Archive for February, 2011

A Popular Cantonese Restaurant – Asian Pearl Peninsula 順峰漁村(密爾布瑞市)

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

After an afternoon of singing at the Fung’s residence, we headed downtown to Asian Pearl Peninsula 順峰漁村 in Millbrae. This restaurant was fully packed as usual with a line waiting in front; fortunately Joseph called a few days ahead to reserve a table. I dropped off the Wongs and the Maks and spent the next twenty minutes finding a parking space four blocks away.

Set menus were boring, à la carte seemed to be the right way to go. We ordered the food quickly with some suggestions by the captain whom Raymond knew very well. With tea cups and wine glasses in hand, we were ready to enjoy the feast with good friends.

I could not say Wasabi Tossed Chicken with Pork Belly was a traditional Cantonese dish. It was very appetizing with the wasabi clearing our noses before tasting anything else.

Fish cakes still had the smell of wok (鑊氣) when served. Beef stew was tender but could be better with slightly richer flavor.

Soy Sauce Goose Intestine was crispy and smooth (爽香脆). Some of us dreaded to see this high-cholesterol dish but indulging in good tasting food once a while would help sustaining a long-term healthy diet  program.

Eating the Cabazon “two-ways” (石九公兩食) was not bad, just average.

For those who were still not full at this point, water spinach with shrimp paste was perfect for adding flavor to the rice. The Pea Sprout dish was a major disappointment. We thought we had the vegetable with crab meat; what we got were some egg white with salty egg yolk disguised as crab (蟹黃).

At the end the waiter brought us some complimentary desserts including delicious custard lava buns. See how Michelle enjoyed hers in picture below.

Most of the dishes we had were above average comparing to Cantonese restaurants in the bay area. That’s why it requires advance booking all the time.

Asian Pearl Peninsula 順峰漁村
1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030
Tel: +1-650-616-8288

抵食地道上海菜 – Sunny Shanghai 上海好運來(聖布魯諾)

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Joseph and Jade were very kind to invite us to their private studio in Millbrae for an afternoon of karaoke. Before all the singing started, I had lunch with the Wongs and the Maks at a small family run Shanghainese restaurant in San Bruno – Sunny Shanghai 上海好運來. I dropped them off the restaurant and drove around for 10 minutes before finding a parking space three blocks away.

When I got inside the restaurant, they had already ordered the food. Great! The place was small, neat and well lit. The owner was the chef working mostly in the kitchen with an assistant. His wife was busy running around serving customers while a high-school aged young lady – the daughter I assumed – helped clean up and serve dishes.

Turnip Short Cakes looked appetizing and tasted that way too. They were crispy and fluffy 鬆脆. Shanghai Fried Noodle was 彈牙 and tasted good with typical Shanghainese sweetness.

Jizai, Shredded Meat & Tofu Soup was refreshing with strong Jizai flavor. Laurita commented that there was MSG in this soup; I couldn’t tell because I was immune to this miraculous substance. The Green Onion Pancakes were among the best I had ever had – hot and crispy when served, perfect thickness and moist inside. This is “must-have” at this restaurant.

We had ordered both the sweet and salty varieties of soy bean milk. They both had rich and fragrant taste (豆香) of soy bean.

Stir-fried A-Vegetable (A菜) – a vegetable often seen in Taiwanese restaurant – was fresh but average. Sauteed Eel was tasty but not as crispy as those I had in Shanghai.

The meat in both Xiao Long Bao and Potstickers was fresh and well prepared. The dough of the Xiao Long Bao could be slightly thinner and the Bao would taste better with more “juice” in it. Potstickers were huge; not crispy enough for Albert though.

We had Red Bean Crepe, a typical Shanghainese dessert. The dough was good but could be better if it was more crispy. Knowing that a few of us came all the way from south bay, the owner gave us some pumpkin cakes to stuff our already full stomachs. These pumpkin cakes were slightly too flat for my taste; they would be better with more air inside.

Not all dishes were great but they were pretty good on average. What I liked was that all the food arrived our table still steaming – the kitchen was only a few steps from our table. All the food for $14 per person including taxes and tips, this lunch was a steal. The owners were very friendly too.

When we were almost done, there were only a few parties left. That’s the time when the daughter set up her notebook computer at a table near the door, pulled out a textbook and started doing her homework. Isn’t that the dream of every parent to have children helping out the business and not missing any chance to study.

A decent small family business we should enjoy supporting.

Sunny Shanghai 上海好運來
189 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066
Tel: +1-650-615-9879

Authentic Portuguese Baked Chicken

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Mrs. FoodLover’s Baked Chicken Portuguese Style is the best I’ve ever had – and I’ve had many different varieties of this dish before. Ingredients are simple: chicken, potatoes, carrots, shallot, green and red peppers, onions, curry gravy and coconut milk. The spiciness is perfect for my taste; the sauce goes well with rice. Will finish the leftover tomorrow with a loaf of French bread.

Revisiting Koma Sushi 駒すし

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Encouraged by positive experience two week ago, the FoodLovers had lunch at Koma Sushi 駒すし again today.

Mrs. FoodLover’s Tempura & Salmon Teriyaki was OK but nothing special.

I ordered a piece each of the following sushi: Maguro ($2), Shiro Maguro ($2), Hamachi ($2), Hamachi Hara ($2.50), Amaebi ($3), Ikura ($4), Uni ($4), Toro ($7), Mirugai ($4), and Aji ($3.50). The sushi in general was pretty good – probably at par with Higuma in Redwood City. I especially liked the Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Mirugai (Geoduck Clam) and Aji (Horse Mackerel) and will order two of each next time. The Toro was pretty fat and had a little of this melt-in-the-mouth sensation but tasted bland. All in all, the fish here was good for the price.

If you are not a fish eater, there is no need to consider going there. Non-fish choices on the menu are very limited. I asked the waitress who happened to be wife of the owner (sushi chef) why they didn’t have beef on the menu. I really wanted my meat-eating boys to try this restaurant. She said that their stove was not big enough to cook beef and pork. I respect that. If you don’t think you can do something right with the equipment, don’t do it.

Koma Sushi 駒すし
211 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Tel: +1-650-321-5662
http://komasushi.net/

It Looks More Oily Than It Really Is – Fried Rice Noodle at Joy Luck Palace 醉香居

Monday, February 21st, 2011

This is a follow-up of the last post on my birthday noodle. In addition to the Lobster Noodle, we also ordered Fried Rice Noodle with Beef, Pepper and Black Bean 豉椒牛河 at the recommendation of Albert and Laurita. Instead of having the beef and pepper served on top of the rice noodle as usual, Albert told the waiter to have the chef stir everything together in the wok (兜亂).

This was possibly the best fried rice noodle I had ever had. By the look, there had to be at least a bowl of oil in this plate of noodle, but it didn’t feel greasy at all. I only tasted the smooth and “bouncy” (爽夾彈牙) rice noodle with subtle sense of black bean. In fact, the noodle was so good I didn’t pay much attention to the beef.

I don’t advise anybody to have this seemingly unhealthy dish every day. You do owe it to yourself to try it once in a while.

Joy Luck Palace 醉香居
10911 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014
+1-408-255-6988

Birthday Noodle

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The FoodLover celebrated his birthday by having Dim Sum with a couple of old friends at Joy Luck Palace 醉香居 in Cupertino. The birthday noodle looked good and was yummy.

How old is the FoodLover now? Well, he was born in the year of Rabbit and is not 12.

Great Meals in Shenzhen and Yuen Long (by Wallace)

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

This is a recap of what I had with Kinney and Loretta back in November 2010.  There was a day Kinney and Loretta drove me from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and we had a quick meal in the Sand River Golf Club before our round of 18 holes.  The “Hoinan Chicken Rice” set was nice.  “Stir Fried Frog with Bean Paste” was very tasteful.  “Noodle with Fish Soup” was OK.  Good enough to booze up our strength to start tee #1.

Hoinan Chicken Rice / Village Style Stir Fried Frog

Noodle with Fish Soup

After golfing, we went to the Shenzhen Water Cube Health Center for spa.  Amazingly I found the health center’s restaurant served GREAT dishes!  The Bitter Melon Pork Soup was the best I ever had.  The pork was sliced and pan fried before making the soup with bitter melon through slow boiling.  The soup was milky and “deep” in taste.  The Fish Head with Red Pepper, Chili Frog, Hot Pot Rice, and Veggie….. Yum Yum!

Bitter Melon Pork Soup / Steamed Fish Head with Red Pepper

Chilli Frog / Hot Pot Rice

Dry Stir Fried Veggie in Clay Pot

歡喜樓 (Happy House) is located at Castle Peak Road Tam Mei, San Tin Highway, Yuen Long. 元朗新田舊青山公路潭尾段. Tel: 2471-1145

We have been to Happy House for many times.  High satisfaction per each visit.  The location is a bit remote from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. If you choose not to drive, you may ride the West MTR to Yuen Long downtown and take taxi from Yuen Long downtown to there.

“Soy Sauce Chicken” and “Steamed Whole Eel” are my all-time favorite.  The “Fried Tofu” was a mix with blended octopus and fish…..so crunchy and special.  “Bitter Melon Stir Fried with Egg” and “Pork Intestine” were those dishes that would bring back the memory of “dai-pai-dong”.  A tiny little piece of the “Deep Fried Salty Fish” could make you finish the whole bowl of rice right away.  Ending the meal with the restaurant’s house made pudding “木糠布甸” and chocolate dessert “心太軟” made the day perfect!

豉油鷄 / Steamed Whole Eel

三層塔豆腐 / Bitter Melon stir fried with Egg

Deep Fried Pork Intestine / Deep Fried Salty Fish Filet

木糠布甸 / 心太軟

Snake Soup Dinner – Mayflower 五月花酒家 in Union City (by Wallace)

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Wallace had a delicious dinner at Mayflower Restaurant (Union City) with Winnie, Francis, Albert and Donald on Friday 2/18/2011.  It was a rainy night and we demanded for some items that would keep us warmer.  Donald suggested to have Snake Soup that’s perfect for a cold and freezing night.  So we selected a Snake Soup dinner set for 6 people (that should be enough for 5 of us according to the Manager whom Francis knew so well).  It would be nice if the Foodlover came join us to fill up the 6th seat.

The menu included –

  • steamed mirugai (貴妃蚌)
  • snake soup
  • steamed crab with fa diu wine
  • roasted pigeon
  • lamb hot pot
  • bok choi with kay tse in chicken broth
  • sticky rice (no photo taken)
  • dessert – cookie platter, turtle jello, reb bean soup, mango pudding
  • and of course Francis’ favored Tsing Tao Beer.

We were well treated by the Manager who gave us a few little dishes of complimentary “xo” sauce.  Albert enjoyed the sauce SO MUCH!!!

Overall, it was a pleasant meal with good friends.  We walked out the door with smiles (even though still raining heavily)!

Mayflower Restaurant 五月花酒家
El Mercado Shopping Center, 34348 Alvarado Niles Rd,Union City, CA 94587
Tel: +1-510-489-8386

Pleasant Surprise – Koma Sushi 駒すし

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Before opening Kaygetsu in Sharon Heights Shopping Center, Toshi and his wife used to own a sushi restaurant, Toshi’s Sushiya, on El Camino Real near the Stanford Shopping Center. After they moved away in 2004, the space was taken over by Koma Sushi. We tried Koma a few times but weren’t impressed. Of course, Toshi’s sushi was a tough act to follow. (Click to see my other post on Kaygetsu.)

We wanted to have sushi for lunch today but had not reserved a table at Kaygetsu. Koma came to mind.

The place was still more than half full at 12:45pm. That was a good sign. A group of Japanese-speaking customers were leaving while we entered – another good sign. The two very friendly waitresses – both elderly Japanese ladies – wiped an already clean table before sitting us down. I was impressed by the hot clean towel which you wouldn’t see at most restaurants these days.

Our orders came with green salad and miso soup. Vegetable was fresh and crispy. I especially like the “Homemade” dressing. It was slightly sweet with very pleasant sesame flavor. Miso soup was average.

Mrs. FoodLover’s Unagi Don and my Chirashi arrived at the same time. She let me try a piece of grilled unagi. It was tender and the flavor was just right – not too strong and not too light. Even though I wasn’t too happy to see crab sticks and cooked shrimp in my Chirashi, the maguro, tai, ikura, ika, and even the sake were not bad.

I guess it is not difficult to be satisfied if one’s expectation is not high. This restaurant is conveniently located and I definitely want it to be good. Will come back in the near future to order off its sushi list to see whether it is good enough to be my preferred sushi joint in the neighborhood.

Koma Sushi 駒すし
211 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Tel: +1-650-321-5662
http://komasushi.net/

Authentic Northern Chinese Cuisine – Chef Xiu 自家小廚 (山景城)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Chef Xiu is a small Chinese restaurant specializing in Northern cuisine on El Camino Real near Castro Street. I was the first customer of this 50-seat eatery at 11:30am. When Roger walked in to join me in a few minutes, the owner was very considerate and asked us to move to a bigger table.

The waitress recommended Lamb in Pot and Braised Pork. Not wanting to have too much meat for lunch, we ordered the Lamb, a cold plate and sauteed vegetable.

Unlike the usually watery complimentary soup in other restaurants, the Hot and Sour Soup here was cooked with generous portions of tofu, bamboo shoot, fungus, and even some shredded pork. It tasted good too. The cold plate was refreshing with shredded bean curd which was a little chewy; I liked it.

Then came our main dish, the Lamb in Pot. Each small piece of lamb came with the bone and rich flavor which reminded me of what I used to have in Shenyang – I had visited Shenyang in the northern province of Liaoning many times. Northern cuisine is usually more strongly flavored than Cantonese food and less oily than Shanghainese. This dish was perfect to go with rice and we had quite a few bowls of rice before it was done. It was good that they didn’t charge for rice by the bowl! The vegetable was not bad but nothing special. It was fresh.

We had a very satisfying lunch at reasonable price. You may want to give it a try in case you are tired of the usually delicious but bland Cantonese food. This is a good place for a quick lunch if your budget is tight too. Set lunches including a main dish, soup, salad and rice ranges from US$5.95 to US$7.75. Service is better than average.

Chef Xiu Restaurant 自家小廚
855 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040
Tel: +1-650-988-8820
http://www.chefxiu.com/