I’ve been wanting to go to Koi Palace for a while now, and I finally got my chance at an unofficial Yelp Sunday brunch outing. After a bit of a wait, we waded through the mass of humanity huddled in the ridiculously small lobby and were escorted into the main room, which was beautiful and bright, and the way it’s designed you almost felt like you were eating outdoors in someone’s courtyard.
I have to say that food wise, Koi Palace is probably the best dim sum I’ve ever had. Bella and Tinna did a great job making sure we had plenty of food, as well as explaining what was in the dishes that I normally wouldn’t order. I tried a lot of new things and all of it was good, except for the duck tongue, which really wasn’t my style. I loved the tripe, but that’s really all about the dipping sauce and the weird texture. The roasted suckling pig was amazing…better than most lechon I’ve ever had. I also learned the proper way to eat Peking Duck, which I normally don’t order because I’m not a big duck fan. I never knew it was all about the skin! Even rather innocuous dishes like the steamed spare ribs were excellent.
One of the highlights were the desserts, which included mango custards served with evaporated milk. I’d never had this before, and it was explained to me that you pour the milk on the custard and then eat it. Well, there was very little milk left in the dish and I jokingly said I should just shoot the remaining milk after eating the custard. So I popped the mango custard into my mouth, shook my head to let it swish around a little and then finished it off with the evaporated milk chaser. We also had this mochi filled with sweet sesame paste and dusted with peanut powder. It’s best eaten warm, and it was amazing. It melted in my mouth and was highlighted by the sesame spooge that you get when you bite into it.
But the king of the desserts was the Chinese doughnuts, which were almost as good as the malasadas I love so much in Hawaii. They’re denser and a little more eggy, and they were the best way to finish off the meal. I even brought a couple home for my wife and she devoured them faster than I can blink.
Despite the incredible dim sum Koi Palace has to offer, it loses a star because the service leaves something to be desired. To say the place is a madhouse is an understatement. It’s borderline ridiculous, and I don’t think having reservations matters. And although our table was in the middle of the main room, it was still hard for us to get a constant supply of food on our table. It wasn’t until we placed our menu order that the food really started rolling in, but this might also have been a good thing since we were eating so much that we really need some breaks between courses.
So If you can brave the crowds and don’t mind waiting, Koi Palace is a place you definitely have to try. Or maybe go during the week if you can so you can avoid the madhouse.
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
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