Friday, September 12, 2008

Koi Palace : Daly City

Koi Palace was one of the first places friends and coworkers recommended me try out, while I was in the SF area, but being the crotchedy stubborn hype-distrusting old man that I am, it took nearly the entire summer to drag my butt out to this place.

The place is indeed quite good and well worth it and I regret only having had the opportunity to eat there twice. It has both a variety of dimsum dishes that I've yet to encounter (mostly I noticed some northern Chinese cuisine influenced dishes) and some standard dishes that were just very well-done.

The restaurant is in a somewhat strange location, sitting out of view from the main street, with nary another Asian restaurant or store in sight and next to an Outback Steakhouse.

In the lobby, they sell freshly made dragon-beard candy, fun stuff to try if you've never tried it before.

They also have a bunch of seafood tanks. Here's a picture of a giant crab, trying to escape. Go crab go!

The teapot goes atop the candle holder, purportedly to keep the tea warmer.

Gao Chiu Gao - Chive filled fried dumplings

Di gee gao - Scallop dumplings

Tang ji jeuk - seafood rice porridge, interestingly has pickled radishes in it, which I associate more with Taiwan or northern Chinese cuisine.Chiu pei yu peen cheurng fun - deep-fried fish inside a rice noodle wrap. Absolutely phenomenal. The rice noodle wrap was in my Dad's opinions the best he's had in his whole life (including HK, Vancouver and LA)
Fried taro boxes - Yum. Tasty, but nothing too complicated here. Taro with dried shrimp, I believe parsley and salt.

Sang jin bao fresh - northern style bun types with fried pork inside.

They have a window so you can peek into their kitchen.

My Dad and my weren't quite as impressed on our second trip to Koi Palace; that being said, we were trying more of the less-common dishes:

Pan-fried luo-bak gou - Radish cakes

Ngow Lam - Beef tendons - The meat was definitely slow-cooked, which made this almost taste home-cooked (a compliment, as most restaurants don't spend the time on this). But there was a curry sauce in here that was tasty on first-bite, but just came off as amateurish afterwards
XO Spicy Sauce Dumplings - These had a bit of a kick to them. The dumplings had a nice skin, but overall the taste was of mostly the spicy oil, not any of the inside meat.
Dan Tot - Egg tarts - Ooh these were definitely a treat. Toasty warm out of the kitchen with the egg custard melting in your mouth. These are a standard dish at dimsum and very well done here.
Yeah Jup Herng Jiao Gou - Half coconut, half-banana jello. This had a really lovely almost granular texture, but dude, the banana side tasted like it was from a instant mix. Use frickn' real bananas! Steamed Shanghai Dumplings - Again, we were trying out some of their less common things. This wasn't anything special, but then again I wouldn't expect Shanghai stuff to be their strength.
Pumpkin-Mushroom rice-noodle rolls - The insides were not only cold, but I just really wasn't a fan of the pumpkin-mushroom combo - it just was rather bland. The rice noodle skin was good as before however.

All in all, despite our second visit, this place is a destination restaurant, with breadth and depth in its dimsum to make it worth at least one if not more visits.
As can be expected, the wait-time can be fairly lengthy. The first time, we got there about 45 minutes after their opening time and waited for a half-hour. The second time, we arrived 15 minutes after opening and were seated immediately. So either arrive early or bring some reading material, like their dimsum special menu.

Koi Palace
365 Gellert Blvd Daly City, CA 94015 (Map)
(650) 992-9000
Yelp Chowhound

($Brunch, $Chinese, $Recommended, $SF)

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