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Apr 29, 2010 10:59 PM

Tai Wu: Take Two

Take one was pretty darn good, and we wanted to see if a second visit--without the benefit of the company of a friend of the owner--would be as good.

This time, we had: (I am making a few spelling corrections--I hope they are not misleading


#005 Chicken Claw in Black Bean Sauce $2.50
#026 Chiu Chow Style Dumpling 3.50
#047 Bean Curd Skin Roll w/ Shrimp 4.10
#050 Deep Fried Egg Yolk Ball 4.10
#075 Deep Fried Crispy Milk 5.80
#083 Pumpkin w/ Salty Egg Yolk 5.80
#089 Vegetarian Goose (Bean Curd) 5.80
#108 Suckling Pig 15.00
Whole Lobster Meat Dumpling 28.00
Fookien Fried Rice
Sweet potato sesame ball--not listed; our own description
Crisp-skin roast pork--not listed
Kitchen sink Chinese cake--not listed, our own description. To inquiries of "What is this delicious thing?" We were told simply "Chinese cake", and after more persistent questioning , something that sounded like "Bey Tao Kow". It seems to be some kind of mashed taro cake with white beans, black-eyed peas, Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, dried scallop, shitake mushroom, pickled vegetable, and green onions.

So, how was Take Two? Well, I was expecting an appreciable decline in quality and service, but I'd have to say that the few items we ordered again from round one were as good--or almost as good (the lobster dumplings were not as neatly made this time, but just as tasty). The service was not as attentive as when we were in more distinguished company, but still very good by dimsum house standards, especially when one considers that none of us speaks Chinese.
(Though I like to think that our eager appreciation of the food may have also disposed them in our favor.)

Price: approximately $140.00, including a 20% tip. $28.00 per person

My favorites:
Chicken claw--best since the loss of Joy Luck San Mateo
Chiu Chow Style dumpling (again)
Whole lobster dumpling--(actually the fried lobster pieces with salted egg yolk)
Kitchen sink Chinese cake

And, yet again, I would like to thank our Anonymous Friend who introduced us to what, to me, is currently the overall best dimsum I've had in the Bay Area!

Tai Wu/Mr. Fong
950 King Plz, Daly City, CA 94015

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  1. my faves of the table: Chinese Cake, chicken claw with black beans, Chiu Chow dumplings, and the Sweet Potato Red Bean jin duey. There were no disappointments on the table and the service and dim sum quality were consistent with our last chowing. Excellent company of chowhounds!
    next time we chow at Tai Wu: soya tofu
    The King Plaza also has a wonderful bakery with Coconut buns - Pan de Coco at Valerio's Tropical Bakeshop. The "sliced bread" is sweet and perfect for French toast or milk bread; the donuts are sweet and dense and just slightly wonderful - empanadas and ube pies...the choices will make your head spin.

    1. Curious about the "Mr. Fong" -- is this in any way related to the Mr. Fong's that was in Foster City (which had excellent dim sum).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Yes, this is the same Mr. Fong. I heard he sold or gave up the Foster City "Mr. Fong" location, though there is still a smaller Tai Wu in Foster City, beside Ranch 99 on Foster City Blvd. The last time I was at "Mr. Fong " in Foster City a few years ago, it was underwhelming: I would never have bothered with the food at Tai Wu/Mr. Fong in Daly City had our anonymous friend not taken us there. One needs trustworthy friends to keep one up to date on these dimsum quality cycles!

        Tai Wu/Mr. Fong
        950 King Plz, Daly City, CA 94015

        Tai Wu Restaurant
        1080 Foster City Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

      2. An excellent array of fine dim sum! I believe that Tai Wu is definitely on the up-swing compared to my last visit (a couple of years ago).

        My faves are in line with pilinut and cynsa; the "kitchen sink Chinese cake" was so tasty - watch for the strolling ladies with trays as this is not on the menu (I don't think). A conversation with the manager provided info that this is something new on the local dim sum scene, I guess from Hong Kong.

        Both the suckling pig and regular roast pig were so nice, juicy meat, crispy skin, probably some of the best I've had.

        Most anything with salted egg makes me happy so I really enjoyed the pumpkin and the lobster - both nicely done.

        Sweets: #050 salty egg yolk ball - didn't ring any bells with any of us but we decided to go for it - turned out to be 3 balls to a serving, the size of sesame balls. The outside was sliced almonds. This was not a heavy mochi ball but rather had thin walls with a salted egg yolk center. The deep frying process created a caramelized exterior. Very tasty and a fun surprise! Cynsa's photos are terrific and will make it easier to remember this particular morsel.

        Haven't had the fried milk before and really liked it - crispy, sweet, dipped in sweetened condensed milk...

        As already mentioned, some of the best chicken feet ever.

        The sweet potato sesame balls with red bean filling were very good - much tastier than ordinary sesame balls - again watch for the tray ladies - these are not round, rather are sort of oblong shaped and are more orange in color - glad we snagged them.

        Overall I felt that we received very good service. I look forward to returning again soon - maybe even some Saturday or Sunday to see what extra special goodies are available during prime time!

          1. re: wolfe

            Anonymous Friend shall be known by his silence on this matter ;-) Or not.

          2. We learned today that you don't have to show up with a friend of the owner to get some very good dim sum at Tai Wu. While we missed some of the special dishes we had last time (especially the special chicken salad) the quality of the food was still top notch.

            The chiu chow dumplings were just as good as last time. We also got lucky with some new treats-- the "Chinese cake", Sweet potato sesame ball, and Deep Fried Egg Yolk Ball were all excellent. The Bean Curd Skin Roll w/ Shrimp was pretty uninteresting. The fried rice was better than most but I wouldn't order it again with dim sum because it's so filling and they serve a huge portion. My appreciation of some of the dishes was diminished because I got so full so quickly.

            The Deep Fried Egg Yolk Ball, with a runny salty egg yolk in the middle surrounded by a thin layer of mochi coated with thin sliced almonds was really good, but then I have never met a dim sum sweet with hot egg yolk in the middle that I didn't really like. Unlike the versions of egg yolks in buns that lose quality by getting harder if you don't eat them promptly, the almond coating kept the inside hot and soft for a long time.

            The lobster dumplings didn't seem as as juicy and flavorful as my memory of last time but the dish came after I was already pretty full. The pieces of lobster in the salty egg coating were so good it didn't matter how full I was-- they were the high point of the meal for me.

            My next favorite after the lobster pieces was the roast pork. Both the pork and suckling pig have the crispiest, most flavorful skin I've had anywhere. I give the pork the edge because of its thicker, juicier and very tender meat. It tasted better eaten in conjunction with the skin than with the hoisin sauce provided.

            By the time I got a piece of the chicken claw everyone else liked so much it was stone cold and I was so full I could barely eat another bite. I still thought it was good but will need another try to see if I'm as impressed as the others. A good excuse to return soon!