[SFBA} Yum Cha Palace- a real Cantonese restaurant in Menlo Park?

Yum Cha Palace is finally open after more than a year of renovating the space. Owner is Jason Kwan of Su Hong Takeout. I was surprised to read their dim sum menu online and saw a solid lineup of Cantonese dimsums, given Menlo Park is not known for having a large Asian population or any other solid Chinese/ Cantonese restaurants. Plus certain ingredients/ items, like fish maw and XO sauce, are a bit of a surprise for Menlo Park. (It certain is not news if these show up in Millbrae)

Overall verdict after having 7, 8 or so dishes. Solid for Bay Area. Slight edge over Saigon in Sunnyvale. Not as well as my memory of Koi Palace Daly City. Good option by the non-existent Menlo Park dim sum standard. Adequate by Hong Kong standard. Pricing was about $0.5/ dish more than Saigon if that helps. Got fancy tea. $3 pp. Regular tea $2 pp. Nice decor.

Dim sum chef was from Hong Kong according to the owner. When asked about where the chef(s) cooked in Hong Kong. The answer was a ‘I didn’t ask’. Both I and another person who was originally from Hong Kong thought the answer was not convincing. The dinner head chef was from China, not sure the region. Certain dishes were not found regularly elsewhere- like the fish rice roll, bitter melon beef rice noodle.

XO sauce turnip cake. The XO sauce and the dried shrimp are fried to be crunchy-crispy and add a spicy, sweet and salty dimension to the turnip cake. I’d eat it again.

Sponge cake- no pic. Sweetness was perfect. i.e. not too sweet.

Scallop dumpling with truffle. More like mushroom dumpling because it tasted like it and the dish was only $6. The scallop dumpling underneath was well made.

These tasted ok:

baked char siu buns

baked cha siu thing. both the glaze and the filling were too sweet.

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What so special about Menlo Park? So much so that we doubt the possibility of a Dim Sum restaurant. By the way, I do like the fact that they make most of their Dim Sum. In Hong Kong, fewer and fewer restaurants make their Dim Sum in house.

Menlo Park usually don’t get many restaurants that serve authentic enough cuisines from Asia. There is an upscale Japanese, a toned-down Sichuan, a Chinese takeout. I probably am forgetting some, but after these I am drawing a blank.

We were in a hurry last time so we got some takeouts:

Shredded Roast Duck Pan Seared Rice Noodles. This is a standard pan fried noodles- the duck, mushroom, etc was ‘enclosed’ by a cake of rice noodles before the noodles were pan fried. So the noodles were crispy, outside and soft inside where the sauce touched the noodles. The roast duck, skin, fat, lean meat and all imparted a hearty duck flavor and the mushroom added some additional umami. Enjoyed the dish.

Mix Mushroom and Abalone E Fu Noodle: This one was alright, mainly because it didn’t taste very abalone-y to me, especially in the sauce. There were two abalones sitting on top of the noodles, though the flavors stay mostly within the abalones. I prefer, for example, where there is a abalone-y tasting sauce coating the noodles instead, even without actual abalones, like the version at Yum’s Bistro.

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