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Nov 5, 2008 01:13 PM

Koi Palace or HKFL later on Saturday?

Does anyone have experience going to either of these restaurants for dim sum on the later side? I guess not that late really....probably arriving around 12:45 or 1:00 with a party of 3-4 people. Would the waits be huge at that point, or would they be starting to go down?

I know that Koi Palace is open for dim sum until what point do the waits generally go down?

Dave MP

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  1. My only experience with Koi Palace was on the later side, around 1 after waiting for an hour. We were scurried to a table that had not been cleaned and wasn't the right size for our group. This was all fine and expected. Once we started asking about dim sum items that were on the printed list, however, it became clear that they had run out of basically everything. Every kind of steamed bun or dumpling we mentioned was not available, and when we asked what they did still have the waiter pointed to the congee section. At that point we decided to leave.
    I've never had any problems at HKFL and if you request something from the menu that you don't see on a cart they will usually accommodate unless it's right before closing.

    1. 12:45 should be okay for HKFL but you might order off the menu to make sure your turnip cakes haven't been sitting around for a while.

      Or go to nearby Fook Yuen, which serves until at least 2.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Windy

        Zen Peninsula in Millbrae is a whole lot better than Fook Yuen for dim sum. Zen Pen serves dim sum until 3pm on weekends.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Saw your writeup. I had a dreadful dinner with service to match at Zen Peninsula a few months ago, but maybe they have different chefs at lunch.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Dinner at most of these restaurants can be a totally different experience than dim sum. I think the Zen will probably have less of a wait than HKFL and I think Zen is probably better right now than HKFL. I had a below par dim sum service at HKFL the last two times, both in October and very good at Zen. I totally agree with Melanie's take on the dim sum report, except I need to try the foie gras thing and the taro bun.

            1. re: peppatty

              I don't know the specifics of Zen Pen's kitchen scheduling, but a dim sum and dinner usually have different crews.

              I would also suggest that Dave call the places in Millbrae to see if they'll let him make a reservation. There's also Asian Pearl, though my experience there was no so great, and The Kitchen. Many of them do. It can also help to tell them that you need to go to the airport after lunch to speed up the service. The Millbrae dim sum palaces deal with this request all the time.

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              We had very good dim sum at Fook Yuen about a month ago. It really is not a bad place to get dim sum.

              We went to Koi Palace last weekend right at opening. We ordered suckling pig off the menu and waited for about an hour until we finally canceled the order. They told us we hadn't gotten our suckling pig because it was early and they were busy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they're busy every weekend. [/sarcasm] So, you go early and you can't get things, and you go late and you can't get things. Also, next time I'll be sure to ask to be seated in the main room as well rather than the back room.

          2. Just got back from dim sum w/ my aunt and uncle. We ended up going to Zen Peninsula - this was my first visit. I took some notes along with me from Melanie Wong's recent meal, so we ordered some things from the checklist, and other things as they passed by:

            From the checklist:

            foie gras and shark fin siu-mai - This ended up arriving last to the table. These were good, but quite rich and very decadent. I would say they are worth trying, but I would not necessarily rush back for more.

            Rice noodle crepe with shrimp - This might have come by anyway, but I ordered it from the menu since I like it a lot. It was good.

            Zen's roast pork with peanut sauce - I really enjoyed this. The pork was sweet, and I liked dipping it in the peanuts.

            Soft wonton in chili sauce - Good, but not amazing. I think the similar dish of wontons at HKFL is better. But still I enjoyed these.

            Passing by:

            Har gao - These were fresh and good and not overcooked.

            Siu-mai - A bit dense, but also fresh and tasty.

            Shrimp and mango rolls - A fresh (or maybe lightly fried?) spring roll w/ shrimp and mango. The mango didn't taste super ripe, but I had never seen anything like this before, and I liked the overall idea. Taste was pretty good.

            Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce - Good.

            Sticky rice - we ordered a type that was already out of the leaves - it contained mushrooms, chinese sausage, dried shrimp and some other things too. Pretty good.

            I think that was it....

            Overall, I was impressed by the variety of items - saw a ton of things pass by that we didn't get: stuffed bitter melon, eggplant, chicken buns, pork buns, taro dumplings, chicken feet, congee, noodles, etc. etc. There were a lot of interesting sounding choices on the checklist menu as well. We had tried to order the soft taro buns, but by 1 PM when we were there, they were sold out.

            We initially were served jasmine tea, but I asked for chrysanthemum tea instead and they switched it. When we arrived it was already 1 PM, and there was no wait. However, the restaurant was still quite crowded.

            I wasn't as impressed with this meal as I was with my recent dim sum experience at Koi Palace, but I definitely would return to Zen Peninsula, especially given its convenience to the airport. I haven't been to HKFL in a long time, but I think this meal was on par with the positive dim sum experiences I have had there.

            Dave MP

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dave MP


              Zen Peninsula
              1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030