Dim Sum King in Sunnyvale quite impressive
Before anyone attacks me for calling a take-out place impressive, just keep in mind my review takes the location and price into consideration. In short, you get a pretty wide variety of relatively large-size dim sum (including stuff like egg tarts, lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice, chicken feet, pan-fried turnip cake) at very low prices. Much better than the dim sum at large Chinese grocery chains like Ranch 99. I didn't speak Cantonese or Mandarin there, and I received exceptional service. Their largest combo ($8 plus tax) allows you to choose 9 items of dim sum (e.g., 3 types with 3 pieces each, or you can mix and match), plus fried rice, chow mein, or curry rice sticks. I ordered the steamed tofu skin rolls, but they weren't available, and the super-friendly lady immediately offered to steam them in the kitchen for me. I declined when I found out it would take 15 minutes. Not too many deep-fried items, as you can imagine, since those don't keep very long.
Dim Sum King
99 Skyline Plz, Daly City, CA 94015
Finally hit this joint. I was aiming for Chaat but hit Dim Sum instead.
KK's writeup is on-point as usual, a few things to add.
The place is tiny. It has about 5 little 4-tops. You order at the counter. Besides dim sum, they have a steam-tray type operation going which many people were getting - and the looked GOOD. The comparison to 99 Ranch's Steam Tray + Dim Sum is reasonable, this is mostly a to-go operation.
Dim sum is $3/order. The "steam tray" plates are all under $10.
The menu is only about 20 items long, has mostly classics, and you can see chinese people in the back folding & baking & occasionally coming out front with a big tray that they load into the live heat things in the front (no bamboo baskets).
I had the shiu mai. It was HUGE. I could have just eaten that and stopped, and I inhaled it. For $3 it was insane. I tried to get shrimp and chive --- but they were out. No chives. So I got Baked Dumplings, which had a nice scent of anise, and that delightful sesame chew - but with pork inside. And BBQ Ribs. These did not have any kind of glaze (I was hoping for glaze, like what was on the steam display), but the succulence of the pork was better with just the slight amount of black bean.
I ended up sitting outside (and it was cold today). Many people were just doing take-out, and the line was pretty long (maybe 10 minutes).
Compared to other south bay dim sum, these guys are doing the classics very well.
This place is pretty good. Just keep in mind "pretty good" for the prices, not to the standard of our best dim sum restaurants in SF, Daly City, or Millbrae. Far far better than the inedible takeout dim sum places in Oakland China; Melanie and I had to throw the stuff out on separate occasions.
Ken mentioned Venus in Cupertino above (years ago). Some geeky friends took me to Top Cafe in the area (because it's open late, and super-cheap). I ordered Portuguese chicken hoping it would bring back fond memories of the numerous times I visited Macau when I was a kid. The dish was extremely bad.
Yeah, it's certainly not as great as some of the better take out bakery/dim sum restaurants in SF, but for the South Bay I too consider it to be good value and of course superior to 99 Ranch in Mountain View.
I spoke with the proprietress in Cantonese, and she does have an accent. Not sure where she is from exactly, but for sure not Hong Kong. But definitely very friendly service.
Ha gow/shrimp dumplings are very decent for a take out joint
Siu mai are humongous. Very little shrimp inside, basically a giant meat bomb. Great for stomach filler.
Fun Gwor - A stripped down classic where this is just a re-done elongated ha gow. Not the Chiu Chow style of sticky rice skins, dried shrimp, peanuts, cilantro (etc). The dim sum bakeries in SF do this a whole lot better.
Lor Mai Gai (sticky rice roll in lotus leaf) - not bad. Sticky rice w/chicken, Big piece of Chinese preserved sausage inside (quite juicy and not too salty at that). Chicken chunks were a little big. No mushrooms, no dried shrimp. Passable for bakery class.
Boh Choy Gow (spinach dumpling) - shrimp and spinach. A LOT of spinach. Quite decent.
Ma Lai Goh (steamed sponge cake) - good size, fluffy soft texture but not quite enough flavor.Either not enough eggs, or not the right kind of brown sugar. A great effort for a dim sum bakery joint.
Daan Taht (egg tart) - they almost nailed it! The exterior flakeylicious layer is a very commendable effort, easily way better than HK bakery's (on Castro in MV) and anything else nearby. Yolk is on the darker side (a bit more orange than yellow) and not a bright glowing yellow. This might just be the sleeper hit of the lot. I really enjoyed it otherwise.
I did ask them about cheung fun during my vist in May, and they do not offer it now. Hopefully in the future.
Have you been to Venus (Tam's Cafe / Dai Ga Lok) in Cupertino yet? Might just be the best HK style western in the area, although cash only.
re: K K
How does Venus compare to say Cafe Salina in Millbrae or Hong Kong Bistro in Mountain View? Not that these two places are anything to write home about, but they make good points of reference.
235 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030
Hong Kong Bistro
147 Castro St Ste 1, Mountain View, CA 94041
I know you mentioned in your other post that you are not too crazy about HK style western, but I would equate Venus to the level of Cafe Salina in versatility and skill. I personally do not like Hong Kong Bistro very much, but due to lack of choices in the area I go once in a blue moon (although I prefer Kirin for a plate of cheaper and better stir fry rice or noodles).
Venus also offers the Canto side of the menu, and supposedly pretty good. Had the pan fried noodles with julienne pork, bean sprouts, mushrooms (and a lot of it too), and it's definitely better than Kirin but not as good as Millbrae. The owner recommended that I try this no curry version of Canto style Chao Kwei Teo and their Guilin rice noodle (which he explained was like lai fun but has a mish mash of things). There's also hainan chicken rice and empress chicken too.