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Chowdown Report: Tai Wu (Millbrae)

hyperbowler | Dec 8, 201405:17 PM     4

Last Saturday I joined three hounds at Tai Wu in Millbrae for dim sum. I'd like to explore more of the menu, but overall, this was a solid meal and would be a good recommendation for dim sum newbies or veterans. Note that Tai Wu has parking in a few scattered lots (e.g., near the Burger King... there's a map outside their front door). There is also parking on the street (1 or 2 hour zones)

The server told us the third floor is where you can get the best cart offerings, so we head up there. The carts offerings were diverse, but we had to snag a written menu at the entrance to order the more exciting or non-traditional stuff. Including tax & tip, the bill was $25 per person and most dishes contained three pieces (we had them cut many of them to serve the four of us).

From the menus:
002 Shiu Mai (half spicy, half savory) : the reddish spicy ones contained shrimp and gave off a lovely whiff of Sichuan peppercorns. The "savory' ones were fine, but I'd ask for 100% spicy next time.

023 Tom yum gong Shanghai Dumpling (Tom Yum Xiao Long Bao) : these are served flattened in a metal foil cup and are impossible to lift out. They're small, so I sucked up mine as if I were eating an oyster. I liked how the meatball and sour soup took on the role of the typical XLB + vinegar combination. It's neither as good as a regular XLB nor a good bowl of tom yum soup, but it's a fun tweak that that I would like to see improved upon.

030 Japanese style turnip cake (turnip cake with wasabi) : turnip cakes are often pasty bland vehicles for soy sauce. These had a lot of flavor courtesy of the super crisp outsides. The wasabi sauce was a natural compliment to the turnip cakes.

057 Baked durian puff : oddly enough, it wasn't the filling but the pastry itself that I felt had too strong a flavor to balance things out

From the carts:
006 Shrimp dumpling (ha gow) : big chunks of shrimp
020 Zhongshan dumpling (pork & mushroom)

017 Chiu chow dumpling (pork & peanut) : held its structure and had fresh tasting ingredients

032 Deep fried taro dumpling : the layer of wispy bits was thin, but the overall dumpling was still crunchy and delicious

105 Roasted suckling pig : delicious meat with crisp and flavorful skin. Came with a sauce similar to a thin Hoisin.

Pan fried noodle with savory sauce sauce (XO?) : noodles were a little overcooked

Shrimp rice noodle roll (cheong fun) : others seemed to like these, but my piece of shrimp had a metallic taste

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