Koi Palace Dim Sum Daly City Restaurant Review
Posted by Foodnut.com
365 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
Koi Palace is a popular Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Daly City. The Peninsula is ground zero for some of the best Chinese food in the SF Bay area. It has been around since 1997 and specializes in wide selection of Dim Sum for lunch and special dishes for dinner. They also have locations in Dublin and at the Thunder Valley Casino. Koi Palace Dinner is reviewed separately. Dragon Beard candy creation is covered too. Our last visit was in the fall of 2011.
Be sure to read our Introduction to Chinese Dim Sum.
Dim Sum Carts
Koi Palace has a printed menu that you can order on, and a number of carts, servers serving dim sum. We had to order only a couple items via the printed menu. On a visit midweek, we have to order most items from the menu.
Packed to the rafters
This place is a very busy and a super noisy Chinese restaurant with lots of families and friends eating together. Above average decor for a place like this. Lots of flat screen tvs, big tanks of seafood by the entrance.
Dim Sum Preparation
On one occasion, We arrived on a Sunday at 10am, and had to wait 30 minutes to be seated. Parties of 2, seemed to get seats fast.
Award winning Koi Palace Moon Cakes
We came right before the Autumn Moon Festival on one occasion, so they were selling lots of moon cakes. They were also hand making Dragon Beard Candy.
While we went for Dim Sum lunch, Koi Palace has an extensive, fancy, and expensive dinner menu with dinners for 10, at up to $678. You’ll get top notch ingredients in your meal, but won’t get service like Gary Danko.
Koi Palace Menu pics (Click to zoom in on ANY picture)
Dim Sum Menu
Not all items come on the carts, so you need to check off items you would like to order on the menus. This is especially true in the afternoon around 1pm. Dim sum prices are on the high side, priced from $2.80 – $5.80.
Koi Palace Food Picks:
Sugar Egg Puff ($4.80) – A signature dessert here with powered sugar on top. Crunchy and fresh out of fryer. A must, so save room for it or just order it first!
Spinach dumpling ($3.80) featured a sticky glutinous wrapper along with some nice fresh shrimp inside. A nice change from the usual shrimp version.
Fish Balls ($5.50) has lots of fish balls, daikon, pork skin, and other goodies. Pretty delicious.
Shredded Duck Burrito ($6.90) was a unique Northern style dish, essentially peking duck with cucumber put in a scallion tortia. Good quality ingredients, could have used more duck though.
Crispy Glutinous Puff (Ham Soi Gok) ($2.60) – What a translated name. Fresh and hot out of the fryer. Crunchy. Good meat filling. Best version we’ve had around the SF Bay Area. Better than Zen Peninsula.
Shrimp Rice Roll (Shrimp Chung Fun) ($4.80) – Chopped into many pieces, huge fresh shrimp, not too oily. Top notch. Lots of a slightly sweet soy sauce.
364 Sticky Rice with meat ($5.50) – Came under one big glass bowl with decent tasting pork, dry shrimp, eggs, and other goodies.
352 Wild Mushroom Stuffed filo threads ($4.50) was a weird looking dish. The outside was full of super crispy filo threads, the inside had a mushroom spring roll. The internal dough was also fried. Could have been better but still worth ordering, especially if you are a vegetarian.
342 Lotus wrapped Sticky Rice ($4.80) had two good sized portions. It was hot out of the steamer and perfect. One of the best around here. Rice, meat, mushrooms, egg were all fully cooked to our liking.
341 Shrimp Dumpling – Har Gow ($4.80) were four big shrimp dumplings. Perfect wrapper and filling. Top notch, must order item.
Sea Scallop Dumpling ($3.80) were filled with half shrimp and half scallop. Nicely done, a nice variation on the har gow.
385 Sharks Fin Dumplings ($6.50) is not PC these days, but this one was very good. Large piece of real sharks fin, huge dumpling with shrimp, mushrooms, and more. Excellent broth.
429 Fried Twisted Dough Bun (Man tauw) ($4.30) – Deep fried bun with sweet condensed milk for dipping. Awesome dish, very good when fresh and hot.
452 Fresh Mango Pudding ($3.60) – 4 little pieces. Another good dessert with condensed milk on the side. Not too sweet, good mango flavor.
Yau Tiu ($2.80) – Chinese deep fried doughnut is usually eaten with congee. This one was freshly fried, piping hot and really good.
Crispy fried tofu skin ($5.80) was a good-sized plate full of thinly layered deep-fried goodness. Not for everybody. Some people might prefer the salt-and-pepper version.
Steamed Daikon ($4.50) – We ordered this by accident but found it pretty good. More of a hot daikon pudding than the traditional pan fried cake form.
Diced pork & Peanut filled Dumpings in the Chao zhao style ($3.80) featured 3 large dumplings filled with peanuts, cilantro, pork, and a slight zest. One of the better versions around. Hard to remove intact.
Egg custard tart ($2.80) included 3 tiny but tasty tarts with a flaky pastry shell. Not as good as legendary Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco.
Egg yolk lava bun ($4.80) were very good and pretty big. Their buns utilize a harder texture surface than others.
Pork ribs in black bean sauce ($2.80) was a decent dish, a bit on the greasy side but reasonable quantities of tender pork.
Sesame Balls ($2.80) – Warm, not straight out of the fryer. Filling was not too sweet. A pretty good version of the classic with a crispy shell. On another visit towards end of afternoon, they were hot and excellent.
421 Steamed Shanghai Dumplings or Xiao Long Bao ($4.50 for 4, $8.80 for 10) were 4 tiny but decent dumplings. These little balls were cooked in a silver foil wrapper, keeping the internal juice from leaking out – Cheating! The large meat chunk was also tasty. Not an authentic dish nor was it as good as dumplings from a place like Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae. The ones in China or at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue are not this big.
154 Hand Roasted Duck ($5.50) was and ok dish. Quantity was ok but the meat did not taste special, pretty average.
333 Steamed Daikon Cake ($3.60) – A good dish, not a lot of meat mixed in with Daikon. Did not taste home made.
451 Pan Fried Pumpkin Cake ($3.60) had 4 very sweet and sticky cakes with pumkin flavor and very sweet insides.
Steamed BBQ pork buns ($2.80) were average mainly because they featured shredded pork interiors of average quality.
Ginger egg barbecue pork puff ($4.80) was an interesting deviation on the classic pastry. If you like Ginger, give this a try.
Sesame oil flake cake ($3.80) is an interesting name to a black bean filled, supposedly Mochi dessert. What we got was unexpected but okay.
Crispy pork ($18) was expensive and had a nice crispy skin, but the meat was pretty bland and ordinary.
Durian paste puff pastry ($6.90) possessed no foul odors, but was cold in the middle indicating that they just pulled these out of the freezer.
Tea Pot Warmer
Koi Palace’s service was a little better than average for a place like this. Servers were patrolling more often, so refills came often, although you still had to bark for a server to order. The breath of items was excellent, more extensive and more inventive than nearby places in Millbrae. Asian Pearl Peninsula is the other place that comes close.
Koi Palace has high quality dim sum and a superb choice for lunch. Go early, right when it opens or around 1:30pm, as this will reduce your wait time. You can also call ahead and get a number by phone.
If you do not know what to order, use our pictures as a guide. Check out our Lung King Heen, Hong Kong to see how the next level of quality and inventiveness in modern Chinese dim sum looks like. Service outside the US is one another level, that top Chinese restaurants abroad. Vancouver, BC Canada in Southern California’s Sea Harbour also surpass Koi Palace.
Be sure to try the fun Moonstar seafood buffet located almost next door.
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