Tru Gourmet is a farmer’s market Cantonese dim sum vendor. I have seen them at the Palo Alto California Avenue farmer’s market for years but never tried, for a variety of reasons. They are also at the San Rafael and Oakland Grand Lake farmer’s markets.
Last weekend, we were out of breakfast food at home so we went to try some of their offerings at the Cal Ave market. They indicate on their web site that they source their organic produce from the markets they participate in.
Pea shoot dumpling. Excellent with great quality shrimp. The one complaint I have about many dim sum restaurants in the Bay Area is the average/ mediocre quality of materials used, especially shrimps that are farm raised SE Asia ones with mushy texture unless perked up by some chemicals. Not this rendition. One bite and one can feel the crunch/ freshness of the shrimp. It reminds me off top quality dim sum in hotel restaurants in Hong Kong that charge more and can afford to use good quality ingredients. Likewise Tru Gourmet is not cheap, and doesn’t have seatings, but they spend the money you pay on ingredients, and the quality comes through.
Har gow (shrimp dumpling). Pretty good, the shrimps were oversalted this time, but otherwise good texture/ quality as the pea shoot dumpling.
Sesame ball- excellent. In fact, the best I’ve eaten. Restrained sweetness from the red bean wrapped around by a layer of sesame coated glutinous rice. I am not a big fan of red bean and sesame balls in general but I can eat this all day. My wife told me its her best sesame ball and I was skeptical, but I ended up agreeing with her.
Baked bbq pork bun- A bit too sweet and didn’t stand out, Prather Ranch pork notwithstanding.
Here’s a couple reasons why I haven’t tried Tru Gourmet previously- my lack of understanding of how they can make the logistics of steaming dim sum work in a farmer’s market setting, and the inability to pace the ordering unless one is willing to go back and line up repeatedly. Does one order and they steam on demand (line too long then)? Or do they steam first and let the dim sum cools down (which is no good)? They use a compromise, which is they steam first, and keep it in some sort of warmer. The result is that the dim sum is just short of hot, but not steaming hot (which is my ideal- let me do the cooling down myself before I shove it into my mouth, thank you). And the dumpling wrappers were a touch on the dry side from the warmer. There isn’t a solution of pacing the ordering, since its a line up, order and receive food system. Line wasn’t long at 9:30am but not sure about later in the morning.
Perhaps I should inquire about buying the steam dim sum raw instead and DIY.
Any other experience about their food?