Asian Pearl Peninsula
1671 El Camino Real (Near Park Place)
Millbrae, CA 94030
Asian Pearl Peninsula in Millbrae was at one time, part of the same Culinary Wonderland group that owned the highly rated The Kitchen in Millbrae, hence the same menu. We’ve been to this location a couple times and have found it to offer very good Cantonese Chinese cuisine, in face some of the best in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Richmond Asian Pearl has also served up very good Chinese food. This place stays open till 1am. This review incorporates many dinner visits from 2009 through Late 2011. A separate review is for Asian Pearl Peninsula Dim Sum Lunch.
The next time we visit, we will have to try the lobster noodles.
Be sure to read our article Foodnut’s Beginners Introduction to an Authentic Chinese Dinner.
Decor, Vibe – Asian Pearl Peninsula has big seafood tanks by the kitchen. Fancier interior with big decorative light fixtures and recessed ceiling. Tastefully remodeled again in 2014. Same large food photos seen at the nearby Kitchen. Loud, busy, lots of large table get-togethers. Majority of folks were Asians. The place becomes packed around 7pm on Fridays. Make reservations!
Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Asian Pearl Peninsula’s Menu looks nearly identical to The Kitchen’s Millbrae’s as they were once under the same ownership but has evolved slightly. If you do not know what to order, try the items with pictures in the menu. Funny but they really highlighted their top items. Also try the dishes pictured on the wall.
Asian Pearl Picks:
Soup of the Day ($12) was a vegetable root soup with pork and lots of octopus. Strong seafood flavors with a clear broth. Not cheap but worthwhile. Long boiled and huge pot full. On another occasion we got Winter melon soup that was also very good. We have also gotten Mushroom and Conch soup ($18) that had strong flavors and was excellent.
Chicken soup with Fish Maw ($18) is a thick starchy soup that contains lots of chicken. A decent soup but a little expensive.
Creamy chicken corn soup ($13) was not creamy at all and was more like a starch based soup with lots of corn. A reasonable soup, but other options would be recommended.
West Lake Beef Soup ($13.80) is fairly Westernized with a ton of cilantro. Still work getting if you like cilantro and beef.
House Combination BBQ and Cold Cut Platter ($20) Crispy skin Roast Pork was very fresh and had some very crispy skin. BBQ Pork cheek is an enhanced version of BBQ Pork. We prefer the regular version. Beef Shank cold cuts and Jelly Fish were good standard appetizer fare.
Roast Squab ($13.80 each) Authentic version of a classic Cantonese dish. Juicy and cooked just right. Very well done. We had better squab in Vancouver, but we distill the difference to the birds themselves, not the cooking style. Roast Squab in soy sauce ($13.80 each) is available on the weekends but falls way short of the fried version.
Empress Chicken ($13, Half) – came with some nice ginger, scallion dipping sauce. Tender and very well flavored as expected. Spot on.
Chicken with Pork Belly ($20) was featured by a picture on the wall. This cold dish contained lots of chewy pork belly marinated in wasabi, on top of some Empress Chicken. This dish is not for everybody.
Braised Chinese Eggplant ($12) with Yusheng sauce was excellent. It comes with a candle lit heater. Tender warm eggplant, shards of pork.
Fried Rice ($13) with dried scallops and egg whites was top notch and a big dish. Lots of scallops and just egg whites and no yolk.
Fried Rice Fujian Style ($13) is also excellent with real fresh flavors. A lot more duck meat in this version.
Salted Fish Diced Chicken Fried Rice ($13.80) had a strong fish accent as is expected from this classic dish.
Peking style Pork Ribs ($12) were cooked perfectly. Lots of vinegary sweet and sour style sauce on pork with onions. No pineapple or bell peppers here.
Roasted Duck ($12 for half) was top notch. Good sized portion, warm, juicy, and good flavor. Better than nearby Cheung Hing.
Macau Style Salted Pork Shank ($13) was some fried pork with crispy skin and lots of fat under the skin. Not a lot of meat. This combination made for a decadent and tasty appetizer. Includes a big bone that dogs would die for.
Papaya Beef ($13) is a signature dish that many tables ordered. Tender, juicy, high quality beef brushed with egg to shininess. Slight pepper kick. The papaya helps flavor the sweet sauce and accent the beef’s heartiness.
Stir fry Rib Eye Steak Cubes with sesame sauce ($16.80) and fried egg tofu was excellent. Quality meat with a slightly crispy crust and a gravy with a hint to sweetness. Fried tofu cubes with soft smooth innards were perfect when slaughtered in the sauce.
Stir fried Giant Clam with XO sauce and snow peas ($16.80) is another wall poster dish. Slightly spicy, fishy, chewy but worth ordering.
Sateed Scallop & Japanese Tofu with Pumpkin Sauce ($13) was an innovative dish featuring excellent silken tofu topped off with scallops and some fish eggs.
Pea shoots in supreme broth ($18) was a huge bowl of fresh vegetables in a clay pot situated on top of a sterno burner. The broth was worth drinking afterwards. Large portion.
Thick Noodles ($13) sauteed in abalone sauce looks pretty simple and plain but is stellar.
Tossed Vermicelli Salad with chicken ($6.80) is a fairly tasteless cold jello dish topped with shredded chicken. Their version is fine and not very spicy.
Aberdeen Crab ($25 for 2lb) was an egg batter coated fresh crab sold at a seasonal price. Another dish on the wall. Very good cooking style resulting in tender meat inside and just a hint of spiciness. Messy but worth it.
Peking duck ($28) was a very nice dish full of correctly cooked duck meat along with skin with some freshly steamed but small buns. Be sure to ask for some more buns.
Crispy Skin Roast Chicken ($24 for whole) was also a solid rendition of the classic dish, with tender and juicy chicken, although they didn’t serve shrimp chips!
Steamed Seabass ($20 a pound) was freshly pulled from the tank and promptly steamed to a slightly overcooked doneness level. Still a very clean dish with lots of freshness and simplicity.
Turtle Jelly ($3) is definitely an acquired taste as it possesses a very medicinal flavor. We loved it.
Free Coconut milk dessert was thick, rich, and well done.
OK: (Order if you love this dish)
Beef Chinese Broccoli ($13) was well done except for the addition of some chili flakes. It detracted from the otherwise good dish. The heat was mild and distracting.
Efu Noodles ($13) were a bit overcooked.
Pan fried chicken ($13 for half) sounded like an interesting dish but came to us as a pan fried and then baked chopped up chicken dish. There were lots of bones and minimal flavor.
Asian Pearl Peninsula’s Service was decent with a friendly server and no lack of tea refills or plate change. Food came ALL at once or comes as it is cooked, something they should work on. They did nudge us to leave after 2 hours though. If you are looking for high quality Cantonese Chinese cuisine on the Peninsula, Asian Pearl Peninsula is highly recommended. Koi Palace is about the only place better in the San Francisco Bay Area. They also own The Kitchen, so the food is pretty close. Food in Hong Kong is on a higher level though.
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