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  • Writer's pictureFragrantEatery

The Best Squab In Town-Koi Palace

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

📍Koi Palace 鯉魚門 | 365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

Price: 3 🌟

Taste: 4 🌟

Uniqueness: 3.5 🌟

Environment: 3.5 🌟

Cantonese Roasted Squab
Roasted Squab

Koi palace was established in 1996 by Mr. Willy Ng. It has been in business for 26 years, and just like what Chinese people always say. Starting a business is hard, but making sure the business survives is even harder (创业难, 守业更难).

Thus, in order to last 26 years and expand into multiple locations and two other ventures (Dragon Beaux and Palette Tea House). There must be some kind of secret. And I think, I found it.

The squab (picture on the left) is the best squab that I've had in the Bay Area. It's actually the best I've had outside Canton, China. The skin is ever so crispy, yet the meat is so juicy and succulent. It is also perfectly salted, and did I mention that not only does it smell and taste good but its ever so pleasant on the eyes. Look at that glisten! The dishes here is on the pricier side ($20 per order for the squab) thus, they received a 3 🌟 star in price as it isn't the most affordable Dim Sum place. (You get what you pay for) It gets quite crowded later on in the day and the interior isn't as great, due to the years worth of wear and tear. Thus, receiving a 3.5 🌟 for Environment. But, if you're someone willing to spend a bit more on food, this place won't disappoint.

Zhongshan Style Steamed Pork Ribs with Olive Over Rice Rolls
Zhongshan Style Steamed Pork Ribs with Olive Over Rice Rolls

A great dish to get at this place is the short rib cheung fun (Zhongshan Style Steamed Pork Ribs with Olive Over Rice Rolls). The flavor is great, the soy sauce has a hint of sweetness and it goes great with the savory short ribs and olive taste. The rice noodles complement everything, but they are not freshly made as this is typical for this dish. If you want freshly rolled rice rolls then try the other rice rolls on the menu (like the one below). Hence why, you will notice that the rice rolls in this dish, is not as smooth as the other ones. Also, note that the olives (black items on top of the spare ribs) is for flavoring and not many people eat it.

Crispy Fish Fillet Rice Roll
Crispy Fish Fillet Rice Roll

If you were to try any of the fresh rice rolls, I suggest you try the "Crispy Fish Fillet in Rice Roll" (on the left). It's a unique dish that you won't find in many other dim sum places. The rice rolls were smooth and has just the right amount of bounce to it (nice and chewy). And the fried fish fillet is crispy and soft, with a hint of salty. The light sweet soy sauce then ties everything together. You can taste the freshness of all the ingredients, which gives it a rather delicate and light taste, even though it is fried.

Stir Fried Beef Chow Fun
Stir Fried Beef Chow Fun

Another reason why, I love this place is that you can taste the "Wok Hei" in their food. Which is a beautiful charred aroma found in stir fried items, as if the wok breathed flavor into them. Not a lot of places have this, it is very dependent on the skillset of the chef and the quality of the gas stove. Which makes it impossible to do at home, unless you have a stand alone gas stove, and not a commercial one. Their Stir-Fried Beef Chow Fun (On the right), is another one of my favorite dishes. This dish although common is very difficult to make. A lot of places don't have Wok Hei and or the ingredient is overcook or undercooked. Thus, the stir fried items at this place is worth a try.

Shrimp Dumpling
Shrimp Dumpling

The items that I don't recommend is surprisingly the common dim sum dishes. Like the "Har Gao" shrimp dumpling. As the skin falls apart and is overcooked. Their Watercress and Salted Pork Bone is also not worth, as it is very salty. Their Black sesame and Walnut Puree, should also be avoided as it is watery and taste like it wasn't made fresh. Some other must try items is their "Egg Yolk Lava Buns," but don't eat them in the store because you can buy them to go in a package for relatively cheap. It has a lot in it and you can just steam it at home. (Note that this is not a to go order but to buy a big package of buns, please ask your server for them). These buns have the best and ever so fluffy bread. The filling isn't the best, that I've had but it works well with the buns. If you are a bread kind of person, like me this is a good option. Their "Hand Roasted Suckling Pig Slice" is also Uber yummy. Not many Dim Sum places have suckling pig and even if they do it's not as good as this one. The skin is light and crispy, and it breaks with the slightest amount of strength, the meat is juicy and breaks apart easily as if they cooked it in a slow cooker first. Oh and the beans that come with the dish, soaks up all the yummy juices, and it's perfect with over rice.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on your next Fragrant adventure now.

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