Advanced Studies in Dim Sum

"Tai Wu in Daly City is expanding my horizon," says Cynsa after enjoying a dim sum tutorial-cum-meal there, noting that "every dish was a pleasure to taste."

Not that you have to go exotic to appreciate what Tai Wu's doing. The siu mai dumplings are a textbook example of a simple dish done really, really well, says pilinut. "Usually a pedestrian staple, these were perfectly executed with just the right balance of meat, fat, and shrimp." Plus they were "removed from the steamer at just the right moment."

Har gow are among the best of their kind, pilinut adds. "The har gow skins were a shade thinner than elsewhere, and the filling was a toothsome ball of shrimp mince." A great off-menu item is the special chicken salad, with creamy preserved egg and crispy noodles. Not the usual excuse to serve leftover bird; this was "fresh, tender morsels of meat mixed with the jellyfish, vegetables, and century egg," says pilinut, topped with squares of crisped skin.

Beef meatballs get more flavorful with each bite, says charliemyboy, "starting slowly with mild flavor that increased in intensity as I chewed." You get the same effect with the shark's fin dumplings. But the show-stopper may be the whole lobster meat dumpling. "Delicious tender juicy meat, both in the dumplings and in the lobster pieces cooked in batter," charliemyboy says.

Speaking of dim sum that goes above and beyond, K K was impressed by the offerings at Asian Pearl in Millbrae. And on a weekday, no less.

Take the mixed mushrooms roll: "These juicy mushrooms, paired with an excellent cheung fun sweet soy sauce, rolled in well steamed thin and smooth cheung fun skins, made for an unforgettable experience," K K says. The crowd-pleasing veggie tofu skin roll has diced veggies (including more mushrooms) rolled up in tofu skin (yuba) and deep-fried to an unbelievably crisp exterior while leaving the inside juicy and delicate.

Special stations by the fish tanks are busy cooking up some of the more exotic dim sum specials, from curry fishball with pork rinds to "an insanely fragrant daikon beef tripe."

Checking in at Koi Palace, the crab xiao long bao with whole fried crab are as good as ever. Finger-lickin' goodness, as Cynsa says. And charliemyboy declares that "the crisp egg custard tart was the best of its kind I have had in a long time."

Shrimp in crispy tofu wrap is a nice combo of flavors and textures; chicken feet in black bean sauce are tender and meaty "with a little something extra in the spicing that pleased me," says charliemyboy. But as for the coffee-glazed pork spareribs, "the novelty has worn off and I find it cloyingly annoying," Cynsa says.

Tai Wu/Mr. Fong [Peninsula]
950 King Plaza, Daly City
650-878-8833

Peninsula Asian Pearl [Peninsula]
1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae
650-616-8288

Koi Palace [Peninsula]
365 Gellert Boulevard, Daly City
650-992-9000

Discuss: Great Dim Sum Experience at Tai Wu, Daly City
Dim sum at Asian Pearl Peninsula Millbrae
More Dim Sum at Koi Palace, Daly City

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