as @sck noted, HKL2’s price is pretty much on par. Parents recently went and their meal was around 80 for just their small table of 2. They noted that HKL2 was pretty good just expensive. I’d opt to go towards Dragon Beaux since their dining areas are a little larger and price wise, it appears similar if not possibly cheaper.
Lets see… I haven’t had dim sum in Great Eastern for a few years, but it seemed okay with my last visit. Dim sum seems to be more popular at Lai Hong Lounge currently (menu seems very similar to Hong Kong Lounge and I think its by the same group). I had a pretty good time there, nothing too unique in offering but solid execution. A somewhat random recommendation, but New Sun Hong Kong actually has dim sum. They do a pretty good job on this vegetarian rice noodle roll with bamboo shoots, black wood fungus, and mushrooms. Other things dishes are prepped pretty solidly and I tend to go here with family if the lines are way too long at other places, haha.
In any case, out of the ones you were considering, I’d lean towards Dragon Beaux or Koi Palace depending on your group’s familiarity on dim sum. Parking is definitely easier at KP though I would still get there right when it opens otherwise be prepared to wait (well… same advice will be applied on all those that you are considering actually…).
As per other dim sum parlors, if you’re in the area Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Milbrae does a good job same with Tai Wu in the area. I like Tai Yuan in Daly City (especially if you attempt to get a table at KP and fail). Its been a while, but I recall Grand Palace in SSF to be pretty decent.
There are some other restaurants but its been a while so hopefully others can chime in. Some that I can think of is King Wah in Daly City, Asian pearl/The Kitchen in Milbrae, Zen Peninsula in Milbrae. I recall the food being good at Crystal Jade but the prices were spectacularly high (great view of the ferry building) and I have yet to try Hakkasan.
Dim sum at Lai Hong Lounge on Powell Street. No wait on a Monday at lunch time but pretty full of what appeared to be retirees lingering over their dim sum and a couple families. They give you a menu with pictures on it so you just check off what you want then try to flag down a waiter. The food ranged from excellent (pea shoot dumplings, shrimp egg rolls) to inedible (preserved veggie and beef with pan fried rice noodles - tasted as if someone accidentally spilled an entire sack of sugar into the veggies), with a bunch of just OK items (taro cake, xiao long bao, pork and taro dumpling). Baked pork bun was undercooked and gummy and the salt and pepper chicken wings tasted off. We were taking a co-worker out who does not eat seafood so that skewed our ordering. The menu is a bit of a minefield with an approximate four to one miss ratio - at least for a first timer there.
Yum Cha Palace in Menlo Park is bizzare. It’s the same owner as the past-tense Fu Lam Mum, and there are a bunch of waiters and they are all very chinese, and very few diners. It apparently exists in some reverse world of needing to make money, according to the wait staff. It’s got to be something like he wants to open Fu Lam Mum again, and can’t lose his kitchen staff, so he’s OK losing some money as long as he doesn’t lose his staff.
Offerings are not innovative but you won’t wait to order anything.
I was at a holiday party last night catered by Canton Dim Sum & Seafood. I’ve had dim sum from their take out spot on the side of their restaurant Hawthorne St. a few times and it has always been decent.
They had big piles of fried shrimp dumplings, spring rolls, fried taro, etc. but the fried stuff doesn’t lend itself to catering so much since the oil cools down and things aren’t crispy. The siu mai, har gow and vegetarian dumplings were good though, they had some system where they came out steaming hot. Egg custard tarts were surprisingly decedent, not too heavy or dense.
If this topic includes the East Bay, I’ll note that my experience at Emeryville’s Hong Kong East Ocean last week was pretty dismal. Some of the hot dishes were cold, and we weren’t paying attention until the bill came and we saw that the very simple Chinese broccoli was $10.
Note that this is not Alameda’s East Ocean restaurant, which consistently has excellent and unusual dishes.
In Richmond, Saigon Seafood Harbor recently, on a weekday, didn’t offer as many dishes as we had on weekends. No fried taro, no rice-noodle rolls.
The runner system could result in some cold dishes, when the order from the kitchen languishes at the intermediate dining room station before the server brings it to the table. As for the bill, the HK East Ocean view does come with a price.
Dim sum last month at East Ocean: everything with shrimp was enjoyable, as were the vegetarian dumplings; a worthy new discovery was chicken-stuffed eggplant. We too like HKL2, especially its baked cha siu bao.
Just ate at Lai Hong Lounge this past weekend and the food was pretty good. I’ve always enjoyed their baked BBQ pork buns and the outside was quite crisp while the interior was hot and juicy (maybe a little fattier for the bbq pork, but great!). Reminds me of Tim Ho Wan’s. The only bad one I recall was the wood ear dumpling; the interior was on the drier end and the outside wrapper seemed dried at the tips.
Just relatively small and filled with people. If carts are a thing for you, Lai Hong Lounge sadly doesn’t cater to that.