Tag Archives: Cantonese

Stewed Tripe, Chicken Feet and Coffee Ribs (and more) @ Koi Palace

19 May

I had always wanted to go to Koi Palace. It was one of the legendary dim sum places everyone’s talked about. But being a total city girl without actual form of transportation, a restaurant outside the city limits could always be bit of a challenge. Thanks to my lovely roommate and her trusted Corolla: I was finally able to make the trip this past Sunday!

Warning: the wait was very, very long. They had a system fo walk-in’s and call-in’s, systematically displayed in the overhead screens. Underneath were mic’ed up front of house ladies, and a man making dragon’s beard candy as a form of guest entertainment. The wait area was cramped, with people of all ages and races, craning their necks impatiently next to the large water tanks filled with live sea creatures to be devoured. So close, they thought to themselves, to the luminous hall behind the arch, underneath the ornate cloud lanterns.

And everyone knew that the wait would be worth it. As soon as we sat down, the steaming carts came roaming. Cantonese ladies approached us one after the other, displaying buns and dumplings and many other delicacies hidden in the rolling metal cages of yum.

Dining with my Filipino roommate and her family meant, to start off, our orders were slightly out of the ordinary. First thing first: tripe stewed with daikon in herbed broth. Meaty, chewy yet soft at the same time, the rich flavor complimented by the cleanse of daikon: everything an offal lover enjoyed. We got two things of this.

A dim sum trip, for many, may not be complete without some shrimp dumplings and shu mai. For us, it was the chicken feet. Unlike the fried then steamed in red sauce variety often seen in Chinatown, Koi Palace prepared our delicate digits by stewing them in a nice flavorful broth, probably for an insanely long period of time. Because the skin and the tendons (what you eat with chicken feet) just falls right off when you suck on them, forming such deliciousness that, well, only select Asian people could appreciate – sadly. It was an acquired taste. Matt, in the blurred background, agreed.

It had come to my attention that no visit to Koi Palace would be considered authentic without an order (or three) of coffee ribs. Marinated in coffee grinds overnight, the ribs exuded such elegant flavor rarely found. They were fried to seal in the juices then steamed to tenderize the meat to a level of dreaminess. Do not leave without ordering. Ever.

We have also ordered scallion pancakes and steamed rolls. The scallion pancakes had more of an American pancake texture, soft and spongey.

The steamed rolls pictured here were referred to as “flower rolls” back in Taiwan. The dough was pulled into thin threads, then rolled together to form the shape seen here. Mega delicious eaten alone, or dipped in condensed milk.

For dessert, we had fried sesame balls: made with rice flower stuffed lotus seed paste, then covered in sesame before frying. Frying, such key in Chinese cuisine, more so than you’d think.

Last, but not in the very least, my absolute favorite dessert was douhua, a mildly sweet, extremely soft tofu. Transported in a giant metal can, our lady scooped out the trembling tofu into a giant bowl, then passing us, in a separate bowl, some ginger-infused syrup. It was like eating the finest custard with a sweetness of soy not often found in store-bought tofu cases. The syrup, cool with an enticing aroma, elevated to the clean flavor of the tofu without much disturbance. A must try.

There were many other dishes we ordered: shrimp dumplings, chive dumplings, soup dumplings and more. But I was too busy to stuff my face to make proper records of these small pockets of deliciousness. The impressiveness of Koi Palace continued even after we finished the meal. The expected feeling of greasiness-induced lethargy was not there. We were so full, yet so bright-eyed and alive at the same time. Like some odd magic spell of happiness (or of the Koi King). Long live the Koi King.

Koi Palace | 365 Gellert Blvd. | Daly City, CA 94105 | 650.992.9000