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For only $40/person inclusive of tax & gratuity, Melanie was able to prearrange a phenomenal 14-course lunch showcasing the talent of Chef Liu and his team at his Royal Feast restaurant next to the Millbrae intermodal terminal. An effort was made to order items off the menu.
The first 6 cold appetizer courses surprisingly came for each diner individually instead of in the more familiar family style:
1. Pork feet jelly
2. Steamed chicken in chili sauce
3. Signature eggplant
4. Dry mixed beef tendon
5. Sister’s rabbit dice
6. Okra w/sesame paste
The last dish was a bit too chalky or pasty for me. But everything else was great.
7. Seafood & egg white w/vegetable soup
Chef Liu streamed the egg white at the bottom of each bowl like chawanmushi! Just when you think it’s your typical tofu in a common Chinese soup. Wonderfully light. Broth was clean, tasty, and (I think) devoid of that one-dimensional MSG umami.
8. Beijing duck (2 ways)
Each person gets a single prewrapped duck roll and another deep-fried one with salad dressing inside (like the shrimp salad roll you get at Cantonese dim sum). I am not too crazy about the latter one, as I find the starch-to-meat ratio too high.
9. Braised ocean clam w/fish maw
Very Tanjia. The ocean clam is often viewed as imitation abalone. The relatively expensive fish maw’s spongy texture is not to everyone’s liking, but a dish like this in a banquet is traditionally meant by a host to show off. The thick broth made from chicken and pork is rich and amazing.
10. Kung Pao shrimp & scallop
The shrimp is a bit overcooked and thus tough. But that is not too big a distraction from another great dish from the Sichuan cuisine expert.
11. Braised lamb w/dates in clay pot
Cute tiny individual-size clay pots! Perfect vehicle to trap all the aromas from small unctuous morsels of lamb.
12. Braised crab meat w/asparagus
Most folks at the table are stuffed at this point. 3 tender trimmed stalks of asparagus topped with crab meat and the to-be-expected great white sauce.
13. Dry braised black bass w/noodles
Live farmed fresh-water black bass straight from the restaurant’s seafood tank to be dry braised, served on noodles with just the right texture. Have you had live fish served outside of the usual steaming recipe in a Chinese restaurant?!
14. Caramelized fried banana
The banana chunks are dipped in ice water on a separate table. My phone froze up the moment I tried to take a picture.
Thanks also to all who brought food and great wine to share!
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