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Oct 16, 2006 04:08 AM

100% Healthy Dessert in Millbrae now open

Drove by and took a peek inside today. This branch/location is at 328 Broadway Millbrae (the street # is soooo typical Chinese, which in Cantonese can phonetically be manipulated to a profitable business, sang yee faht) and is right across the Shadow Collections store that sells snacks, HK/Taiwan pop music CDs and DVDs, and next to the Lai Lai Chinese restaurant.

The menu is very impressive, 5 pages long and the take out menu is in full color with pictures. Should be identical to the Taraval SF location. The offerings here look very interesting, with a mix of traditional and modern HK style desserts and some fusion of western/european. If you like stuff like dun lai dun dan (steamed milk or steam egg custard), stewed stuff like almond/fungus/frog cream/sea coconut/pear/papaya kind of dessert, fruit based desserts like what you can find at Hui Lau Shan to some extent (and Golden Island in SF/San Mateo) then this place is for you. Tons of fancy drinks too (with fancy names to boot) and who knows what's inside but looks interesting. Also small snacks from typical HK style cafe snack fare to chocolate waffles, toasts, salads, and the various combo offerings of udon/ramen which probably are the least "authentic" items.

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  1. Ji ma wu sounds mighty attractive now that the weather has cooled off. Do let us know how the hot desserts are.

    Taraval's 100% Healthy Desserts -

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Stopped by after lunch today to check this place out. I had already lost 20 to 25 mins from the parking space across the street prior to going inside, and had taken a mental note about the warning sign by the entrace of the dessert shop, saying that their staff are still in training, be aware of delays.

      Bottom line: if you are a stickler for service, or in a hurry, wait another month or two to get their act together. Service was appalling today at this location.

      I ordered one of the fancy drinks, Old SF (#1) which was prepared in the blender for each separate layer of watermelon juice with ice, pineapple juice with ice (likely using fresh fruit), and a bottom layer that was a mix of a sugar based syrup with something that was black pearl/sago. The drink took a while to come out but it was refreshing and well done. I also ordered tofu fa, after being told that the baked sago and red bean pudding would take 25 mins (very kind of the waitress to inform me of that, but service went downhill afterwards). The tofu fa came out in a metallic bowl that sat in a round wooden pot (very fancy yet traditional). I ordered it cold but it came out hot (not a big deal), and while it was flavorless even with the syrup sweetener added in, the texture was supremely soft, like flower petal flakes (very pretty) and had it not been so flavorless this would score really high marks.

      But overall the service was just plain wrong. The waitress had problems juggling between the tables (I was the only one there at first and after I had ordered, 6 high school kids came in followed by a small family of 4), had to figure out how to work the even fancier touch screen invoicing system to log orders, and in between me asking for the check and another family waiting to get their order taken, the waitress took a call which took several minutes and she proceeded to vent to another coworker after the fact leaving us in the dark while the Millbrae policeperson in the golf cart was tagging chalk on parked cars (mine was one of them). I had to bellow out loud enough for the floor manager (equally clueless) to hear to speed up the service, who also took the order of the table next ot mine.

      Maybe a month isn't enough for this place to have their stuff fully trained, they really need 2 months. The floor manager needs serious training as well. At this rate if they keep up the level of service they will lose customers very quickly. Doesn't matter if you speak Cantonese, Mandarin or not, service will tank in the near future.

      Do check out the wall picture specials, there are coconut theme broth desserts, but instead of sago, sticky rice, they use....get this...HO FUN....yes as in the same fun in beef chow fun, but with dessert/fruit!!! How off the wall is that. I wonder who will be using cheung fun / rice vermicilli rolls / banh cuon next.

    2. The service at the Taraval branch isn't great either, especially when it's busy. Some of the servers there are just clueless. The last time we were there, one waitstaff came in (late I presume) complaining that she couldn't find parking and that she had to park a block away (yes, one block). We were the only party of there (two of us) and had to wait quite a while for our food.

      1. 1450 AM Cantonese radio today at 4:30 pm (a daily food talk show program M-F) had a discussion about this very establishment and location, where they were either advertising and/or touting the highlights of their offerings (different restaurant each time).

        One new dessert touted was get this...a fruit based dessert with a fruit flavored broth using ho fun/rice noodle instead of say sago! But here's the catch, it is not the same ho fun used in say beef chow fun, but a much softer and sweeter variation that according to the talk show hosts, are made with coconut juice.
        These dessert dishes are referred to as "Lo Hor" (yes, lo, as in lo mein's lo). I remember seeing a poster for this in the establishment and various other fruit themed lo hor's but forgot about it until. Talk about out of the box WEIRD. Who knows maybe it works well. The hosts today mentioned Mango Lo Hor, supposedly an original creation of theirs. Anyone else tried this or brave enough to?

        Sweet black sesame soup (ji ma wu) was also highly touted and Melanie had already reviewed this with positive feedback (they do grind it from scratch, and don't use instant powder mix). Apparently the almond version is supposedly decent too but I'm not sure if I want to try that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: K K

          Thanks for the info, KK. I tried the almond wu, and it wasn't nearly as good as the black sesame version.