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Dec 19, 2009 04:03 PM

Great Cantonese in Palo Alto or Menlo Park?

We're new to this area from the East Coast where Chinese food is amazing. Please help me find a great Cantonese restaurant in either Palo Alto or Menlo Park. A big plus if the Wanton soup is fantastic. Thanks.

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  1. Why are you looking for a Cantonese restaurant? This area doesn't specialize in that. Around here, the awesome Chinese is Sichuan and Shanghai - and the restaurants are Mountain View and south, and redwood city and north.

    I think Tai Pan in downtown palo alto might be the best Cantonese in PA + MP.
    But you really should try Jade Palace
    in which she claims JP does OK with Cantonese.
    Read through Melanie Wong's postings. She covers much of the Chinese places here abouts.
    The places in downtown PA are on the mediocre side, in general. Places like Jing Jing and China Delight, although I had a good, strange pepper chicken dish there once.

    My short list:
    Crouching Dragon in Redwood City
    There's a sichuan place in the Target shopping mall I forget the name of.
    Shanghai East and Little Shanghai in San Mateo
    I have a soft spot for Chef Liu in MV, and Fu Lam Moon, although I won't claim them great. Some people really like Cafe Yulong.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      That's an important question. There's very little on the East Coast of what folks out here would consider "good" Cantonese. Su Hong in Menlo Park might come closest to the Americanized, stuck in the past style. Not for me, but it's very popular with those who consider that "Chinese" food.

      What do you consider fantastic wonton soup? The Hong Kong style platonic idea of whole shrimp wrapped in tender yet not mushy wrappers and in a simiple orange-y toned stock from shrimp shells, dried fish and free-range chickens? This would have just a little bit of yellow chives as a topping. If not, please specify.

      Jade Palace makes a credible Shanghai style wonton soup, which is a whole 'nuther beast.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Let me also say, debo, welcome to california. I notice from your activity on the boston board that you have asked many questions, and never, ever responded. (I was hoping to find which chinese restaurants in the boston area you thought were awesome - I never knew any, but it's been a few years.) I hope you find chow hound in the bay area more welcoming, and respond to this (and other) posts.


      2. re: bbulkow

        Unless Tai Pan has changed drastically since Michael Bauer's 3-star review quite a while back, I won't go back for their food. It could be the Bay Area's most elegant (and expensive) Chinese restaurant though.

        For Palo Alto, I actually really like certain dishes at Peking Duck (not exactly Cantonese) and love R&B (relatively inexpensive for high-quality down-to-earth Cantonese dishes) across from Peking Duck. And I think Fu Lam Mum in downtown Mountain View is great too (discounted menu after 9 PM), though it's not of Millbrae-quality.

        Before R&B opened and the new Fu Lam Mum opened, the only true Cantonese restaurant in the Palo Alto area was Hong Kong Restaurant. Dishes were OK but it was constantly packed because it was the only option for the less common Cantonese dishes.


        1. re: vincentlo

          Hey Vincent, what are your favorites at R&B? I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

          R & B Seafood
          2209 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            You know, Melanie, the reason I don't post much here is that dreadful feeling I have to meticulously reply to you (and KK too) here in Chowhound, as I don't have much time posting other than cooking for myself and friends (and dining out and tasting wine of couse). =)

            At R&B, try the duck with jelly fish appetizer, live seafood (at amazing prices just a tad above retail, e.g. live striped bass at $130), yellow feather chicken, and their various *bland* porridges (bland presumably because they don't use MSG and so it's an acquired taste).

            The owner Mr. Chan there is the chef as well. And they allow me to bring any beers and wine w/o corkage.

            Also, if you head for Fu Lam Mum in downtown Mountain View, just talk to the owner Ben there and tell him your preferences in dishes. He's very good in recommending (e.g., Americanized dishes, authentic Cantonese dishes, fancy live seafood fishes).


            1. re: vincentlo

              I meant live striped bass at $13 a pound at R&B in Palo Alto, compared to $9 a pound at retail. No one is going to buy striped bass at $130! :-D


              1. re: vincentlo

                Haha I thought that was truly an amazing price.

              2. re: vincentlo

                Thanks for the word, vincent, and HNY! As always, i value your palate and opinions. I'll give R&B a try soon. How about soup noodles? Good tong mein is something that seems to be not so easy to find close to Palo Alto.

        2. A list of some of the East Coast Chinese restaurants you consider "amazing" would also be helpful, in order to gauge your tastes. It appears that you're from the New England area. I lived in Rhode Island for many years and found a handful of passable Chinese restaurants in that general vicinity. Maybe one or two that were actually pretty good. But I don't know if there were any that I would describe as "amazing".

          Generally speaking, you're going to want to venture further up the Peninsula to find the bulk of the really good Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area.

          1. Though debo doesn't mention dim sum, it is a category where the Bay Area has less to be modest about. Here's a recent post on Millbrae options--

            1. Thanks to all of you for your helpful recommendations. I will direct them to my good friend on whose behalf I posted this question (she didn't yet have an account). In Boston, I'm a big fan of the Taiwan Cafe should any of you come to visit.
              A quick reply to Melanie Wong that I have enjoyed the pleasure of contributing to the Boston board on numerous occasions.

              1. If you go a few mile up or down from Palo Alto/Menlo Park

                Blue Sky in Belmont (has one of the better won ton soup) and Hong Kong style food.

                Mountain to the south has too many to list.