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Top 5 Dishes at Koi Palace?

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albatruffles Aug 5, 2010 09:06 PM

My girlfriend and I were visiting from Los Angeles and was hoping that Chowhounders could help with the must orders at Koi Palace? No allergies/restrictions, anything goes. Just want to have a great meal, cost is not an issue. But I don't want to just waste money. I want the best tasting dishes. Thanks in advance.

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Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

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  1. CarrieWas218 RE: albatruffles Aug 5, 2010 09:34 PM

    Coffee-braised ribs are a MUST. I had them for the first time during my last visit and can't believe I had never had them before. I'm still craving them.

    Honestly, I don't remember anything I didn't enjoy there, but those ribs still haunt me...

    4 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      PeterL RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 9, 2010 05:42 PM

      I have never had this at Koi Palace, but have had it at other restaurants. My problem with this is it is coyingly sweet, esp with the cream on top. Do you find that this dish is sweet at Koi?

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      Koi Palace Restaurant
      365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

      1. re: PeterL
        CarrieWas218 RE: PeterL Aug 9, 2010 07:54 PM

        I've never had it at other restaurants so I can't compare, but yes -- it was a bit sweet, but the coffee made it so unctuous and rich that I didn't care.

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          t
          Thomas Nash RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 12, 2010 03:17 PM

          The probable source of this dish was discussed in an earlier thread:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5843...

      2. re: CarrieWas218
        Robert Lauriston RE: CarrieWas218 Apr 4, 2011 09:48 AM

        There wasn't enough coffee in the "coffee ribs" that I could taste it. I found them cloying and weird. The dish made no sense to me at all.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5843...

      3. Melanie Wong RE: albatruffles Aug 5, 2010 09:49 PM

        Lunch or dinner time? Week day or weekend?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          a
          albatruffles RE: Melanie Wong Aug 5, 2010 09:54 PM

          Lunch on Sunday, Sept 5

          1. re: albatruffles
            vincentlo RE: albatruffles Aug 9, 2010 12:47 AM

            Wow Sunday lunch on a long weekend at Koi Palace?! This could be a suicide mission fighting through the mob. ;-)

            And the whole crab XLB recommended by some is probably too large for two people.

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            Koi Palace Restaurant
            365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

            1. re: vincentlo
              t
              Thomas Nash RE: vincentlo Aug 9, 2010 02:59 PM

              Try to get there when they open - around 10, usually. By 11 the lines are enormous.

        2. p
          peppatty RE: albatruffles Aug 5, 2010 10:26 PM

          On the special new items menu they have beef filet with mustard sauce that is really tasty.

          1. s
            srr RE: albatruffles Aug 6, 2010 12:01 AM

            We always make sure to order a couple of things from the menu. I always want congee and don't want to wait for the cart to come around. We have a 2 1/2 year old, so time is short. We also order their XO dumplings and tripe with ginger soy off the menu. Other than than that, we just hope for the best. I will say, we have much better luck with the waitresses stopping by since we have had our daughter with us than before we had her. We always used to joke that we got the "gringo treatment" and they wouldn't come by with things that they assumed that we wouldn't like. I would wave them down or just order from the menu if I could. Now, every waitress comes by and says Hi to the little one and shows us what they have even if there isn't an English explanation. Great dim sum kharma. It's a plus that our daughter gobbles up dumlings and congee. My advice is to order the things that you really want. Every thing is good. It might be more expensive than most of the other dim sum places, but it's worth every penny.

            1. c
              charliemyboy RE: albatruffles Aug 6, 2010 11:41 AM

              One their most praised dishes is the whole crab with XLB. It's listed on the menu as Crab Meat filled Dumpling w/ Whole Crab. In addition to the XLB dumplings you get pieces of the rest of the crab fried in the shell in a great salty egg batter. More about it and other dishes in these reports--
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/488267
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700278

              1. h
                hong_kong_foodie RE: albatruffles Aug 9, 2010 09:03 AM

                If cost is not an issue, check out 碧海龍皇. It'll set you back about $300-400, and you have to order it in advance.

                Another dish worth ordering is 賽螃蟹. Price is a lot more reasonable at about $40, and you can order it on the spot.

                These two dishes are good enough that you will not find vastly superior versions in Asia.

                I would definitely NOT order the xiao long bao. It's poorly made and the only people who think it's good are those who don't know better. And by better I don't mean the Din Tai Fung in LA (which in my opinion is a disgrace to the original establishment) but all the superior dumpling houses in Asia.

                25 Replies
                1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                  CarrieWas218 RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 09:42 AM

                  Could you translate 碧海龍皇 and 賽螃蟹, please? Most of us do not read Chinese ideograms.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                    h
                    hong_kong_foodie RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 9, 2010 10:21 AM

                    碧海龍皇 is #807 on the menu - Jade Green Lobster Meat Sauteed

                    賽螃蟹 is #849 on the menu - Shanghai Style Fried Crab 2 Tastes

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                      bbulkow RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 10:49 AM

                      Great. What's the preparation on 'Jade Green', and why is it called that?

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        h
                        hong_kong_foodie RE: bbulkow Aug 9, 2010 11:01 AM

                        They take the meat from a 6-7 lb Australian lobster and prepare it in a special spinach sauce. Then they cook it with geoduck and sliced ham, and serve it on a bed of broccoli.

                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                          h
                          hong_kong_foodie RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 11:11 AM

                          Also, there are two types of prawn that are pretty good if they have them: (1) 琵琶蝦 and (2) 癩尿蝦. I believe the translations are Pipa Prawn and Mantis Shrimp, respectively. You can find pictures of them if you google the Chinese names.

                          In terms of preparation, I think the restaurant will suggest something appropriate. Sauteed with ginger and scallions is one way, deep fried with salt and pepper is another.

                          At the end of the day, places like Koi Palace are special not because of the dim sum or hot pot but because of the seafood that you probably can't find anywhere else in the bay area.

                          -----
                          Koi Palace Restaurant
                          365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                            j
                            Jon914 RE: hong_kong_foodie Sep 9, 2011 12:49 PM

                            Would they do the Jade Green preparation on a more modest lobster? I ask not so much because of the price but because 6-7 pounds of Australian lobster is too much for a smaller party to take in (5-6).

                            1. re: Jon914
                              h
                              hong_kong_foodie RE: Jon914 Sep 9, 2011 12:58 PM

                              Just call and ask.

                        2. re: hong_kong_foodie
                          K K RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 11:23 AM

                          You know when I think of 賽螃蟹, #849 in Chinese, I think of the dish made up for Empress Dowager Cixi when she had cravings for crab, but because she was landlocked, her chefs had to whip up something to imitate the taste, using mostly egg whites and fish.

                          So how is this prepared exactly at KP?

                          1. re: K K
                            h
                            hong_kong_foodie RE: K K Aug 9, 2010 11:31 AM

                            Yep, that's it - but instead of using fish, they use fresh Dungeness crab meat.

                            1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                              K K RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 01:02 PM

                              Yeah this dish is very confusing in English, only those who know Chinese would understand what it really is.

                              In English it says two tastes (or two ways). The egg white and crab stir fry is one way. So what is the other? Thanks.

                              1. re: K K
                                h
                                hong_kong_foodie RE: K K Aug 9, 2010 01:36 PM

                                The second "taste" is the crab legs deep fried with salt and pepper.

                                1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                  f
                                  Foodnut8 RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 02:56 PM

                                  Live Alaska King crab done two ways ($202 for 8lbs at market price) Ouch$ but delicious..

                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/foodnut/...
                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/foodnut/...

                                  1. re: Foodnut8
                                    a
                                    albatruffles RE: Foodnut8 Aug 9, 2010 06:13 PM

                                    Foodnut...my girlfriend and I looked over your blog this past weekend. What are the must orders?? Let me recant my original post, I'm not paying $200 for that crab dish, but it sounds like I can get a smaller portion for $50.

                                    1. re: albatruffles
                                      f
                                      Foodnut8 RE: albatruffles Aug 11, 2010 10:25 AM

                                      Look over my post and select the items you like in my Picks section.
                                      For dinner I'd go for the great value Peking Duck Dinner ($72 on weekends, $69 otherwise) and add on your favorite live seafood dishes. ASK for prices on the live stuff. Stick to Cantonese, just don't order Sichuan dishes, etc..

                                      We recently returned from Hong Kong and Shanghai, were the Cantonese food (Lei Garden, Lung King Heen, Yan Toh Heen, Hoi King Heen, etc.. ) is simply on another level above KP, and much of it priced cheaper.

                                      -----
                                      Yan's Restaurant
                                      3444 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                                      1. re: Foodnut8
                                        h
                                        hong_kong_foodie RE: Foodnut8 Aug 11, 2010 10:32 AM

                                        I'd say those places are actually multiple levels above Koi Palace. It's sad that this is the best we have here (and possibly in the US).

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                                        Koi Palace Restaurant
                                        365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                          ckshen RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 13, 2010 12:29 PM

                                          i have not been to those restaurants in hong kong. just looked at their menus. is it fair to say that those restaurants are more innovative and creative with the dishes and ingredients, somewhat like the fanciest western restaurants in the bay area for example, whereas KP serves more standard fares, at a pretty good quality?

                                2. re: K K
                                  t
                                  Thomas Nash RE: K K Aug 9, 2010 03:26 PM

                                  "Yeah this dish is very confusing in English, only those who know Chinese would understand what it really is."

                                  "Know" is the operative word. As a round-eye, I have learned to fight my way through Chinese characters on a menu with a dictionary -- and I can distinguish between critically different characters with the bug radical (shrimp vs. snake vs. crab, etc.). But so often there is a historical or poetic allusion and then there is no hope.

                                  BTW, Google translates 賽螃蟹 as "Crab Race" ... (that's the bug radical there at left in the second character...)

                                  Google Goggle is now working on Android phones. I am waiting for its arrival soon on the iPhone. You can take a photo of a Chinese phrase and Goggle will do character recognition and then translate. But not much of a chance it will get those poems and history references, nor will it do much for those essential (and impossible to read) handwritten menus on the wall...

                                  I would be up for a high-rollers Chowdown at Koi so I can get a taste of that 碧海龍皇 (Google: Blue Sea Dragon King)

                                  1. re: Thomas Nash
                                    K K RE: Thomas Nash Aug 9, 2010 04:06 PM

                                    The problem with free online translating services is that they take apart each word to translate. Sometimes you may get lucky and translating a 3 to 4 word noun makes sense.

                                    You are generally slightly better off copying and pasting the Chinese name into wikipedia Chinese. Then copy that link into google and translate the website. The english translation will still be horrible, but at least there's more info to it :-).

                                    1. re: K K
                                      t
                                      Thomas Nash RE: K K Aug 9, 2010 05:35 PM

                                      Interesting. Tried that on 賽螃蟹. It came back with the story about Empress Cixi, just like this thread.

                                      "Crab Race
                                      Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
                                      Crab is a famous race Chinese food , is one of a kind of protein imitation crab meat dishes.
                                      History

                                      According to legend, the Qing Dynasty 's Empress Dowager Cixi one day suddenly want to eat crab , but because of Beijing from the ocean far away, could not immediately supply of crabs, it Mikuriya protein imitation crab meat will be to produce a race crabs, and deeply loved Empress Dowager Cixi. Dish-type later spread to Shanghai , and Shanghai flourish.

                                      Preparations

                                      Material is mainly protein and oil, usually a small amount of fish and meat. Practice them fried and cooked, the dish, add a yolk , and there will add a little vinegar .
                                      (4 servings)

                                      Material:
                                      Protein 7 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon chicken powder MAGGI amount of Zhenjiang vinegar 100 ml water

                                      ..."

                                      This may be useful, if I can learn how to enter the Chinese characters in the iPhone Chinese keyboard, where you can draw the characters (but you have to get the proper stroke sequence).

                        3. re: hong_kong_foodie
                          a
                          albatruffles RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 9, 2010 06:17 PM

                          HK foodie...thanks for your strong opinion....I liked the soup dumplings at DTF, so maybe I should order the xiao long bao : ) I'll definitely get the 賽螃蟹 and I'll look more into the 碧海龍皇.

                          1. re: albatruffles
                            daveena RE: albatruffles Aug 9, 2010 07:10 PM

                            Get the XO diced mushroom and pork dumplings (#427) - they're oblong pleated dumplings but juicy like XLB, with a spicy, savory broth.

                          2. re: hong_kong_foodie
                            p
                            peppatty RE: hong_kong_foodie Aug 10, 2010 09:35 AM

                            The regular xiao long bao are really bad. No soup, thick skins. I wouldn't waste my money or stomach space. I don't know about the crab xlb though...

                            1. re: peppatty
                              vincentlo RE: peppatty Aug 11, 2010 03:22 AM

                              I haven't been to Koi Palace for a proper dim sum or dinner for a while now. I was there a few months ago for their hot pot, which I like quite a lot, and honestly there isn't much of an alternative in the Bay Area. I like my hot pot to have a variety of food, especially fresh or live seafood, and Koi Palace offers that. In proper Shanghai restaurants, 賽螃蟹 is never served with the salt and pepper crab pieces. I wonder if this is a unique creation by Koi Palace, or a new trend in China/Hong Kong? KK, do you know? Never heard of 碧海龍皇 either, until now.

                              The last time (long time ago!) I tried their XLB, it was quite good. Certainly no thick skin. Not sure what it's like now.

                              -----
                              Koi Palace Restaurant
                              365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                              1. re: vincentlo
                                K K RE: vincentlo Aug 11, 2010 09:45 AM

                                I have no idea about trends, but I noticed online that a few very downscale seafood places in Hong Kong are offering salt and pepper fresh on the shell abalone!!!!

                                For me, the last time I had regular XLB at KP was back in 2007. I remember before that, the XLB were pretty decent. In 2007, the order was sloppily constructed and did not look pretty at all (even the vinegar and young ginger dip sauce looked like a mess), but they tasted ok.

                                You know, Koi Palace is really meant for extravagance (if not shock and awe). They are in the business to make large amounts of money, and they want to cater not just to foodies, but specifically more to the nouveau riche/spendy VIP golfer kind of crowd. I am not surprised they stock $1000 bottles of wine....I too find it odd that they took an "imitation crab" dish and used real crab with it for a high end spin, so it becomes a bit of a joke that gets lost, which might just be the new school way of re-doing Hennessey XO for breakfast, or "shark's fin rice bowl".

                                碧海龍皇 when entered in google along with Koi Palace's Chinese name returns a bunch of mainland Chinese websites that has nothing to do with this prep, so I imagine it was drummed up by the KP folks.

                                Haven't been back to HK in years, so perhaps HK foodie can better explain, but my assumption was that if you wanted Shanghainese, you go specifically to a Shanghainese restaurant in HK. Ditto for Peking cuisine, Sichuan etc. Koi Palace probably added Peking Duck, XLB, Shanghai style crab etc, just to increase their versatility and choices, and they may even have hired chefs with specific non Canto cuisine chef experience to execute. The other explanation is that they couldn't use the entire crab for the Shanghai crab dish (ditto for crab XLB) and thus the additional legs had to be served one way or another...

                                -----
                                Koi Palace Restaurant
                                365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                1. re: K K
                                  h
                                  hong_kong_foodie RE: K K Aug 11, 2010 10:34 AM

                                  Yep, K K is exactly right.

                          3. daveena RE: albatruffles Apr 3, 2011 10:41 PM

                            I know the OP's come and gone, but this was the most recent KP thread I could find.

                            The menu seems to be changing with some frequency now – I saw quite a few dishes on the check-off menu today that I haven’t seen before. On my last visit, my once favorite deep-fried Dungeness crab was greasy and heavy, so I’ve dropped it from my must-eat rotation. My other favorite, the XO diced mushroom and pork dumplings, haven't been seen in years. My current KP strategy is to order the Crab Roe steamed pork dumplings, the shrimp dumpling with XO sauce, and any items I haven’t seen before. Today, shiu mai with minced morels, lamb buns in clay pot (fluffy white buns stuffed with cumin and cilantro-scented ground lamb and browned on the bottom, similar to KP’s sheng jian bao), and crispy mango roll (thin, crisp crepes folded around whipped cream and slices of mango) were winners. The shrimp dumplings (har gow with spicy shreds of dried scallop on top) and crab XLB were excellent as well, with the wrappers on the XLB as thin as I’ve ever seen them. Last time I went, the Szechuan surf clams (and the pile of pickled ginger they came with) were a welcome palate cleanser between fried morsels, and the durian puff pastry were the first durian anything I’ve ever had that I actually liked.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: daveena
                              RWCFoodie RE: daveena Sep 9, 2011 06:59 PM

                              daveena, these new dishes you've described @ KP make me want to go there soon - last time I was there it was somewhat disappointing but I think that might have been because I'd been there too often in a short time span...

                              Just curious, are these items easily found on the menu or are they "specials" that you need to read Chinese to find?

                              1. re: RWCFoodie
                                daveena RE: RWCFoodie Sep 11, 2011 12:38 PM

                                They're all listed on the check-off menu - I literally just read through the whole thing and order everything that sounds new.

                                1. re: daveena
                                  j
                                  Jon914 RE: daveena Sep 14, 2011 09:14 PM

                                  I was at KP for lunch today and tried out some of these new items. Photos attached.

                                  The Lamb Buns were OK, but I would have liked a better filling to bun ratio.

                                  The more successful dish for us was the Crispy Fish Rice Noodle Roll. Their Crispy Fried Dough Rice Noodle Roll is a solid, crunch-all-the-way-through rendition. Imagine that and replace it with fried fish that's just as crunchy and crispy.

                                  One other interesting dish that we saw another table order was what the waiter described to us as Steamed Australian Clams over Haw Fun. There's a picture of this dish on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/kn2iEL...).

                                  Besides that, we had the mainstays, with the notables being the fairly recently added Portugese Egg Tarts and Sa Yung, which was fresh out the fryer (even at opening time) and better than the version at Cooking Papa.

                                   
                                   
                                   
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