Hong Kong Palace: "Wow, that's the best one of 'X' I ever had"
"Wow, that's the best one of 'X' I ever had" was our mantra for this delightful meal. Which was good, as Rowland Heights was quite the hike. We have been to most of the famous and not-so-famous dim sum haunts across LA, but this one was definitely one of the most impressive. We liked it all, but meeting the "best one of 'X' I ever had" criteria include:
Siu Mei: Exceptionally succulent, garnished with a slice of chinese sausage
Fun Zhao (Chicken Feet): Very large sections with the right touch of five spice and some nice kick
Shrimp noodles, Har Gow, Seafood Dumpling: Shrimp steamed to just cooked so texture was spot on. Each type of noodle was very thin, not doughy at all.
Congee: Easily the best congee we have ever had. The rice porridge had a depth of flavor from pork and chicken and just the right touch of thousand-year-old egg.
Tripe: Not Greasy, Not Chewy! Generous portion served over braised daikon chunks. Better than I have had in France.
Taro Cake: Not mealy - very smooth texture and just the right amount of pork flavor.
And two other highlights we never had before:
Bitter melon + seafood: Slices of bitter melon stuffed with seafood mix in a savory pork/chicken broth. Part stew, part soup, the bitter melon was cooked to tenderness and the broth accentuated it beautifully. A delicate and delightful dish, and a great low-carb option!
Almond "Soup": This was unbelievable. Served in ceramic terrine and covered with a layer of flaky puff pastry, this dessert item consisted of a delicate almond milk broth (served warm) with an amazingly pure almond flavor. As I enjoyed it, I was visualizing someone milking almonds the way one would milk a cow. This was far better than almond soups I have had in fine European restaurants. Incredible. I am craving more now.
We got there at 11:30AM on a sunday and waited about 40 min. Service was friendly, we were able to communicate reasonably well to the point where we had waitstaff seeking out special requests for us. They brought us extra chili oil and we didn't even have to ask.
I have read that a favorite at this restaurant is the duck tongue. This was unavailable during our visit but we do plan on going back and trying it.
Prices are a bit lower than than average. Our bill was $45 but we easily ordered enough food for 6 people. Our fridge is quite full with leftovers.
To quote my husbandt: "This dim sum has the best combination of texture and flavor I have had in LA. Most places tend to have one or the other, this one has both."
I also posted this review on my blog: http://foodandwineblog.thefoodietrave...
Wow, it must have improved recently. I think I've been there 3 times in the past 5 or 6 years, and I was never impressed with any of the visits. The food was OK to good, but nothing ever knocked my socks off. The selection of items seemed to be about average, with not much of exotic or unique dishes. The C rating, at least during my last visit, wasn't too appealing for me to return.
Whenever I've been in that area recently, Happy Harbor has been my first choice for dim sum.
I'm curious to read if anyone else has been to Hong Kong Palace recently and if they agree that there has been a marked improvement in the food quality.
Hong Kong Palace
19101 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Happy Harbor Restaurant
1015 Nogales St # 126, Rowland Heights, CA
Now you guys really have me curious. It was my first visit, so I have no perspective on change. I will say I have been to Elite, Mission 261, Triumphal, Empress Pavillion, Ocean Star, NBC, etc. and this was by far a better experience for us. We especially disliked Elite. That said, I liked New Concept best but it is gone. :( Plus, no carts so not a fair comparison. Did I just hit Hong Kong Palace on a good day?
Also worth noting - we never get any of the fried stuff and I hate "overly greasy" sauces such as the spareribs. I mention this as this makes my evaluation quite subjective and a probable cause for disagreement.
The first 5 of the 8 items you ordered are items I always get at every dim sum meal (usually half of the items I order come from the steam carts), so if all of them were great, I can see why you would call it an excellent meal. For me, usually 2 or 3 items are great, with the others usually being good or pretty good.
For cart places, Ocean Star & NBC are usually among the top choices by many. I prefer Empress Harbor over NBC, where I haven't had a great experience yet. To say you liked Hong Kong Palace over Ocean Star & NBC is quite stunning.
I don't get much of the fried food either (I only get it when I can see the steam coming off the food, so I know it just came out of the kitchen), but I do like the spareribs and usually get it at every other dim sum meal.
It's probably been 6 months or a year since I've been to Hong Kong Palace. It's hard to say if you hit them on a good day, or if it's turned around to be consistently good. Part of the fun is to go back in the future to see if your excellent experience can be replicated in a future visit. If it does, that will convince many of us to move Hong Kong Palace higher on our dim sum rankings and encourage us to visit again.
You did say that you waited 40 min. to get a table, so that meant you were eating in a full restaurant which likely had great turnover on the food, so most everything you ate was fresh from the kitchen, and that always enhances the experience. That is the one upside of waiting for dim sum, as nothing likely sits on the carts for more than 10 minutes.
Hi, Wonginator! You have exactly expressed some of our concerns of late with Hong Kong Palace. It WAS really, REALLY good at one time -- a few years ago -- but then the ratings (as you mentioned) and the food took a sudden dive. We never understood how this happened so quickly, but after a few very disappointing visits, we moved on.
I remain hopeful...
I am so happy to read your current review of Hong Kong Palace, wasabica!
We used to go there all the time, but then we noticed a sudden decline in the quality; it went from amazing to awful in just a few weeks. Does anyone know if they have had a change of management or ownership?
I am excited to return; what you describe sounds like they are back! Their almond tea is divine, and I remember their rice noodles to be almost pillowy in texture -- unlike any I had had elsewhere.
Thanks for posting!