Our dim sum education got a big boost today at Tai Wu in Daly City. We were fortunate to be there with a friend of the owner who took charge of ordering and gave us a lot of tips on how to do dim sum right.
We enjoyed the following dishes (in approximate order)—
Chiu Chou Fried Soft Tofu
Tofu Skin Wrapped Seafood
Crab Meat Shiu Mai with Shrimp Roe
Dace Pate Fish Balls
Chiu Chow Fun Gow Dumpling
Special Chicken Salad with Preserved Egg and Jellyfish (not on menu)
Shark Fin Dumpling
Roast Suckling Pig
Coated Deep Fried Turnip Cake Cubes
Braised Pig Intestines
Whole Lobster Meat Dumpling
Large Pea Sprouts in Supreme Broth with Wolfberry
Rice Noodles with Pork and Mushrooms in a Cap
Pan Fried Pork and Vegetable Buns
Sai Yung Egg Puffs
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Our leader made sure the dishes came in the best order for eating. We had milder (mostly steamed) dishes first, saving the heavier fried dishes for later so the oil would not interfere with tasting the subtler flavors of the earlier dishes.
Most of the dishes were very good or excellent and none were total losers.
We have been using shiu mai and har gow as standards of comparison and Tai Wu does well on both counts. The shiu mai was very good. I liked the har gow better than what I’ve had recently at Koi Palace and Champagne Seafood, but less than Asian Pearl’s which I really liked a lot.
The Chiu Chow dumplings had a nice flavor and good crunch from the peanuts.
The quality of chicken in the special chicken salad was excellent—it was soft and tender and had very good flavor. The preserved eggs were very creamy and the various textures including the crispy noodles worked well together.
The beef meatballs seemed to get more flavorful with each bite. I took some home and the leftovers had the same quality, starting slowly with mild flavor that increased in intensity as I chewed. The shark’s fin dumplings were even more flavorful, starting with the very first bite.
The roast suckling pig pieces were thick and juicy. For the second straight time we have had suckling pig that was better than the much-praised version at Koi Palace. Perhaps we were just unlucky there—our scrawny KP pig must have been the runt of his litter.
Now we come to the real delight—the whole lobster meat dumpling dish. It was truly fine. Delicious tender juicy meat, both in the dumplings and in the lobster pieces cooked in batter.
The fried turnip cake cubes were as good as I can remember having, with lots of flavor from the bacon.
The rice noodles cap (named because the fried noodles are formed over top of the dish like a cap) was good solid comfort food.
The portuguese egg tarts were good, but not nearly as good as the outstanding ones at Champagne Seafood Restaurant. Those had a lighter, flakier crust that was made in thin layers—on the top edges you could see the separation between the almost filo-thin layers. The crust at Tai Wu was heavier, flat on top and a little soggy on bottom. The custard flavor at Champagne was also better.
The very soft and smooth fried milk pieces went well with the just-sweet-enough creamy coconut sauce.
The condiments and tea were as good as the food. Until recently mustard has been my preferred condiment for most of the dishes I don’t eat plain, but lately I am appreciating chile pepper sauce more. Mr. Fong makes his own pepper sauce and it may be the best I have had, though Koi Palace also has great pepper sauce.
The Gook Bo tea mix was darker than what we had at Koi Palace a couple of days ago presumably because of a higher ratio of Bo Lei (pu-erh) to Gook Fa (chrysanthemum). I preferred it-- it cleaned the tastes better between dishes and I like the stronger flavor.
The bottom line for me is that Tai Wu’s dim sum today was absolutely top notch. Since we were there with a friend of the owner we got some special dishes and attention, but it is hard to imagine that the quality of the regular menu items would not also be very good in the main room. We will return on our own to test that hypothesis and report back here.
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015
Peninsula Asian Pearl
1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030
Tai Wu/Mr. Fong
950 King Plz, Daly City, CA 94015
Champagne Seafood Restaurant
88 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401