On Friday, we had a late lunch at Pan Tao. This was the first time for my parents and me; auntie had been here before. At nearly 2pm the cart action was limited to one rolling station with some odds and ends. We snagged chicken feet, steamed spareribs, siu mai, shrimp balls coated with sticky rice, fried taro dumplings, and poached gai lan with oyster sauce.
The style here reminds me of Gold Mountain in San Francisco Chinatown with heartier, braised dishes shining. The tastiest items were the chicken feet (conveniently halved) and the spareribs. The chicken feet wouldn't win any beauty contests, but that's a good thing as they were cooked long enough to soften and start to fall apart while soaking up all the flavorings. The spareribs were a touch spicy with good toothsomeness and not as fatty as most examples. The pearls of glutinous rice studding the steamed shrimp balls were too soft, but the shrimp forcemeat was fine if a bit rubbery. The siu mai had that old-fashioned Cantonese-y rustic flavor with spongy, smooth pork filling embellished with dried shrimp and a topping of roe. The gai lan was too hard and not cooked enough. The taro dumplings were the one weak point --- drab flavored and oil-soaked.
For dessert, we had the mango pudding topped with evaporated milk. It's a large serving and enough for the four of us to share. Soft textured and studded with cubes of mango, this was a very good version.
Auntie picked up our tab, so I'm not sure of the exact amount. It looked like it was close to $30 including tax and tip. The servers were solicitous, making sure my father was comfortable, and offering ice water all round. The air-conditioning is strong here too. We'd go back.
Pan Tao Restaurant
(across from Cupertino Village)
1686 S. Wolfe Rd. @ Homestead
Sunnyvale, CA 94087