Seeing Dave MP’s detailed report on his first visit to Koi Palace for dim sum,
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568137 , I thought I’d post about the weekday lunch my mom and I had there two months ago. This was a couple days after the chowdown as Koi Garden in Dublin, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556148 , which was a good opportunity for a fresh comparison.
Mom and I arrived at 1pm and had a short wait before a table was ready for us. Mom enjoyed tasting the samples of moon cakes in the display for the moon festival.
Because we were on the late side with few things still circulating, most of what we tried was from the checklist. For tea, we selected an organic oolong, $1.50 per person.
First up was an order of har gao. They looked the same with thinnish, chewy wrappers encasing whole shrimp. But they tasted different, and BETTER, than my last visits to Koi Palace. My issue with KP had been the heavy hand with salt and MSG to give the dumplings a more robust flavor profile instead of letting the natural ingredients shine through. But a problem now, the unvarnished sweetness of the shrimp was not mucked up by flavor boosters. Same story with the pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings, very clean flavors.
The Bee's nest taro puffs, $3.60, were especially good, if on the small side. Very light and frilly crust, well-seasoned mashed taro, and tasty meat filling. The most greaseless example I’ve ever seen.
The tour de force of this meal turned out to be the steamed XO diced mushroom and pork dumplings, $4.50, a new one for us. The dough used for the wrapper has the soft tender texture as used for xiao long bao. They’re pleated a little differently to seal them and ovoid in shape rather than round. I got a surprise biting into the first one when some chili-red broth squirted out. Duh, the little metallic cups they’re served in should have been my clue that they’d be juicy. This was a great way to present these tender dumplings to eat them out of hand, and with the subsequent ones, not a drop of the delicious broth was lost. Imagine a sweetly porky XLB revved up with spicy and savory XO sauce, what a great combination!
We also liked the chiu chou dumplings, more freshly steamed than the example in Dublin for a more tender chewiness. However, my mother found them a little too spicy. I thought they were great filled.
The deluxe trio dumplings, $4.50, were well-made presenting three different flavors nestled in little shrimp boats, but the flavors were too bold and salty. One was the same spicy XO sauce dumpling I’d had in Dublin, plus one topped with pork and preserved vegetable and another with tiny salted fish.
Service was pretty good, but for the delay in getting our bill added up. The staff was friendlier and more attentive than previous visits. The noise level was quite high even though we were in the side section, but was manageable once the room emptied out. Execution on all our dishes was spot-on even if some of the more intense styles didn’t suit us. Koi Palace is at the top of its dim sum game.
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015