Chowhound Report - Zen Peninsula
So last week after asking for dim sum recs near San Bruno, I decided to try Zen Peninsula in Millbrae. I went yesterday solo and today for lunch, the BF and I decided to try it again. Here's a recap of all that I ate..
Vegetable dumplings: Despite the picture in the "menu" - the dumping wrapper is not bright green. I ordered this both days because I really liked it - and that's despite the fact that I don't like mushrooms. The BF said it was too strong of mushrooms but I couldn't taste it. I liked the texture of the soft mushrooms with the crunch of what I guess to be water chesnuts.
Roasted pork crepes: This was a plentiful dish but there wasn't a lot of pork found within the crepe.
Beef crepe: This was a lot better - much more meat so it tasted a lot better. This is definitely a very filling dish.
Shrimp crepe: I thought these were just okay. I wish the shrimp had been cut up to be distributed evenly through the crepe but it was a whole shrimp in one part of the crepe which made it uneven.
Pork Siu Mai: The BF ordered these because he thought they wouldn't have shrimp (he's allergic) but unfortunately they did. So lucky me, I got to eat all four pieces and they were tasty.
Rice in lotus leaves: I'm a big fan of this but was a little let down by the one prepared here. Although I got three, it was a lot smaller than I was used to. I'm also not a fan of the dried egg yolk they put inside.
Crab and pork dumplings: The BF thought these were too fishy - I thought they were okay but nothing spectacular.
Roasted pork puffs: These were sweet pork inside a pastry wrap with seasme seeds inside. I loved this a lot - it was warm and sweet but not overly sweet.
All in all, I liked this place. The inside of the restaurant is nice as are the waiters. The service was quick and they are fairly attentive. Although I say this based on two weekday meals when the place was fairly full but not necessarily busy - I'm guessing it's different on the weekends.
It's definitely nice to have a dim sum option that's close to work and I will definitely return!
There's better dim sum out there, but not where you can walk in with a big group on a Sunday and be seated right away.
The usual suspects - char siu bao, sticky rice, pork siu mai, rice noodle - were all flavorful and appropriately textured (no gummy wonton wrapper or soggy bread issues). The big win was definitely the wider selection of more unique dim sum items - probably half a dozen distinctly different rice noodle options, steamed bread/cakes, mochi-like sweets, etc.
Kabocha fries: A heartier version of pumpkin tempura - perfectly crunchy and salty with the silky pumpkin inside.
Coconut prawns: Generously sized prawns, fried coconut crackly without being too dry. These are usually too sweet, but here they were nicely restrained.
Fried milk: Light skin around a thick square of condensed coconut milk. Maybe a little too sweet, but worth it for the "wow!" factor. I've only had this at one other restaurant (Mayflower in the Richmond dist). ZP's version is sweeter but also more delicate.
Saffron and mango tapioca jello: Instead of the 'traditional' chalky coconut jello, this was a lovely orange color with tiny tapioca beads visible. The flavor was surprisingly complex for a dessert item - it took me a minute to figure out the saffron note.
The roasted pork puffs are sooooo good there. Those are the char sui gow that I mentioned before. Another poster did mention that when having Dim Sum, you can also order a dish of noodles and such to supplement. We almost always get a noodle, like the dry fried beef chow fun or soy sauce chicken chowmein or HK style chow mein. The only Dim Sum I've had lately that I've enjoyed nearly every dish was probably Koi Palace, but it's spendy and has a long wait.