Koi Palace (鯉魚門御膳茶寮) is one of the Bay Area’s most well known higher end dim sum restaurants frequented by immigrant crowds. There are actually two of them, one in Dublin (on the outer fringes of East Bay, and the original in Daly City, south of San Francisco. It’s quite popular, so expect a wait get in for brunch during the weekends.
It was our last day in Norcal. The night before, we had decided to grab our final brunch at Koi Palace in Daly City. Unfortunately, the confusing freeways led us to miss the exit, and we instead ended up driving to Dublin.
Higher end dim sum places are distinguished from their cheaper peers by ordering method. There are no carts pushed around the restaurant. Instead, everything is ordered via paper and pencil. We paid a pretty penny for the dim sum we ate at Koi Palace. The total bill came out to $133 for a party of 6, about $21 per person, which is actually a lot by dim sum standards.
The restaurant had a good selection of dishes, ranging from the usual dim sum entrees to Northern Chinese dishes like clay pot buns (not part of the standard pricing). Koi Palace’s dim sum menu is divided into 4 price ranges, with each dish categorized by “size” (actually driven by the cost of ingredients):
- S: $2.95/plate
- M: $4.25/plate
- L: $5.25/plate
- XL: $5.80/plate
Also, as a standard practice, there’s a tea or “sitting” fee, $1/person. Koi Palace’s selection of teas had quite a few unusual kinds, so we opted for the ginseng jasmine tea (花旗香片) and Japanese rice flower tea (日本米花). Sadly, the ginseng jasmine tea came out in a tea bag.
Now for an entire inventory of dishes we ordered:
- (L) Shrimp dumplings 荀尖蝦餃黃
- (L) Steamed shrimp dumplings topped with XO sauce XO餃
- (L) Dried scallop and meat sticky rice lotus leaf wrap Lo mai gai 瑤柱糯米雞
- (M) Diced pork and peanut filled dumpling Chiuchow style 潮州粉粿
- (M) Steamed chicken claws with black bean sauce 豉汁鳳爪
- (M) Shrimp, pork and mushroom and crab roe dumpling 蟹子燒賣
- (NS) Spinach dumpling filled with scallops in SIchuan sauce 麻辣帶子菠菜餃
- (XL) Lamb buns in clay pot 砂窩羊肉包
- Spare ribs over rice roll 排骨陳村粉
- BBQ pork rice roll 叉燒金網腸
- (S) Fried pork dumpling 鹹水角
- (M) BBQ pork puff 叉燒酥
- (S) Steamed egg custard golden buns 蒸奶皇金飽
- (L) Baked Portuguese custard tart with papaya 澳門焗葡撻
- (L) Durian paste puff pastry 榴蓮酥
The dishes were well worth the price. The dishes were fresh-tasting and lighter—after all, less seasoning is required to mask fresher ingredients. Also, attention to preparation and detail were evident in the food that arrived. For instance, the shrimp dumplings were cleanly folded. Plus, I loved that the dim sum actually came out in bamboo steaming baskets, a rarity in American dim sum restaurants, which usually use metal steamers because they’re easier to clean. A+.
Koi Palace 鯉魚門御膳茶寮
4288 Dublin Blvd. Ste 213, Dublin, CA 94568