Friday night’s dinner was at Fu Lam Mum in downtown Mountain View. This was a first time for each of us. Earlier I’d tried to take my mother there, but she balked at seeing only a couple diners. Not so this night, the place was nearly full all night, very noisy, and hopping with energy. While the busy FoH staff ran around and struggled to keep up with the crush, a manager with a headset circling the downstairs dining room kept things running smoothly.
The white board of specials included some new year’s dishes, such as ho see soong (lettuce cups with dried oysters). And, we saw a good looking plate of poached mustard greens (gai choi) topped with a healthy portion of fat choi go by. But we ended up picking pork and oyster preps from the regular menu.
Our server ladled out individual bowls of the soup, listed on the menu as Seafood tofu and bamboo pith. None of us could find any bamboo pith in our bowls, and I checked the tureen too and came up empty-handed. I pointed this out to our waitress, who checked with the manager and came back with the explanation that customers didn’t like the bamboo pith so it was discontinued. The stock did not have that much character, so I asked for it to be taken away. The manager said he wanted us to be happy and that it was no problem to take it off the bill. I greatly appreciated his smooth handling of this.
Then a cold appetizer - Pork hock and jellyfish arranged nicely on a bed of marinated soybeans. This was very good with perfect salting and a good bounce to the jellyfish. The thin slices of succulent and smooth hock meat rimmed with chewy rind and fat were delicious dipped in the sauce blending sweetened mayo and hot Chinese mustard. The candied soybeans were special too, seasoned with preserved orange peel and sweet herbs for more complexity and unique flavor. This was a good value at $7.
Another example of an out-of-date menu description was the roast pig. Listed as Crispy suckling pig, $11, but actually a thick slice of roast pork belly. This was too mature to be suckling pig, but good in its own right. The sweet, vinegary dipping sauce cut through the porcine richness.
Another winner was Fried oysters with salty egg yolk, $12. The batter was a little heavy, but the oysters were on point with a custard-like texture under the crunchy exterior speckled with bits of salty egg yolk. Salty egg yolks (hom don wong) are one of my mom's favorite things, and she was chasing the last of the golden, rich crumbs around the plate with her chopsticks.
We also had House special noodles. Available as a crispy cake (jin mein) or chow mein, we picked the latter, and were treated to tasty soy sauced noodles stir-fried with chunks of chicken, char siu, shrimp, scallops, squid, yellow leeks, plucked bean sprouts, and scallions. Like me, William would have preferred thicker noodles for this style.
Complimentary dessert was red bean soup, still not my favorite, but this tasted better than most. Dinner for the three of us came to $58 with tax and tip, with some to take home. Overall, we thought Fu Lam Mum made a good showing and we’d return.
Fu Lam Mum
246 Castro St, Mountain View, CA
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