One thing I’ve learned about Chinese restaurants is that chefs don’t stay at one place for a long time, so consistency over the years can be a challenge.

I wanted to put that to the test at one of the Bay Area’s more popular dim sum tea houses – Koi Palace in Daly City. The restaurant has been so popular over the years it’s opened a second location in Dublin.

I visited recently with my friends Tat and Ramon, and we got there by 11 a.m. to make sure we didn’t have a notoriously long wait. After years of crowds, Koi Palace has implemented a sophisticated waiting system, providing numbers and a big screen that shows the numbers in the queue so you can see how many people are before you. Our wait ended up being only 20 minutes.

The elegant vibe at Koi Palace

The elegant vibe at Koi Palace

Once seated, you never feel like you’re rushed, and instead you can enjoy a tranquil lunch of dim sum delicacies and efficient service. And the conclusion I quickly came to was that Koi Palace’s quality has weakened a bit – although they still have amazing Shanghai soup dumplings and my favorite egg custard buns – but still wins on the variety front.

While Koi Palace offers up the typical daikon cake and shrimp dumplings, they also offer up dishes not commonly found at other Bay Area dim sum spots, including things like durian puff pastry ($6.90) and Macau-style egg tarts ($4.90).

The Last Bite
Dim sum prices are on the high end at Koi Palace because you’re paying for its popularity and variety of dim sum, and while there seems to be a sense of complacency in the kitchen, it’s still among the better dim sum spots around the Bay Area and worth the drive and wait.

Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps

3-snaps

 

 

Koi Palace, 365 Gellert Blvd., Daly City. PH: 650.992.9000. Open daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and 5 to 9:30 p.m. No reservations for dim sum, major credit cards accepted. www.koipalace.com

Koi Palace on Urbanspoon

One of the specialties Koi Palace does well is roasted suckling pig ($18) with crackling skin

One of the specialties Koi Palace does well is roasted suckling pig ($18) with crackling skin

Xiao Lung Bao or Shanghai soup dumplings ($5.25) are done well

Xiao Lung Bao or Shanghai soup dumplings ($5.25) are done well

An unusual scallop dumpling in a beggar's pocket-style wrap. Tasted great but the skin was a bit thick.

An unusual scallop dumpling in a beggar’s pocket-style wrap. Tasted great but the skin was a bit thick.

We ate a lot of desserts, and this was a lovely steamed bun with an almond custard filling.

We ate a lot of desserts, and this was a lovely steamed bun with an almond custard filling.

Macau-style egg tarts (bo tat) have a caramelized top and flakier crust compared to normal egg tarts (dahn tat)

Macau-style egg tarts (bo tat) have a caramelized top and flakier crust compared to normal egg tarts (dahn tat)

Standard dim sum dish of shrimp dumplings or har gou. The skin was on the thick side and was a sticky, which meant it was steamed too long.

Standard dim sum dish of shrimp dumplings or har gow. The skin was on the thick side and was sticky, which meant it was steamed too long.

One of Koi Palace's signature creations is the roasted duck burrito ($6.90)

One of Koi Palace’s signature creations is the roasted duck burrito ($6.90)

My favorite egg custard baked buns ($5.25). The interior is filled with a creamy egg custard.

My favorite egg custard baked buns ($5.25). The interior is filled with a creamy egg custard.

The dining room had servers bringing dim sum via carts and trays

The dining room had servers bringing dim sum via carts and trays

An unusual dish Tat ordered was fried filet of fish wrapped in rice noodles ($5.80)

An unusual dish Tat ordered was fried filet of fish wrapped in rice noodles ($5.80)

Another Tat order was these durian puff pastries made with the stinky Southeast Asian fruit ($6.90)

Another Tat order was these durian puff pastries made with the stinky Southeast Asian fruit ($6.90)

A peek inside the kitchen, which I'm sure churns out thousands of plates a day

A peek inside the kitchen, which I’m sure churns out hundreds of plates a day

More desserts! This is the silken tofu or daufu fah, with ginger syrup sauce.

More desserts! This is the silken tofu or daufu fah, with ginger syrup sauce.

Crowds enjoying the dim sum at Koi Palace. You never feel crushed inside despite the crowd scene outside.

Crowds enjoying the dim sum at Koi Palace. You never feel crushed inside despite the crowd scene outside.

5 Responses to Review of Dim Sum at Koi Palace in Daly City

  1. I’ve been meaning to come here – those egg tarts look so good!

  2. Tara says:

    A man after my own heart. Dim Sum is one of the few cuisines I seriously get excited about after looking at the pictures. The dan tats look so flakey! And the roasted suckling pig looks amazing, did you try it?! I’ll be surprised if you do, haha!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Tara, I actually did have a few pieces of the pig. I mean, it’s not deep fried, but roasted. I liked the tender meat underneath just as equally as the the crispy skin.

  3. Row says:

    Wow, so much variety! The steamed bun with almond custard filling looks so soft and delicate. I dig the flaky crusts on those Macau egg tarts… messy, but fun to eat! :)

  4. Carolyn Jung says:

    Wow, they have a big screen now to keep track of the people in line? Well, I’d be willing to queue up just to get one of those custard tarts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.