Tai-Pan in Palo Alto is “my dim sum dark horse,” says pilinut. Why is it a dark horse? Well, the luxuriously appointed dining space and the largely non-Chinese clientele may lead some to dismiss it as inauthentic. “But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the eating has been very, very good indeed at Tai-Pan, particularly since the owners (formerly of King’s China Bistro on Daly City) hired back their old dim sum chef in March,” pilinut says.
There are no carts, so dim sum is cooked to order. Har gow have plump, juicy, clean-tasting shrimp bulging from their perfectly cooked, chewy dumpling wrappers. For veg, get the toothsome, sweet green beans cooked with earthy minced pork. There’s also silky cheong fun (rice noodle roll) and fried turnip puff in a delicate pastry wrapper.
It’s worth ordering a few dishes that aren’t dim sum too. Like Shanghai crab, the legs fried salt-and-pepper style, the meat from the body cooked along with delicately scrambled egg whites. And sampan lobster (or crab) is deep-fried and tossed with a heap of fried garlic and a touch of chile.
Dim sum items range from $3.50 to $10, averaging $6; Shanghai crab and sampan lobster are $32.
560 Waverly Street, Palo Alto
Board Link: My Dimsum Dark Horse: Tai Pan in Palo Alto