We celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner at Tai Wu in Foster City. We had been here a week earlier for dim sum (link below). None of the wo choy menus appealed so we ordered ala carte. Our thrifty mother asked for moderation and we managed to keep the tab at $88 including one Tsingtao, tax and tip for five of us.
The universal favorite was the barbecued pork made from the neck cut on the appetizer menu. This had no visible fat layer or rind but was wonderfully marbled and succulent throughout. The seasoning was particularly well-tuned, just slightly sweet and fragrant with exotic spices. For me, this bested the versions at Chef's Wok and Zen Peninsula.
Pork neck (jowl) char siu -
The most interesting and most richly flavored dish was the beef enoki rolls ordered from the Chef's Specials section of the menu. From the taste and texture, the cut of beef seemed like ribeye steak to us, which was wrapped around a core of enoki mushrooms then seared and bathed in an unctuous sauce. The beef had very good flavor and was tender as can be. The near-raw mushrooms in the center were rather stringy and difficult to bite through. The sauce had the richness of demiglace laced with butter and a faint sweetness that played well against the savory carmelized red onions.
Beef enoki rolls -
The XO sauce here is outstanding, and had larger than usual nubbins of Virginia ham mingled with the fresh and dried scallop briny bits in a mildly sweet chili base. The delicate flounder filets dressed with the sauce took on an earthier note. We enjoyed crunching up the crispy fried fins and tails.
Sauteed filets in XO sauce and fried flounder bones -
The two dishes that fell out were the fried oysters and the crab meat yee foo mein. The fried oysters lacked a certain ocean sweetness and the batter was too thick and doughy. The crab yee foo mein was hugely disappointing. The noodles were mushy and the soaked in liquid was none too tasty. Even worse, the crab meat was frozen and dry as cotton.
Edited to add: We also had a plate of snow pea leaves with garlic. They were terrible - bitter and stringy. The produce buyer made a big boo-boo.
And for a sweet finish, we enjoyed the complimentary hot dessert soup. This had a generous amount of papaya and snow ear fungus in a palm sugar sweetened steamy liquid.
Papaya and snow ear fungus hot soup -
Tai Wu/Mr. Fong's
950 King Drive (at Callan Blvd)
Dim Sum Served Daily Mon - Fri 11 - 3, Sat & Sun 10 - 3
Dinner: Sun - Thu - 5 - 9:30, Fri & Sat - 5 - 10
Dim Sum at Tai Wu/Mr. Fong, Daly City -