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Jade Palace on California Ave in Palo Alto

I work at Sharpcast, a start-up based near California Ave and our employees absolutely love this restaurant. The food is great and the owners and staff are very friendly and kind.

Unfortunately, the restaurant is tucked away off the main street and we worry that Jade Palace will soon meet it's end because of their hard to find location. They are located in a small shop center across the street from Mollie Stone's grocery store, in the same center as Plantation Cafe.

If you want something other than the same old Cal Ave and University restaurants give Jade Palace a try.

P.S. Because of their little known location Jade Palace is a great place to beat the lines during lunchtime rush hour.

151 S California Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306

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  1. can you give a little more info on their dishes, what to order, prices?

    1 Reply
    1. re: katg

      Their prices are fairly standard, $8-10 for most dishes and the portions are good. Typically I'm not the one ordering so I'm sadly lacking in specific dishes to recommend. Although, I can say everything I have had there has been quite good. We order for the whole office at times so we have tried almost everything they have.

      One of our favorites is "Singaporean Chow Fun" which is not on the menu but if you ask they'll make it for you. This one has pork in it. One of the best things about this place is that they are very accommodating... if you don't see exactly what you want on the menu or have a favorite dish they'll make it to order for you.

      They also have a menu in Chinese which has several dishes not to be found on the English menu. Unfortunately I don't speak any Chinese dialect but for those of you out there who do you can find some nice surprises there as well.

      Their menu is large, so finding a dish that suits your mood is no problem.

    2. I just wanted to bump this thread and heartily recommend Jade Palace. I agree with suzanolivia, the location is awful and difficult to see from the street. Hey, no waiting(!) but it would be a real shame for this place to close down because they serve the best Chinese/Cantonese food in the area. Try the Thai shrimp and green geens. Plus, the decor is pretty nice compared to most other Chinese places in the area.

      Best kept secret in PA.

      -----
      Jade Palace
      151 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

      2 Replies
      1. re: Renault78law

        I can't understand why everyone raves about this place. Our experience last month bordered on the laughable: barely passable food and service - the server admitted that he didn't speak Chinese and didn't know what was in any of the dishes. We were there on a Saturday night, 6 - 7:30pm, and NO other patrons showed up the whole time we were there. Perhaps we went to the one in the parallel Twilight Zone?

        1. re: Claudette

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/450821

          Yeah, I know which waiter you're talking about. From estnet's post in the link above, I suspect she had the same one and he's losing business for the restaurant. He doesn't speak Chinese, seems a bit lost, and he doesn't know the menu well. Our second time there, he came over to take care of us, and I just asked for the owner and she came right over. I will say that he is a good busser, taking care of our tea and water, boxing up food, etc.

          Both times we've been there, the place has been less than 25% occupied, including a Sunday evening at 6pm which is prime time for Chinese family dinner. It's been a luxury to eat at a Chinese restaurant that isn't noisy and crowded where my hard-of-hearing father can have a conversation at the table. But I do want to see the place survive and know that they need more business.

      2. I think this is by far the best Chinese food in the area. We went there for dinner with a party of 9 people, and ordered the Thai Shrimp, the Stir Fried Green Beans, the Fried Whole Fish, and the Black Pepper Beef. It was all awesome. Very fresh. Great service. Beautiful restaurant, too. Great dining experience! Pass the word.

        1. Jade Palace was Lucky Buddha in San Carlos before they moved to PA. This used to be the hidden gem of that side of the Peninsula, with lots and lots of mixed reviews only because Jenny threw some disgruntled CH's a curveball by saying their credit card machine was broken etc. We never had that problem there.

          Restaurant politics and mgmt issues aside, they had some really killer authentic Cantonese dishes then and I hope they still do now.

          There are some older archived threads on Lucky Buddha. If they are still around might be a good idea to ask the manager/Jenny to see if the chef can whip those same dishes out, or just ask for a translation of their Chinese menu.

          Nobody else so far came up with "Lo Siu Ping On" that I know of until LB did. It's such a super simple homey dish of soft tofu mixed in with egg and other ingredients, almost like a soft custard but goes very well with rice.

          7 Replies
          1. re: K K

            Thank you for reminding me of the name of the dish, could only remember the last couple syllables. We really liked it at Jade Palace (Chinese menu rec from the owner), what's the literal translation of lo siu ping on?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Here's a thread from 2 years ago on Lucky Buddha that escaped the search function. Hopefully those dishes are as good at JP in PA

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38344

              Lo = old

              Siu = young (generic, not the same as siu siu as in "little" in terms of quantity

              )

              Ping On = Peaceful (could also mean content, safe, or better yet, at ease)

              Gotta love eloquent Cantonese to make a common trite yet homey delicious dish sound so nice. Basically it sums up the mass appeal of the dish from the young to the old (something that my 90 year old grandma could eat w/o difficulty).

              This dish experienced a bit of a revival in Hong Kong recently, amongst gourmets and gourmands alike. It's rare such a rare find for the Bay Area.

              I've a book somewhere at work that might explain the contents some more and will get to it tomorrow. It is arguable whether there's some fish (paste) inside or not.

              1. re: K K

                Thank you! I was thinking "peace" as well and wondered if there was a flowery meaning to the whole thing.

                My mother liked the dish very much, and it's not one that we were familiar with. At Jade Palace, it does have fish paste in it. And even though it seems like it has some eggs or egg whites in it, we were told it does not. Here's the photo of it.
                http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2012/1...
                Doesn't look like much but it was very satisfying, light and wholesome tasting.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Lo Siu Ping On

                  According to this book I have, the general ingredients are:

                  Tofu, Egg/Egg white, cilantro (topping), scallions (on top), hot oil, soy sauce, lenng yu which the US equilvalent could be carp at your local 99 ranch (super boney) or Marina Supermarket, ground pork, and to give it a little more flavor, some grounded chun pei (aka dried orange peel), all steamed to perfection. So if JP isn't using fish, then maybe there's some ground pork inside, or they made a simplified version if neither.

                  1. re: K K

                    Jade Palace uses fish paste in its version, but no eggs.

            2. re: K K

              Oh so it was Lucky Buddha. We had the broken credit card machine problem, and that was for two tables of a couple of hundred dollars worth of food. We had to scramble to come up with the cash. After it happened again we say no more.

              They used to have a chef who can cook Macau style Chinese food. I wonder if that's still the case.

              1. re: PeterL

                We paid with a credit card at Jade Palace the two times I ate there, no problem.

            3. I just went here with 2 friends yesterday, based on this board's recommendations, but was disappointed. We ordered the tofu and bok choy, which was good while hot, but not anything extraordinary. We wanted to try the catfish claypot, but they were unfortunately out of it. The server recommended the fried flounder instead, which was very good for a fried fish, but fried fish is not our favorite style (we ordered it b/c the server suggested it). Then we ordered a chow fun, which my friend said was the best she's had. I was less enthusiastic.

              I think a large part of the problem, which has nothing to do with the food, but certainly affects it--was that the place was frigid. They had the heat on, or so they said, but with the stone floors and vacuous space, it was absolutely freezing. The three of us had our jackets on for most of the time. This also meant that after the first serving of food, everything turned cold right away. For stuff like Chow fun and fried fish, I need the dishes to be piping hot.

              The other problem was that none of us could read the Chinese menu. I could read it just enough to notice that something was not on the English menu, but not enough to often know what something was, other than that it was a certain kind of fish dish with greens. When we asked the waiter for his suggestions, based on his suggestions (like walnut prawns!?!?!?), I don't think they were necessarily representative of the best they had there, but more what he thought Americans or non-Chinese might like.

              Thus the consensus was that it was ok, and probably worth giving a second chance, but that a)we need to take someone who can read the Chinese menu, and b) we will go there when it is a lot warmer.

              I guess noone else was miserably cold to the point of having it adversely affect their dining experience?

              Also, aside from the mentioned things, what did people order in terms of seafood (I don't eat meat) or other Cantonese specialties?

              2 Replies
              1. re: anzu

                I still have not been but thanks for the heads up on the temperature and flooring.

                Was the female owner/manager (Jenny) present? I'd go so far as to get her to recommend stuff and be very direct and specific (ie you want the Chinese only specials, and need some help with ordering that stuff, and not the regular menu).

                Seafood....you can ask if they will do a dungeoness crab stuffed with sticky rice steamed in bamboo container. It was a Lucky Buddha classic. Check the price if that's not on the menu.

                Thai style steamed fish was a white board special but I never tried it.

                They should have black bass readily available (a common $7.99 a pound fish at Ranch 99/Marina supermarkets). Just ask for it steamed (tsing dzing) and I believe the Cantonese name for black bass would be mahng tsoe (tsing dzing mahng tsoe). Any Canto seafood restaurant would be able to whip this up, steamed with soy sauce, oil and garnished with scallions and some ginger. This prep also works with whatever fish they have.

                1. re: anzu

                  I agree on the temperature of the restaurant - my girlfriend and I went there for lunch 2 weeks ago and it was freezing in there! They put a space heater next to our table, which helped, but we still kept our coats on. I think it was the owner (woman) was running around the front - she apologized that she was short staffed, but quite honestly, there was only 3-4 other tables that were occupied, and we still had to flag her down a couple of times for various things (chopsticks, water).

                  That being said, we ordered sizzling rice soup (pregnant woman craving), beef chow fun, and stir fried green beans - they were all well done, esp the chow fun, which had the right amount of oil (not too greasy) and wok hay to it. My friend loved the soup and the green beans were good too.

                  I would go back, but I wish they would warm up the place!

                2. The Jade Palace restaurant has given me quality food every time I went there. Usually I go there with a couple of friends and order the walnut prawns, cumin chicken, and sea cucumber dish with shrimp roe. The walnut prawns had this crispy coating while the meat itself was very fresh. For the cumin chicken, i could tell that the chicken breast meat was used. The cumin also brought a lovely aroma to the dish and the spice added a bit of heat. Overall this chicken dish tasted great. For the sea cucumber dish, the shrimp roe and the sauce nicely complemented the sea cucumber. I really loved the sauce and i would advise for you to take it to-go to add flavor to stirred noodles. Lastly, the shanghai steamed buns were lovely as well. These mini buns had hot soup inside and the flavors went well together. I would definitely return there for more great food. Their website is jadepalace.us

                  1. I still haven't been here yet, and I miss that tofu based dish (Lo Siu Ping On) a lot that they made back during the Lucky Buddha days, but a Taiwanese Chinese blogger mentioned that there might have been a change in ownership (maybe Vincent and the others might know whether Jenny is still in charge), as apparently the Chinese name is not what it was before.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: K K

                      I was there 5 weeks ago and yes, there's a new owner. He's Shanghainese and a partner in Mountain View's New China Delight. The menu is different featuring Shanghai and Sichuan specialties. We tried one of the dishes that was a holdover and it wasn't as good as under Jenny's watch. The lo siu ping on is not longer available. The Shanghai dishes we ordered were good enough to return to try more. The layout has changed with the entrance moved and the counter near the front, improvements in my opinion. Service is better too. I tried to find out what happened to Jenny and was told that her chef left and she had to sell out.

                      Sorry, I thought I posted this before, but I can't find it now.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Technically Lo Siu Ping On is not that hard to make as the ingredients are simple, but it's so comfort food ish that nobody wants to make it anymore (low profit margin?).

                        Thanks for the update, that's quite a shame that the Macanese Chinese chef left as some of his cooking back during the LB days in San Carlos really stood out and wowed even some relatives visiting from Hong Kong.

                    2. I just went here today for lunch w/ a coworker. Melanie had told me just a few days ago (I guess I missed the discussion where this was mentioned) that it had changed from a Cantonese style to a Shanghai restaurant, so I was curious.

                      We ordered a few things and split them.
                      We got the hot and sour soup (not my favorite soup, but he's older and prefers more tried and true stuff), which was quite good. Just the right spiciness, and with a lot of interesting root veggies that I haven't seen in other hot and sour soups.

                      Then he ordered the shrimp with lobster sauce, which was completely different from what I was expecting. I've had ones both in the east coast and here where the sauce is sort of white-ish, eggy, sometimes with black bean-- but all very saucy. This one was not at all saucy, and with a lot of dried chilies, and quite good.

                      I ordered three things from their dim sum menu-- steamed shrimp dumplings (not XLB which I didn't see--- or I guess I didn't recognize the Chinese characters, b/c I don't know what to call them in English other than "steamed dumplings", and know the Chinese name, but then can't match the characters. . .), which were very meh. It was too doughy imo.

                      The second thing I got was a steamed fish wrapped in yuba, which was good, perhaps a bit overseasoned for me, but my co-worker liked very much.

                      The third item I got was jiucaihezi (ok, this one, I don't know if I have the pinyin correct, but I can write the characters for and recognized by character!)--leek pockets--which were quite good. I was surprised to see it on the menu, b/c it's Northern Chinese and I rarely see it on any menus in this area, other than in Fremont and the Chinese truck outside of the Chinese school in Palo Alto on Fridays (though they are from Fremont, too). I suspect that a Beijing-style restaurant would make this better, but I was just excited to see it on the menu.

                      In short, we both liked it and I plan to go back again to try more of their dishes/specialties.