While doing a casual Google internet search on Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Restaurant, I found a review by Olivia Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was on the Richmond HKSSR dated April 2005. The South Bay Sunnyvale branch only opened earlier this spring, a year later.
Our party of six ordered six dishes. The first four dishes were inspired by Olivia Wus article. We wanted to savoir for ourselves.
1. Fish Throat w/Chili And Pepper Sauce
Prior to this meal, I could not have visualized the smooth, bubbly, tubular, and crunchy mass that fish throat turned out to be. The heat of the chili-pepper (not too hot, but just right) came on smoothly with a slight hesitation. I can now say I have experienced fish throat and it was interesting. I am still cogitating about fish throats! By itself, other than the unique texture, it really did not have a whole lot of taste to it. I just may have to pass it by next time though to try some of the so many other worthy items which we havent tried yet.
2. Pan Fried Stuffed Tofu w/Pate Sauce
At first glance, I could not detect outwardly that the tofu was stuffed as advertised, but the stuffing was there! Apparently, I think, the shrimp mousse pate stuffing was injected into the center of the tofu surprise! This dish was a large clay pot dish with the tofu resting on top of a bed of spinach. The combination was nicely assembled, creative and the sauce was very good.
3. Sauteed Mince Beef w/Bitter Melon And Egg White
This dish is consistently excellent, (I have had it before, but ordered it for my wife and friends to try). I am accustomed to bitter melon, sometimes the bitter it is, the better. In this situation, however, the egg white performs a miraculous function of blending the beef and bitter melon together while toning down some of the natural bitterness of the melon.
4. Sauteed Oyster w/Olive Leaf
Wow, this was a revelation! The flavors in the oyster dish were intense and complex. The taste of the dried oyster evident itself readily, but I could not fathom all the other flavors dancing about. They seemed to be converging from all different directions! This dish really had me going in its consumption. There was leftover, so I eagerly boxed it for closer diagnosis at home. Upon further review, the ingredients consisted of chopped-up tiny little bits of dried oysters, green olives, red bell pepper (it looked like carrot at the restaurant), short stubby pieces of crunchy green string beans, ginger, Chinese sausage, green onions, and last but not least, bits of olive leaves.
5. Surf Clam With Mixed Mushroom In XO Sauce
The surf clams were tossed-cooked with sugar snap peas and mushrooms. There were large thin slices of chewy surf clams. As good as this dish was the surf clam w/string beans and preserved vegetable combination that we had on a previous visit was just a bit more exceptional by comparison. I thought the preserved vegetable-black bean sauce came through being more distinctive and tastier than the subtler XO sauce.
6. House Deluxe Selected Sauteed
Chinese sausage and fish cake tossed cooked with silk squash (Chinese Okra). This dish was good. However, hyped by my previous very enjoyable visits and meals, I somehow maintained higher expectations of the House that unfortunately did not come to fruition this time. I was a bit disappointed in that I thought the House could have easily come up with something better and much more imaginative - that which I feel they are certainly more than capable of doing (I gambled on the House and got disappointed next time I will more conservatively stick with specifying on a surer known entity!).
Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Restaurant does a very nice job on Cantonese food in combining numerous varied ingredients together in a creative manner. It offers an extremely wide repertoire of food categories from dim sum to noodles to BBQ goodies to porridge to their regular menu items and finally to cook-to-order live seafood. The latter can get rather expensive while commandeering premium prices. Live coral trout weighs in at about $50/lb; and, I would be very surprise if the humongous spiny lobster, presently languishing in one of the tanks, were not at least a $200 dollar item. You can put together an excellent meal at Hong Kong Saigon at a relatively modest cost, but things can also quickly get out of hand. The six dishes that we had today were of modest cost with value and were very enjoyable. Interestingly enough, the waitperson who took our order, however, was noticeably persistent in attempting to channel us into selecting something from the live fish tanks. I allowed her nice-try attempt fly right by (actually, the way she acted, leads me to suspect that she may be part management?). Anyhow, it made me think of the following web site that I also discovered in my Googling.
Bon appetit at Hong Kong Saigon!