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Lousy Dim Sum at House of Sichuan/Macau Gourmet

Melanie Wong | Jul 3, 200503:28 AM

Much as I usually like to order dim sum made to order instead of from carts, this requires you to put your trust in the kitchen to deliver the goods. Not a problem when you're on familiar ground, but definitely riskier when you're in foreign territory. Recently we stopped in Cupertino for dim sum. Having been warned off Joy Luck Place and Dynasty, our next option was House of Sichuan/Macau Gourmet that I'd been curious about. While there have been positive reports of the Sichuan side of this split personality restaurant, I'd not read anything about the Macau/Cantonese end.

We were there at the end of the lunch time and didn't have the luxury of trying a few test dishes before ordering more. I picked two from the Sichuan xiao chi menu and the others from the dim sum check off sheet.

First out was the cold plate of shrimp with green onion sauce, one of my favorite dishes at the late House of YuRong, where the Sichuan chef allegedly worked. The sauce was watery adn the shrimp were overcooked. Rubbery shrimp became the unifying theme of this lunch.

The rice noodle crepes filled with tough shrimp had an overly sweet sauce. The har gau were tasteless with tough wrappers. The prawn and meat steamed dumpling (fun gwor) were nice, though I didn't like the shreds of surimi. The wontons in hot oil turned out to be chunky shui jiao that were too dry inside but not half bad. The fried taro dumpling was the star of lunch, actually edible with a dark brown fluffy crust, overly smooth taro (probably made from powder) and tasty albeit cold filling. Like all the dumplings, these were frozen.

As insurance, I had ordered a plate of beef chow fun. Amazingly, this was messed up too. With more bean sprouts than rice noodles, the onion strips were near raw and the beef was so tough we could not chew it.

For dessert, I'd ordered steamed egg custard buns. The bread was tough and the gritty, stale-tasting custard was barely warm. Another frozen item that wasn't cooked all the way through. Last out was a plate of fried sesame balls. The server cut them in half at the table, allowing me to see that the inside was uncooked and the crust was about a half inch thick. Ick! I rejected this plate before she had a chance to put it on the table and made sure that it was removed from the bill.

On the positive side, I could say that the room is attractive and prices were low. But, I'm not impressed with either the Sichuan or Macau side of the kitchen.


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